Austin Carter hopes this season is as special as his last

Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer

Austin Carter, Southern’s leading shot blocker this year, has become one of the best shot blockers in the Northeast-10 Conference.

Carter is fifth in the NE-10 Conference with 1.7 blocks per game. Just 17 games into the season, Carter has already tallied up 29 blocks.  More than double his closest teammate, Des Williams, who has 13.

Carter believes he is such a good shot blocker because of the work he does in the gym and his knowledge for the game.

“I can say that lifting has made me more explosive which has made me a lot quicker to block shots,” said Carter. “When someone is about to shoot I can tell if they’re going to  pump fake or when they’re going to release the ball, so I can usually just time it.”

It’s not just the defensive side of the court that Carter helps the Owls’ on.  Carter averages 9.2 points per game and is second on the team in offensive rebounds with a total of 40 on the year.

The leading offensive rebounder and team captain, Williams, has been impressed with what kind of player Carter has transformed into during his career at Southern.

“He just works so hard. I give him the ultimate respect for working as hard as he did in the offseason,” said Williams when talking about Carter. “His work ethic is crazy. He works hard everyday and puts in a lot of extra work that people don’t get to see.”

Carter dedicated himself to becoming a better basketball player this offseason, but basketball isn’t his first priority. School is the aspect of life that Carter concerns himself with the most.

As a sophomore, Carter was selected to the NE-10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll. Juggling studies and basketball is challenging, but Carter knows that school is just as important as basketball.

“I’m here for school first, basketball definitely comes second,” said Carter. “Academics has always been the main thing in my life. As soon as I got to Southern I knew that if I did good in the classroom it would translate [to] the court because if you do good in the classroom then that can’t take you away from basketball.”

Carter has spent quite a bit of time on the court this season as he is averaging 29.2 minutes per game, which is third on the team behind Williams and Mike Mallory.

Last season Carter only averaged 18.1 minutes per game. He said he has focused a lot on conditioning in the offseason so he could make himself available for longer stretches in the game.

In Carter’s freshman year the Owls’ held a record of 30-3 and made it all the way to the Elite 8 in the Division II NCAA tournament. Carter feels like this current team has the potential to be as good as that one.

“We’re on the path to become a team just like my freshman year,” said Carter. “It’s a whole new team and we’re all now getting adjusted to each other. I feel like we have more weapons this year than we did my freshman year. When it’s all set and done this might be my favorite team.”

This current Owls’ team is 15-3. Carter hopes that his junior season can be just as special as his freshman season was.

Photo Credit: Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor

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