Catching Up with Paul Carter
-- Hit game-winner to end 2011-12 season --

Paul Carter was recently surprised.

He wasnít surprised that he was asked to come to NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with the Atlanta Hawks. No, Carter was simply taken aback that he was recognized by fans in Vegas.

Maybe he shouldnít be so shocked.

The 6-8 swingman who played at two major college programs in the midwest, Minnesota and Illinois-Chicago, played a major role in the Stampedeís success as a rookie after he was a late-cut victim of the Utah Jazz, never getting the chance to play Summer League because of the player-owner lockout before the 2011-12 NBA season.

Getting cut three days before the beginning of the NBA season allowed Carter to make an easy transition to the Jazzís then-affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. Carter joined Terrico White and two assignees from the Denver Nuggets within the course of a few days, but it was Carter who made the lasting impact.

First, Carter traveled around to area schools, motivating students to get their grades in order, encourage reading and sign up for the ACT. On the basketball floor, the season ended well, too.

Carter was mobbed at the end of the year, making a buzzer-beating, game-winning jumper to win the last game of the season. In his 34 games (21 starts), Carter averaged 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds, shooting 47 percent from the floor and 39 percent from the three-point line and finds himself waiting to see if what heís done has been good enough to warrant a training camp spot with an NBA club.

This summer, Carter played five games (one start) and played just over 14 minutes per game, averaging 4.0 points and 2.8 rebounds.

Q: Do you know what your next step is for your basketball career?
Carter: Play the waiting game, hopefully somebody is interested for training camp this season. If not, Iíll look at the D-League, or overseas. Iíll go anywhere to get a free lunch.

Q: What do your prospects look like right now?
Carter: A few teams seem to like me, but with all of them, I need to show more and get better. Atlanta told me I had some things to work on, said they want to see more, a lot of overseas teams are interested. Nothing major or concrete right now.

Q: How did you like playing in the summer league?
Carter: It was my first time playing in the summer league, because of the lockout. It was a good experience. I liked it, but obviously as a competitor I want to play more minutes. I probably played 10-12 minutes per game, which was different, coming off of the Stampede season, where I was a focal point. But playing basketball and doing what I love, Iím blessed to get to do that.

Q: What was Vegas like?
Carter: It was really fun, actually. I saw a lot of NBA guys. It kind of seems like players arenít here for summer league or USA basketball, so maybe theyíre just here to party. l get in and see college teammates, that were guys from AAU and itís all kind of a big reunion. Vegas, the strip, was crazy. Everybody is 6-8 or 6-9 and people come up to us asking, Ďwho you guys play for?í Fans you never knew you had, especially with me, come up and say hello, like, ĎOh, I watched you since so-and-so.í It was a fun experience. I watched some guys gamble. I donít like giving away my money, but it was fun watching guys gamble.

Q: What Stampede players or coaches did you see?
Carter: Joel Abelson was with Toronto, saw him. Saw Coach Randy. Derrick Caracter, Seth Tarver was with the Memphis Grizzlies, and we hung out the whole time and watched games. I saw Terrico White, playing with the Clippers, it was a flurry of D-League players in general.

Q: Who are the types of guys on the summer league rosters?
Carter: A lot of them are my friends, it seems like. Devoe Joseph, his younger brother Cory was drafted, but heís trying to get in. Ralph Sampson III, my teammate at Minnesota, is just trying to make it and working hard. A lot of D-League guys, like Elijah Millsap, are trying to get contracts. A lot of guys are really good, good enough to play in the NBA but a lot of itís just timing, and being just good enough. I feel like I can play with anybody, the team and coaches have to see what they think.

Q: What did you see out of the Blazers summer league team?
Carter: They have a lot of talent. Iím surprised at [No. 6 overall pick in NBA Draft, Damian] Lillard, he went to Weber State, and I didnít know him, hadnít seen him play: heís the real deal. Blazers made a great choice. It was exciting to watch him play, but not as an opponent, but I was on the bench for much of the game when we played them. He played well. And also they had [No. 11 overall pick in NBA Draft] Meyers Leonard played super athletic, super strong, like Tyler Hansbrough, he kind of does all the dirty work and plays hard. The Blazers have a bright future. Luke Babbitt is coming back. Theyíll be tough.

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