Marc Carter is a 32 year old 192cm guard from Morganza, Maryland that is in his 10th professional season and first with Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL). He started his basketball career at NC-Wilmington (NCAA) in 2003 where he played four seasons playing a total of 121 NCAA games. He started his professional basketball career in 2008 with the Duesseldorf Giants (Germany-1.Bundesliga) where he played for two seasons. He also gained further basketball experience with Proteas Danoi AEL (Cyprus-Division A), Phoenix Hagen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, four years in Greece with teams A.G.O Rethymno Aegean (Greece-A1), Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1), PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1), AEK Athens (Greece-A1) and last season he played with BM Slam Stal Ostrow Wlkp. (Poland-TBL) playing 36 games averaging 12.2ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 82.6%. He spoke to German Hoops before the Eurocup game against Alba Berlin in Berlin.
Marc thanks for talking to German Hoops. Welcome back to Germany. This is your fourth season of playing international club basketball and never played against a German team in that stretch. After playing your last game in the 2011-2012 season for Phoenix Hagen did you ever come back to visit Germany during a layover or is this the first time back In your professional career you had a 2-3 record against Alba Berlin including beating them with two different teams. With what kind of feelings are you coming back to Berlin?
I remember the wins against Berlin. My years in Germany they had a very strong team . I’m happy to come back to Germany . It’s where it started for me. Also the city itself I remember was great. I stayed a day after a Berlin game to visit monuments and Museums. Riding bikes through the city was fun
In the 2011-2012 season, Phoenix Hagen played an unforgettable game that probably ranks up with the top three games of their history beating Alba Berlin 98-91 in OT and you dominated leading all scorers with 33 points. What do you remember from that game?
The game against Alba at home in Hagen was crazy . Our fans were always very supportive and showed up to games. It was loud in there as you would expect it to be playing well against one of the top teams . I remember I scored a quick 5 points . After hitting a corner three I remember thinking to myself I have it going, but I didn’t know it would turn into 33 points. But the win was the icing
Since then you have played many years in Greece and in Poland and never scored more than 33 points again . When you look back at your career was that your best game since you came from Europe?
I think my best game statistically was against Neptunas while playing for Panionios. I believe I had 28 points 7 rebounds and 5 assists and we won
Your playing your 10th professional season and first with Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL). Your 32 and still going strong. What has been your secret to being so consistent even through your thirties?
I count it as 9 years playing because I went to Cypress for 10 days and ended up being out of basketball for that remaining season. But I worked hard at maintaining my physical ability even though you decline as you get older. I think being able to do more on the court has allowed me to continue to play at this age. Being solid defensively , second ball handler and playing in the pick and rolls. Your knowledge can expand if you put in the time
You have played with PAOK a very well respected Greek team, but this season playing with one of Lithuania´s most famous basketball team Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL) that have won 5 country titles and two Eurocups. Do you feel a special kind of basketball tradition there that you have never felt before?
Lithuania is a basketball country . Fans know the game and love their teams . However I haven’t seen anything like the Greek fans in all of my years of playing
Your on a team that has a lot of talented players, but are averaging less minutes in the Lithuanian league than in the Europ Cup. How would you describe your role this season opposed to other seasons where you were more of a scoring option?
My role is different with this team. At 32 this is the first time I’ve been asked to play the point guard position full time . It’s been an adjustment trying to figure out how to run a team and score only when needed . It’s a part of the growth challenge that I’ve accepted and hope to get better at it
You have some very interesting teammates with sniper Jimmy Baron, experienced forward Travis Peterson and defensive pest Chris Kramer as well as other talented guys from Lithuania. Where will the journey of the team take you this season in both competitions?
We all hope the journey is a great one . We are talented and have many new faces to the team and the league . Being versatile with depth is a recipe for team success so we shall see
Your 32 years old and often it is stated that players don´t improve, but actually decrease in skills as they get older. How vital has Chris Kramer been in just pushing you harder in practice with his scrappy play enabling you to continue to be able to develop?
Players can improve skill wise. Sure physically you may start to regress . But don’t you see players becoming better shooters as they age? I guess if they work at it. Chris has been great. He competes and when you have to bring it every day it keeps you in a competitive state and pushing to improve. It’s given me a chance to handle the ball while having someone guard you pretty tough every day. Throughout my career that’s something that I’ve continued to work at especially being an off guard
Last season you played with M Slam Stal Ostrow Wlkp. (Poland-TBL) playing 36 games averaging 12.2ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 52.9%, 3PT: 39.8%, FT: 82.6%. How refreshing was it having an older teammate like diminutive 173cm point guard Aaron Johnson who after playing many seasons in Italy, D-League and Finland had his best offensive season. How did he push you to keep up your solid play last season?
