Jason Carter is the youngest in a family of "bigs."
His father, John, is 6-7. His two older brothers, John, III, and Justin, are 6-4 and 6-9, respectively. Jason's maternal grandfather is 6-9.
"My son John thinks he got cheated," laughed Mr. Carter. "We're just tall people."
Jason, who will visit Ole Miss this weekend and is one of the Rebs' top recruiting priorities, didn't get slighted by the tall gene.
"He just turned 18 and he's 6-8. I think he'll grow another inch of two," Dad said. "Jason's a pretty solid 225-230 pounds now. He'll be a big man when he fills out a little more and matures more."
The Carter family story is an intriguing, but relatively common, one.
John, Sr., who went to John Elrich High School in New Orleans settled his growing family in The Big Easy until Hurricane Katrina hit.
"Like so many others from New Orleans, we left before Katrina hit and went to Houston, TX.," he stated. "What was supposed to be a weekend turned into a week and then a month, and then we just decided to stay.
"The school situation in New Orleans after Katrina was bad and my boys were fitting in nicely in the Houston area. It was all about their educations."
Jason went to Thurgood Marshall High in Missouri City, TX, where he excelled in hoops, averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Before this year, John opted to send him to the Christian Life Academy in Humble, which has a high school and a prep school and is very well-known academically and athletically.
Jason was playing for the varsity high school team, but early during his senior season he was elevated to the prep school team competing with fifth-year seniors.
"It's a lot stiffer competition at the prep school, but I knew Jason could handle it," said John, who is in the insurance business. "Jason got knocked around pretty good when he was younger playing with his older brothers. He had to get tough to survive in their games. So playing with older guys was no big deal to him."
Playing on a team that produced three other Division I players, Jason's numbers went down a little from his Marshall year, but displaying a versatile game, he still averaged 13 points and 10 boards for the prep school team.
All the Carter men have first names that start with a "J." In their family, that could stand for jumper, as in jump shot, as well.
"We all played basketball on one level or another," noted John. "Justin is on the team at Lamar University right now. He had to sit out this year after transferring, but he'll be active next year."
Jason, who says the J is his thing, likes to consider himself a versatile player.
"I'll do whatever I have to do for my team to win," said the youngest Carter. "I've been blessed with the ability to run the floor, handle the ball, rebound, defend, whatever, but I believe my strength is my jump shot.
"I am comfortable shooting beyond the arc or I can play with my back to the basket. I'm also very aggressive. Having two older brothers made me that way. I don't like physical play, I love it."
John, trying to be the humble father, but obviously proud of his son, echoed some of those sentiments.
"Being objective, Jason's strength is his versatility. He can play the 3, 4 or 5. At Marshall, he was a post player mostly because he was the biggest player but at Christian Life, playing with some older kids and some bigger kids, he was able to develop his wing skills. I know he's my son, but I think he's very athletic. He's got good hops and a good skill set," John evaluated. "I wish I had some video of some of his dunks. Some of them are highlight makers."
Jason and his parents are headed to Oxford Friday (today) for a look at Ole Miss.
Carter is clearly a high priority for Ole Miss, but Alabama, Colorado, Texas Tech, Louisiana Tech and Arkansas are also in the running for his services.
"I'm looking for two or three things, mainly," Jason assessed. "I'm looking for a coaching staff that can bring out the best in me and help me get better. My dream is to be drafted by the NBA one day.
"I'm also looking for a family atmosphere and a place that wins games. Ole Miss is one of the top schools on my list. I'm excited about the visit."
From a need perspective, Carter is what the Rebels are looking for.
Coach Andy Kennedy loves big men who can run the floor and handle the ball. The Rebs are one 3-4 player away from having what they need on their roster to make the next jump.
Is Jason Carter the guy? They hope so.
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