by Jim Buzzerd
Carter a Grizzly
In the recent NBA draft, Memphis Grizzlies drafted West Virginia University’s senior point guard Jevon Carter. Carter was the 32nd overall selection and the second pick of the second round. The Grizzlies selecting Carter wasn’t set in stone, but there was a lot of chatter leading up to the draft that Carter was a strong possibility to be selected by the Grizzlies with the 32nd pick.
One reason the Grizzlies liked Carter, presumably, is that Memphis GM Chris Wallace is a native of Buckhannon. But don’t think for a minute Wallace let his roots cloud his judgment.
“The success in recent years of the Grizzlies has been built around the grit and grind of our defense,” Wallace said. “By drafting Jevon we hope that helps return our team to that mindset.”
Wallace went on to say Carter wasn’t necessarily targeted, but was part of “an orderly process.”
“He just had some phenomenal high marks when it came to defense,” Wallace said. “And offensively he’s improved significantly as a playmaker and scorer.
Other NBA analysts have chimed in on Carter. “There simply couldn’t be a better fit of player to city than Jevon Carter and the Grizzlies,” said David Aldridge of NBA on TNT. “Ultimate grinder. May be my favorite player in the Draft. On-ball defensive beast.”
“Carter is a really solid defender who improved his offense at every stage. He’s strong and reliable, and he’ll grit-and-grind,” said Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports.
“Carter is a throwback to the grit-and-grind era for the Grizzlies. The 6-2 senior is the best point guard defender in the class thanks to his strength, instincts and quick hands. Carter has worked hard to turn himself into a productive 3-point shooter over these last two seasons. He projects to primarily feature as a backup point guard, but has some starter equity next to a wing primary initiator,” said Chris Stone of Sporting News.
“Carter was one of the best defenders in college basketball, being the centerpiece of West Virginia’s full-court press,” wrote ESPN.com NBA Draft analyst and reporter Jonathan Givony.”No one did a better job of slowing down Trae Young in the Big 12. He picks up 94 feet, is a menace in the passing lanes and generally makes life difficult for opponents.”
Givony listed Carter’s potential role in the NBA as an “agitator.”
What I found surprising is that only eight other Mountaineers in the history of the program have been selected higher than Carter in the draft. I mean I’m well aware that WVU is not a basketball factory, but that number is a bit surprising.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the eight who went higher than Carter. Mark Workman, No. 1 in 1952, Hot Rod Hundley, No. 1 in 1957, Lloyd Sharrar, No. 12 in 1958, Bob Smith, No. 19 in 1958, Jerry West, No. 2 in 1960, Rod Thorn, No. 2 in 1963, Ron Williams, No. 9 in 1968 and Joe Alexander No. 8 in 2008.
Kind of mind boggling to see it was 40 years between Williams and Alexander as first round picks.