Paul Carter Commits to Gophers

Paul Carter, a 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward from Missouri State University-West Plains CC, has become the first commit for the 2008-09 season, according to sources close to the program. Carter had been a top priority for the Minnesota Gophers basketball staff after his strong play in Tulsa at the Jerry Mullen camp in July.

Paul Carter has attracted plenty of recruiting interest after a strong performance in the recent Jerry Mullen Camp in Tulsa. Carter narrowed his list of schools to Minnesota, Charlotte, Wyoming, and Baylor earlier this month.

Missouri State University-West Plains CC head coach Brian Osterman said that Carter had wanted to take an unofficial visit before classes start at Missouri State University-West Plains CC August 20. However, a new NCAA rule requires a JC transfer to have completed at least half of his credits before he can make a visit.

Carter is originally from California and moved to New Orleans as a junior. However, due to Hurricane Katrina, he finished his high school career at Little Rock (AR) Mills, where he graduated.

Carter started last season at Connors State (OK) CC before transferring to Missouri State (MO) University-West Plains for the second semester, where he was just a part-time sutdent. He was not released from Connors State and will not be on scholarship until this fall. Carter redshirted last year and will be a freshman this season. He has completed 20 to 24 credits, according to Osterman, who is originally from Good Thunder, Minn. He needs 65 credits to graduate, and if he can finish up during summer school, he would have three years of college eligibility remaining.

Osterman previously told that Carter can get the work done to be eligible.

"He is a good student who works hard. He is not the typical juco guy, who does not go to class. We'll see how he does. I think that he has a chance," Osterman said.

Osterman said that Tubby Smith liked his star player.

"Tubby loves him. He likens him to Tayshaun Prince, because he is a lefty," Osterman said.

Osterman has Minnesota ties, which likely helped Minnesota's chance of landing the talented player who one JC coach told me was the top player in Tulsa.

Osterman thinks that Carter is a very talented player.

"He is very skilled. He understands the game and has great leadership qualities. He is a pretty good ballhandler and outside shooter," Osterman said. "He needs to get stronger and needs to rebound better."

Carter will play in Minnesota twice this season, according to Osterman.

"We play Minnesota West in Worthington on Wednesday and Minneapolis Community the Saturday after Thanksgiving."

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