Paul Carter Struggles, But Grizzlies Win by 4

Paul Carter, a 6-foot-8, 195-pound forward from Missouri State University-West Plains CC who signed his letter of intent with Minnesota earlier this month, was just one of 12 from the field in the Grizzlies' 56-52 win over Minneapolis Community & Technical College Saturday. GoldenSports.Net caught up with Carter after the game.

Paul Carter finished with four points on one of 12 shooting from the field. He made both free throws and added eight rebounds, one blocked shot and two steals as he was limited to 20:52 minutes, due to foul difficulties.

Carter had scored 18 points against Minnesota West in their 117-72 victory. However, Minneapolis head coach Jay Pivec did a good job of slowing the tempo and used a zone defense to stifle the more athletic Grizzlies team. Despite the subpar individual performance, Carter was glad that his team improved to 9-1 with the win.

"I was just trying to help my team. My teammates give me the easy shots. We have great shooters. We have great guards. I owe it all to them. If I get a shot, it is because of them, not me. It was a good game, though. My teammates did well."

Carter said that he was not nervous with his future head coach Tubby Smith in the building.

"Not nervous, more anxious. I was excited. I wanted to play really hard and get out there, kind of overly aggressive on defense. Got some fouls. But like I said, I'm just glad my teammates played a great game, because I know that it was a lot of them."

His father, Ron Carter, who played two seasons in the NBA, was in the attendance catching his son for the first time this season.

"I know that he is going to be pretty upset with me. I'm about to hear it right now. He's got the stats and everything," Paul said. "I'm probably going to get an earful in a second. I'm just glad that we were able to pull out the win."

Carter said that he was excited to see Minnesota face Central Michigan at Williams Arena later that night.

"Definitely. I can not wait."

Carter and his teammates had Thanksgiving in Good Thunder, home of his head coach Brian Osterman. The small town was a bit of a surprise for some the Grizzly players.

"It was small, but I liked it. I'm used to the big city. It was pretty cold. When we came in, it was snowing and I'm like "Oh no. It's not even December yet and it is snowing. I was like man, what did I get myself into.' But I like it out here. I think it is going to be great. A great college career out here," Carter said.

Carter sat out nearly half the game with foul trouble and he has fouled out of three games this season. Carter said that he is working hard to stay on the court and not in foul difficulty.

"It is something that I am trying to work on," he said. "Coach, we've been working on and telling me not to be so aggressive defensively, as far as trying to block shots and things like that. I kind of get myself into foul trouble, wanting the ball so much and I foul. I'm controlling it here and there. I need to be more consistent with it."

Carter did not have a chance to visit the campus before committing to Minnesota and he was excited to see the campus Saturday night.

"I'm looking forward to going up there and checking it out and just having a great time at the game," he said.

Carter said that even though he has not had a chance to watch Minnesota on TV, he has been checking out his future school.

"I've been following them, seeing the box scores and everything like that. I have not seen them play yet, so I am excited about that."

Minnesota players Lawrence McKenzie, Damian Johnson and Al Nolen watched Carter, as did coaches Tubby Smith, Vince Carter, Saul Smith and Joe Esposito. They were joined by a good handful of Gopher fans in attendance to watch Carter.

"I was a little anxious to show them what I had," he said. "I kind of rushed some shots, but I'm just glad that they got to see the team play well, because my teammates did very well. We just had fun and we got a win. We had fun and that was the best part about it."

Carter is working hard in the class room to be eligible next season.

"School is going good so far. It is pretty tough, We have two hours of study hall every night. It is tough and it is stressful too, but I've got to get it done."

He will have three years of eligibility after redshirting last season, which makes him even more valuable as a junior college transfer.

"I believe that I need three years to develop as a player. This is my first college season, my first full season here. In the three years with Coach Smith and Coach Taylor and the rest of the coaches, is just going to help me develop as a player, so I think it is going to be a great situation," Carter said.

Carter redshirted last season after transferring from Connors State, which was tough for Carter as he had to sit out the entire year.

"It was really hard. I wanted to play so much," he said. "Even my high school career, I had to sit out here and there. I wanted to play bad, but I tried to watch the game and take what I can from it so when I play I know what to do and what not to do."

Carter played basketball at three different high schools during his career and missed time, which affected his development.

"Coming from LA, I played with a great high school team. Jordan Farmar, who is with the Lakers, was our point guard. I did not get to play much as a sophomore on the varsity. We moved to New Orleans and I played a little bit there, but had to sit out half a semester for transferring. Going to Little Rock was a great experience. It helped me, not as far as developing as a player, but playing a whole season. I kind of came into my own as a player. I just had great coaching and great teammates. I think that it was a great experience, a God-given experience. I'm glad that he moved so many mountains in my life to be where I am today," Carter said.

Gopher Illustrated Top Stories