Paul Carter Is Poised For Big Junior Season

Paul Carter, a 6-foot-8, 195-pound junior forward, has had a strong summer playing for the El-Amin Fish House, which remains undefeated in Howard Pulley Pro City League play. Carter also played for a team overseas this summer, which he led in scoring. GoldenSports.Net recently caught up with Carter to learn more about his work on improving his game and expectations for the upcoming season.

Paul Carter averaged 5.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game as a sophomore. He shot 36.2% from the field and 21.1% from three-point range. Carter missed five games with an ankle injury and scored in double figures three times with a season-best 22 points in a 62-54 win over Indiana.

Carter is making his first appearance in the Howard Pulley Pro City League after having to attend summer school at Missouri State West Plains. He is happy to be able to spend this summer with his teammates this sumer.

"This is a big change from last summer. Last summer, I was back in school. I didn't really have a chance to work out and play with anybody. I was kind of by myself the whole time. Just being in the gym and taking care of classes. It was more academic focused than basketball. This summer, has been all about working out. Of course, I have some academic classes, but now I get come here and play with my teammates and just lift weights and everything."

Carter said that he feels much more comfortable with his teammates this summer after not being on campus at this time last year.

"Definitely. I felt that last year when I came in that I was kind of behind everybody and I had to work my way back and once I did, I hurt my ankle. It was kind of hard, but right now, I am just trying to work, not to stay with everybody, but to get ahead of everybody as well. Just have fun with my teammates in the summer."

Most observers feel that junior college players need a year to adjust to playing at a higher level. Carter, who redshirted in junior college, feels that having three years of eligibility helped him with the transition.

"Yes, It is definitely a blessing. I think that it depends on the player. A lot of people say that junior college players need time to adjust. I thought that I adjusted quickly, really. The only thing to get adjusted to is the offense. It is physical in junior college. You have to play defense in junior college. As far as the offense Coach runs, that was the only difference really."

Carter is working hard in the offseason to improve his all-around game.

"Right now, definitely strength and a lot of ballhandling. Just staying strong as far as rebounding and defensively as well. That is my big thing. You stay on the floor if you can play defense. That is the big thing that I am working on."

Carter is playing for the El-Amin Fish House team with teammate and former JC player Devron Bostick. The two have had a history together, which has helped their play as teammates.

"We played together in the Top 100 Camp (a junco event in Tulsa) awhile back, so it seems like we have been playing together for a long time. It is great. Devron is my guy. I always have fun playing with him."

Carter likes what he has seen from incoming player Rodney White, Trevor Mbakwe, Royce White and Justin Cobbs in the Pro City League.

"I love those kids. They are super athletic. They play hard and are competitive. That's what we need. I love watching them play and I love playing with them."

Carter said that despite losing four key players from last years, the expectations are high with the returning talent and a group of outstanding newcomers.

"Definitely. I feel that we are going to be a great team. With those guys, we can do anything. The sky's the limit for us."

Many observers feel that the 2009-10 Gopher team could be the most athletic in school history, something that Carter agress with.

"I would hope so. Paul Carter is probably not going to add to that. It probably Rodney and Trevor and all them. They are amazing athletes. I am just in awe when I see them take off. I'm definitely excited about what we are going to have."

Many Gopher fans are wondering how Coach Tubby Smith will find enough playing time to keep everyone happy. Carter believes that situation will resolve itself.

I don't think that Coach is too worried about keeping everybody happy. He is worried about winning and that is what we are worried about. Everybody is going to be happy if we are winning. So, just stay on the floor. You just got to play hard. Compete every day and when you need a breather whatever, your teammate comes in and picks up the slack and that is what is great about our team.

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