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Carter improves on and off court

by Conor O’Neill,
  • Senior guard Devan Carter jumps up for the score in the game last Monday against Greensboro College. Carter had 13 points, four rebounds and one assist in the win against the Pride. He played for a total of 20 minutes. Photo by Lindsay Fendt.

Adapting to a new coach is no small challenge. Adapting to a new coach for a player's senior season is even harder.

But Devan Carter, along with three other teammates, will play his last season this year as a Phoenix under the direction of new head coach Matt Matheny.

 "I think I've adapted well," Carter said. "Coach Matheny has a lot of new basketball terminology that I've never heard before, but our team is adjusting pretty well to it."

Carter is vital to the Phoenix this season, as Matheny will lean heavily on this team's senior leadership.

"Part of being a leader is making sure everybody is on the same page," Carter said. "So I feel a little added responsibility to do that because I know that's what has to happen for us to have a good year."

Joining Carter are seniors Adam Constantine, T.J. Douglas and Jon Ogolo.

"Those guys have been through the trenches also, so it doesn't just fall on me," Carter said. "We're able to teach the younger guys some new things and we work together doing that."

Adjusting to the new coaching is a challenge that can be solved off the court, while Carter has also taken necessary steps to improve his game on the court.

Last season, Carter averaged 7.1 points per game, making him one of the top returning scorers for the Phoenix. He also added about two rebounds per game.

The first step taken was during the summer, when Carter decided to stay at Elon. He made Alumni Gym his second home, lifting weights and practicing all summer.

Carter also played in the Triad Pro-Am league this summer, which featured several NBA players and Wake Forest players. Former Demon Deacon James Johnson and all-state Chris Paul were two NBA players who played alongside Carter in the league.

"Every game we played against somebody from Wake Forest, somebody who played (in Europe) or somebody in the NBA," Carter said.

By playing in this league, Carter said he got used to playing against top-level competition, which can only help the Phoenix when the season starts.

But when personal goals are discussed, Carter admits it's a little too early to think about those things. Like any good leader, Carter said he would much rather have team success than personal success.

"Of course I want to have a good senior year, but ultimately I know that if I average 25 points per game and we win four games, our season would be a failure," Carter said. "I'd much rather average five points per game and make it to the NCAA tournament."

He said he believes the Phoenix has the players and the talent to capture a Southern Conference tournament championship, which would give the team an automatic NCAA tournament bid.

If the Phoenix does capture its first tournament championship, Carter will be one of the keys to victory, regardless of how many points he scores.