Carter Learning, Excelling, At Jersey Shore

BELMAR, N.J. -- Most of Rutgers' freshmen enrolled in classes in late May, but point guard Elijah Carter didn't arrive until two weeks ago. In that time he is adjusting to classes and playing well in the Jersey Shore Basketball League.

BELMAR, N.J. – Most of Rutgers' celebrated basketball recruiting class entered school in late May, but point guard Eli Carter only arrived two weeks ago and is getting acclimated to college life.

And, as the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Carter point guard is learning, despite living a quasi-college life at Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.), college is much different.

"It's different from Brewster," Carter said. "It's harder. There are a lot of papers, but we have all the tutors to help us, so I'm doing well."

The escape time is basketball, and Thursday it meant a 40-minute trip to St. Rose High for a Jersey Shore Basketball League tilt in which Carter scored eight points and showed an ability to penetrate and pass, and also create space to get off his own shot.

Carter was also one of the few members of the Gutter Cleaners, which features nine members of the Scarlet Knights, not to get winded during the frantic, up-and-down, non-defensive style of the league.

"I'm used to playing up-and-down," said Carter, who is averaging 15 points per game. "At Brewster, we played up-and-down. The last couple of games we weren't running, but this time we came out and ran.

"Instead of playing pickup against each other, this gives us a chance to play against other guys that we don't know."

Even with two JSBL games a week, classes and off-season conditioning, the players also play pickup games at least three times a week on campus.

And while the teachings of coach Mike Rice's demanding defense-first approach will be a new concept to the seven players entering their first year in the program, the pickup games and JSBL serve an important purpose.

"Team chemistry, and getting used to playing with each other and getting ready for Big East basketball," Carter said. "We're all familiar with each other, but we still have things to work on."

When Carter arrived on campus, he said the coaching staff was always around, and he spoke to them daily.

However, recruiting is in full swing so the staff is on the road, but the goal continues to be to get ready for Sept. 1, which is when Rice and his staff can have limited on-court workouts with the players.

"We're very excited," Carter said. "We have to come into practice every day ready to work, and we'll do well."

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