Last season was like a Cinderella story . Being at the bottom of the league to forcing a tough game 5 with the Polish league champions . We had a great balance of shooters along with a dominate shot blocker and rebounder . It allowed me to make plays and having Aaron run past everyone got me many open shots. If you are a scorer you have to like that
You played four years in Greece for four different teams and reached the semi-finals all four years which is a huge achievement doing it with so many teams. What did you learn to appreciate the most about having this chance in Greece to continue to show that you can continue to play at a high level year in and year out?
I learned to appreciate winning because it’s not a guarantee every year . Those 9 -10 months are much more pleasant when you win games
In the Greek league you never beat top team Olympiakos and had a 1-7 record against Panathinaikos. Was the 71-54 win and you scoring 18 points your most memorable win in Greece? What memories do you have of that game?
It was one of the most memorable wins . I remember the gym being filled with the black and white army. 8-10k fans going crazy the entire game. We were a good team so it wasn’t a surprise for us players to have won the game . I don’t remember many plays from the game unfortunately. But I think the best win that year was against Aek being down 10 with 3-4 minutes left and Jake Odum hitting game winning three
You played with AEK Athens in 2015-2016 and played briefly with Mr Canada Philip Scrubb who had his first growing pains as a rookie there, but has moved on to Frankfurt where he was instrumental in winning the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup and is primed for superstar status. Did you notice the vast talent that he had in the short time you were teammates?
Phil is a great dude and very talented . It was tough to watch him go through it in AEK but happy to see he found a place where he can show what he can do at a high level . He had spurts with us in AEK where he showed us all that he could play this game
You played with long under the radar American Errick Mccollum at Panionios ON Telecoms Athens (Greece-A1) who played at an NAIA school and scored 82 points in China and made to the Euroleague and really had to move up the ladder his whole career. Did you sense in Greece that he was playing with a chip on his shoulder?
Oh yea you could sense that he wanted to show that he could compete with the best on any level . He has an amazing scoring ability . Can get his shot off against anyone and draw contact to get to the line . I knew he would score at will in China with NBA spacing and rules it’s almost impossible to guard someone that quick than can shoot from anywhere
You lived two years in Athens. For a boy coming from Maryland, what was the most difficult thing to get used to living in a gigantic city besides finding ways to get around the annoying traffic?
It wasn’t difficult to adjust to the city at all . I lived in Atlanta prior to being in Athens . Traffic was awful but Nea Smirni was a great location because it was close to downtown and close to sea side in Glyfada, but the Greeks drive badly.
After two solid seasons in Germany with Duesseldorf, you had an unforgettable experience in Cyprus. Did you feel like your career might be over?
Going to Cypress showed me another part of basketball I had not seen. When I walked away from that situation, I felt I would be done playing at 25 years old and contemplated retirement. If that’s what overseas ball was going to be for me I wanted no part of it.
You rebounded and came to Phoenix Hagen playing 32 games averaging 14.5ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 49.2%, 3PT: 28.5%, FT: 85.4%. Was this the season where Marc Carter the professional was reborn? Was it more continued hard work through the season that enabled you to be so successful or a having the right teammates?
Going back to Germany was a fresh start. Close to Düsseldorf where I had lived previously . I knew in order to get to where I wanted to be at a higher level I needed to play well
Phoenix Hagen had many talented players in the last years, but when you were there not as much talent which speaks for how you were able to make the best of what you had to play with. How important was head coach Ingo Freyer in letting you have absolute freedom?
I stayed after practice a lot and worked worked worked . I think having freedom there along with putting in the time allowed me to have a bounce back season
In basketball Hagen everybody knew Marco Schmitz and I know you did as well. On September 21, he passed away after a long fight against cancer. What memories do you have of the ultimate Hagen basketball fan?
As you stated “ THE ULTIMATE HAGEN FAN” Truly loved to be around the game every moment he could .
You probably will never forget German Gordon Geib as a defender. He was a pest like Chris Kramer. How did you profit from his game as a very young player trying to find his game in Germany?
Gordon was a bulldog. I could remember laughing with teammates as we’d watch him hound someone full court and eventually they’d turn it over or quickly pass it to get him off of them. Defending I think earned me most of my minutes early in my career before I began to adjust offensively to Europe
You played at NC-Wilmington(NCAA) from 2003-2008 winning the CAA tournament and getting the MVP beating Hofstra 78-67 and has been your own title. Does this title stay longer in your memory simply because it´s the only one you won?
