Georgetown (Ky.) Scott County
I think Jared Carter's strength lies in a skill package wrapped into a body that tall. This is a guy who has good touch around the basket and surprisingly good touch away from the basket, too. One of his real strengths is that the light is essentially going on for him now. He's in the process of elevating his game to another level he previously didn't have it at. So a big strength is how much room there is to grow for him.
One of the difficulties in assessing him is that he played very little AAU basketball last summer and AAU basketball is not the place to assess a 7-2 center anyway. So you watch him in warm-ups and in practice, where he's making jump shots, hitting threes, showing a nice spin move and finishing. There was an air of skill level to his game, but unfortunately for him he wasn't ready for that competition and the style of AAU basketball wasn't fitting to his strength. By the end of the summer I thought he was the highest level of mid major and was in the process of becoming the guy it looks like he's developed into as a senior.
The light is essentially going on for him now.
In short, you saw a lot of potential in a big package. Here's a guy in whom that promise you saw in the summer is beginning to show itself this high school season. And you don't need to look any further than the numbers he's putting up. As a junior it didn't look like he was ready to do those sorts of things and now he's doing it regularly.
The shear physicality of the college game is something that will probably be the most difficult adjustment for him. With a guy like that, the weight room will always be his friend -- from a strength and conditioning standpoint, to adding muscle mass and definition to his body.
Carter has also probably never played against someone his size and anywhere near the level of competition he'll see in college. While Kentucky basketball is intense, it's not particularly strong in terms of high level competition. That's going to be a continued adjustment. But I think we've got to give him some credit for being a pretty good athlete for his size, can block some shots, change ends and has a measure of skill to his game. We need to understand there's still a lot of development that needs to happen with this kid. What's got everyone excited is that he's starting to peak a little bit here and coaches are getting a look at what could be in his future.
From my viewings of him, he didn't look like someone who had trouble with a fast tempo. He's got good footwork and moves well, so transitioning end to end isn't a problem with him. He's not big and slow, he's just big and not strong enough yet.
He's not big and slow, he's just big and not strong enough yet.
When I first talked to him back in the fall, he was shy and reserved. Now he's much more confident in himself. It's not a whole lot different to what we saw with Andrew Bynum, going from a shy kid to someone who had his own press conference at Nike Camp. The similarities lie in how they've grown up and matured. But the best way to draw a comparison for what Carter is going through is to look at Nick Fazekas at Nevada. His senior summer he was completely outclassed on the circuit -- he had some tools, but just wasn't ready. He gets to Nevada and the pieces fit together and he's a big time college basketball player now.
I've heard some compare him to Nick Smith, but I don't think that is the right comparison. In terms of being able to step away from the basket, Carter has some of that in him. But it looks like Carter will be able to hold and carry much more weight than Smith. I think Carter can put the weight on.
I think Carter can put the weight on.
You can take a look at any of his triple-doubles or near triple doubles this season – there have been a bunch of them. But perhaps his best showing was in mid-February when he was 15-for-18 from the field for 33 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, blocked eight shots and dished out five assists. Numbers like that can't be ignored.
This isn't a case where a recruit is greatly overvalued because he's one of the last guys on the board. This isn't one of those cases for the simple fact that this is a guy who hasn't maxed out his talent.
He is legitimately growing up going from prospect to player at the right time. Because of the way he's improving and the increased numbers and all that stuff that goes into it, he's starting to become more player than prospect.
He's starting to become more player than prospect.
At the rate he's developing and with the weight he's adding, he may have filled out and his game may start coming together at a faster rate. So I don't think you can just say ‘he's a great redshirt candidate' because he may be even more of a player when he gets to campus than we think he is.