Prep basketball: Lifetime in hoops lands Carter at Riverside
CHARLESTON, W.Va. Ryan Carter has been around the game of basketball his entire life and has experienced success on the basketball court.
Carter, 25, won a pair of AAU national championships while playing with future NBA players O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker for the D1 Greyhounds.
Now the Columbus, Ohio native hopes to have similar successes as a first-year high school coach at Riverside High.
Carter took over the program in September and will look to add stability to a program that finished 9-16 last season under the guidance of three different head coaches.
"I've been around basketball all my life," said Carter, also a special education math teacher and assistant football coach at Riverside. "I was fortunate to get the job. I really love the game. I coach football because it paid for my school, but basketball is my first love."
The Warriors are a young team and must replace two of last season's three double-digit scorers, but they do have solid game-time experience on the roster.
"I've been fairly impressed so far, but we have our good days and down days," Carter said. "We have a good senior leader in Tyus Wood and we're very athletic. It's just a matter of getting everybody to buy into the system. We're young, but we should be pretty good."
Wood was the team's second leading scorer as a junior at 12.6 points per contest.
"He's a very explosive player," Carter said of Wood. "He can see the court very well and he's quick off his dribble. He's also shooting a lot better than he did last year. He's a great leader for our program."
Others expected to see plenty of action are junior forward Tamar Lawson, junior Brady Wilkinson, sophomore point guard Quan Brock, sophomore forward/center Josh Carpenter, sophomore Dajon Watkins, sophomore Scott Goodwin and sophomore Cole Sigman.
Carter is trying to instill a particular defensive and rebounding mindset in those players.
"We're going to be a defensive-oriented system," Carter said. "There are three things that I preach to the kids, and defensive rebounding and hustle plays are things we can control. It doesn't matter how athletic you are, if you work, you play defense, you hustle and you rebound ... those are all things we can control ourselves."
So far the team has been receptive of Carter's challenge.
"I think we're coming together as a team," Carter said. "There are some days that I've been very tough on them when we've regressed, but there haven't been very many of those days. We're looking for bright things."
Carter is also trying to help mold his players as individuals, rather than worrying strictly about wins and losses.
"It's hard for me to put a number on games," Carter said. "Winning is so much more than numbers. At some point we need to focus on building kids' characters.
"If, at the end of the season, we can look back and have won 10 to 15 games and these kids have developed as young men, we did our jobs. Even if they win five games and they've developed as young men, and they're doing the right things in the community, and being leaders in our school, then I'll feel like we had a successful season."