The Title win over Hofstra was special not only because it’s the only title but it was a tough 2 years for me as a player and a team to get back to the winning tradition the program had . We worked our butts off and their success as a school was a huge reason I wanted to go there
You played a few times against top school North Carolina losing each game. When you look back at those games and remember all the talented players who would go on to the NBA did you feel like there was so much difference between a guy like you and say Raymond Felton?
That NC team was the most talented team I’ve ever competed against . Playing in their arena was quite an experience . My heart pounding out of my chest as a sophomore but I had a solid game against them . Often times big NCAA schools have a rep from their name and you play against guys and you realize that aren’t better but Felton was clearly steps ahead of me as a player when we were that age .
How did head coach Brad Brownell groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Brownell was tough but he and Billy Donlon showed me how to work at a high rate especially with individual workouts . As a young player in college I often got benched from missing defensive assignments . However as a professional , being able to be solid defensively kept me on the court
Who won a one on one in practice back in the day at NC_Wilmington you or John Goldsberry?
John was tough one on one . I can only remember us a playing a few times . I did beat him as I got older. One other time before that there was pretty much a wrestling match of a basketball game between Beckham Wyrick John and myself . You’d have to ask Beckham who won that war
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that made it to the NBA?
Toughest player I can remember at the moment was probably Andrew Goudelock. He scored 29 against us as a freshman but we got the win
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson , Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. This is by no means me saying these guys are the top 4 players ever with the exception of Jordan . These are the guys that fed my obsession with basketball and the NBA . Sunday’s after church I couldn’t wait to see these guys compete . Not to mention they were all phenomenal scorers and of catalyst for their teams success.
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
Lebron for me is and will be one of the Greatest to play. Even if he captures 6 rings or even 7. I could never view him in my eyes as the G.O.A.T . Jordan won every finals he appeared in. In an era where there many greats still playing , many good teams . In his time of dominance he was responsible for some other legends not winning championships and it was clear who was the best in the game . Lebron is different and special in his own way. He stuffs the stat line and impacts the game in every way. You could argue that He will go to the finals every year regardless of what teams he is playing for . I think he will be top 10 possibly if he retired today. The game hasn’t seen someone like him before . Rings are a major factor in ranking players , however I don’t think it can be the only deciding factor.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
This is the first I’ve heard of the Westbrook criticism. He plays the game with such passion that you ever want to miss a game he’s playing in. Stats in some ways ruin the game . You can look at someone’s numbers on ESPN the night after the game and say” wow amazing performance “ but you didn’t see his full impact on the game and crucial minutes , made plays or missed opportunities. If he is in fact focused on rebounding stats and pushing aside defensive assignments I can’t imagine how it would help his team more, but I don’t ever think we can say he doesn’t compete ! And that’s why I love to watch him play
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
I haven’t been a big NBA draft guy mostly from being out of touch with college basketball. Time zones and having access to watch is different being abroad. We all know Lonzo and LaVar stole the show , and everyone wants to see the Lakers back to being SHOWTIME. I think Lonzo is a talent and will have a good career , don’t know if he has the ability to be an all time great. But I will stay tuned . I’ve watched a few Boston games and really like Jayson Tatum´s skill set . These guys are so young and athletic, but only time will separate the good from the great
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
I didn’t understand the Chris Paul deal. But if you can get the best or one of the best pgs in the league on your roster I guess you do it and see what happens . He and Harden are scoring ball dominate guards and polar opposite personalities. I think with Houston’s shooting ability and 2 capable facilitators they will be fun to watch but ultimately I think they are missing something to be able to win a title. Let’s face it, GSW are really really good and now with KD, it’s just not fair
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
The kyrie /Isaiah trade was a huge Shocker to me . With Isaiah still out until January or so there is no telling what his impact will be. But if returns to form from last year, he and crowder will help Cleveland. I think Boston won in terms of planning for the future. As long as Lebron is in the east I think Cavs will be the team to beat ! I think Boston knows that too
Where will the journey of the Oklahoma Thunder go this season with Westbrook, George and Anthony? Can they make a serious run in the west?
As for the Thunder . I think it looks great on paper. They will have a good season but don’t think they can match the style and tempo of Golden State.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Last movie I saw was John Wick 2. I Loved it! I usually wait until things are out for rent , don’t go to many movie theaters often . But when something like X men comes out I go see it no matter where I am.
Thanks Marc for the chat.