Carter Remains Unconcerned About Personal Accolades, Rivaling WVU Records
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – “We’re gonna find out.”
West Virginia senior guard Jevon Carter’s response on if he could get more than his career-high nine steals set in the win over American.
Carter was again excellent defensively in a 98-64 game where the point guard stuffed the stat sheet with 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, nine steals, and two blocks in 33 minutes. He also shot the ball well from the field, finishing 7-for-15, with his only blemish being 0-for-4 from three. The performance from Carter helped WVU’s overall and served as a nice salve from an embarrassing 88-65 loss to Texas A&M in a contest where effort was questioned, especially in the second half.
“It has nothing to do with the way you play,” Carter said. “Your effort should be the same no matter what, if things are going good or bad.”
Things looked to be the same after a slow start for West Virginia, as American was rebounding better and shooting the ball effectively to the point where they held a 21-20 lead with eight minutes left in the first half. Fortunately for West Virginia, the team ended the first half more aggressively on offense and on the boards, ending the half with a 44-33 lead and that built momentum going into what was a lopsided second half.
“It just took us a minute to get going,” Carter said. “It took a while for shots to start falling. Once they did we just kept it going.”
Carter’s nine steals tied for the second-most in program history, and his lockdown defense combined with active hands contributed greatly to West Virginia’s success at maintaining and building their large lead.
“It helped a lot,” Carter said. “If you get a steal, you’re by yourself and that’s an easy layup; doesn’t get any easier than that.”
Carter also showed his team-first mentality by not seeming to be fazed by his impressive steals total.
“Just on that scoreboard,” Carter said on if he keeps track of his numbers. “If West Virginia’s side is higher than the other then I’m fine with that.”
Despite their impressive win, head coach Bob Huggins knows that this is a long season with the likes of Virginia and Kentucky in the nonconference and an 18-game slate in a Big 12 that currently boasts three teams in the top 25 (No. 4 Kansas, No. 24 West Virginia, and No. 25 Baylor.)
“We continually turn guys loose,” Huggins said. “We had what, 14 steals? J.C. had nine of them, so I have a hard time saying the other guys get it when he had nine of them. He has great anticipation and he has great feet. He takes the ball, he doesn’t slap at it. Those guys slap at it and the guy hangs on to it or the guy picks it up and we get called for a foul that may or may not have been a foul. We’ve seen the way it happens.”
One aspect of the team to watch throughout the year is the improvement of the players’ conditioning. West Virginia’s infamous press takes a lot of energy to maintain, and the lack of that showed in their loss to Texas A&M.
“It’s really hard to teach when you’re constantly running up and down the floor, and that’s the only way you get in shape,” Huggins said. “They’ve been running sprints since summer. They ran sprints all fall. It doesn’t get you in basketball shape because it’s a different kind of conditioning. But we had so much to teach that we didn’t run up and down enough. But, you know, the way it turned out in Germany if we had run up and down enough I probably would be saying we didn’t stop and teach enough. You know what I mean? You can only do so many things.”