Gopher Signee Paul Carter Shines in Opener

Paul Carter, a 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward from Missouri State University-West Plains CC who committed to Minnesota in August, shined in his junior college debut. Carter had been a top recruiting priority for the Gophers and could be a NJCAA All-American this year. Carter is the son of Ron Carter, who played two seasons in the NBA.

Paul Carter attracted plenty of recruiting interest after a strong performance in the recent Jerry Mullen Camp in Tulsa. Carter picked Minnesota over interest from Charlotte, Wyoming, and Baylor.

Carter finished wsith 28 points, 14 rebounds, four blocked shots, two assists and two turnovers in the Grizzlies' 83-75 season-opening win over Labette (KS) CC in the Ozarks Medical Center Tipoff Tournament, according to Missouri State University-West Plains CC head coach Brian Osterman. They will face Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa tonight.

Osterman previously told Golden Sports.Net 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.

However, Osterman said that not being able to take a visit did not have an impact on his decision to commit to Minnesota.

"First of all, he thought great things about Tubby Smith and Minnesota. He wanted to put the decision behind him to totally focus on his team and academics," Osterman said.

"Because of the rule that he could not visit until January, his family decided to make the decision at 10:30 and call Coach Smith.

Osterman sees Carter as a "3/4" or "4/3." He played mostly power forward in theri season opener.

"He has good skills and is a mismatch guy," Osterman said. "He can post up smaller players and against bigger guys he can use his speed and quickness to go around them, which makes him a tough matchup."

Carter is taking 18 credits (six classes) this semester. He plan to take 18 credits in the spring and three in the summer. If he graduates on time, he will have three years of eligibility at Minnesota, which makes him even more valuable as a JC transfer.

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.

His mother still lives in Arkansas and his father, Ron Carter lives in Chicago. Carter finished his career as VMI's second all-time leading scorer and tenth in Virginia college history. Ironically, his 2,228 points is three more than Ralph Sampson scored at Virginia. Minnesota landed Sampson's son, Ralph Sampson III earlier this month.

Ron Carter was the 26th overall pick (second round) in the 1978 draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He played two seasons with the Lakers and averaged 3.1 points per game as a rookie in 1978=79 in 46 games and 2.5 points per game in 13 contests in 1979-80.

Paul 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 student. 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 26 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 GoldenSports.net 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."

Gopher fans will get a chance to watch Carter, who will play in Minnesota twice this season, according to Osterman.

"We play Minnesota West in Worthington on Wednesday November 21st and Minneapolis Community the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 24th)."

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