K-State Wildcats Basketball: Jerome Tang high on Cam Carter

Mississippi State guard Cam Carter (5) attempts to dribble past Arkansas guard Khalen Robinson (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Wednesday, Dec.  29, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State guard Cam Carter (5) attempts to dribble past Arkansas guard Khalen Robinson (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

AP

Cam Carter’s first season of college basketball was mostly a disappointment at Mississippi State, but he does have at least one fond memory of his time with the Bulldogs.

It happened late in the year when he was thrust into a starting role for a game against Alabama. He responded by making three three-pointers and scored a career-high 15 points in 28 minutes of action.

“You could tell on my first shot I was a little nervous, because it was my first start and I didn’t know what to expect,” Carter said. But after I made my first three I was like, ‘OK, it’s on now. I got the chills out. Now it’s time to win.’ My shot was really on that night and I’m expecting it to be on every night now that I’m at Kansas State.”

K-State fans certainly hope that Carter can match that kind of production now that the 6-foot-3 sophomore guard has transferred to the Wildcats. But it remains to be seen if he is ready to consistently deliver.

Outside of that one game against Alabama, Carter rarely made much of an impact at Mississippi State. He averaged 2.2 points, 0.9 assists and 0.8 rebounds in 8.5 minutes. Even after showing what he could do when given extended playing time, he only scored eight points in the final nine games of the season.

Did new K-State coach Jerome Tang sign a hidden gem? Or does Carter need more time to develop into a Big 12 starter?

We won’t have to wait long to find out the answer. With only Eight scholarship players currently on the K-State men’s basketball rosterCarter is expected to play major minutes next season and potentially share the back court with returning point guard Markquis Nowell.

When asked how many minutes he envisions himself playing next season, Carter talked like a starter.

“I can play 30 or 35 or 40, plus overtime,” Carter said. “Whatever Coach Tang needs from me, I’m ready.”

Carter admits he knew “absolutely nothing” about K-State when Tang began recruiting him this spring. But Tang seemed to know everything about him. For starters, Tang loved the fact that Carter grew up in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. That is one of his favorite regions to recruit, so he watched Carter play in high school.

When he entered the NCAA transfer portal, Tang aggressively pursued him.

“When I was at Baylor I always said if you could recruit Texas and Louisiana you could win a national championship,” Tang said. “We did that with Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn when we made the Elite Eight. Then with Jared Butler and Mark Vital we won a national championship. Cam Carter is another tough Louisiana guard who knows how to win and can do a lot of things.”

Tang isn’t worried about Carter’s freshman stats.

“They only lost one game (8-1) when he played at least 12 minutes,” Tang said. “His numbers in the games when he was able to play more minutes show he can be productive.”

Carter is motivated to show his full range of skills this seasons. He was blown away by the response he received on social media after he transferred to K-State. He didn’t realize a fan base could care so much about basketball.

That notion was further reinforced when he arrived on campus over the weekend.

“I can tell everybody loves basketball here,” Carter said.

He hopes to be a leader for a young team next season, and have a few repeats of that Alabama game.

“I can’t wait, because I know last year didn’t go as planned,” Carter said. “This year I have something to prove, so I’m really fired up to get out there.”

Related stories from Wichita Eagle

Kellis Robinett covers Kansas State athletics for The Wichita Eagle and The Kansas City Star. A winner of more than a dozen national writing awards, he lives in Manhattan with his wife and four children.

.