Before the recent era of high-profile transfers like Aaron Bright and Kyle Wiltjer coming into the WCC, there was Kerry Carter. An unheralded player coming out of high school in West Covina, California, Carter was a premier player on the community college scene in California before arriving in Moraga. Then in just two seasons with the Gaels, Carter became an impact player at the Division 1 level as one of the top players for one of the conference’s best programs.
Carter led Citrus College in scoring at 20.4 points per game before coming to Saint Mary’s, making him one of the top players among California community colleges. But playing for the Gaels was a big step up, so it would have been understandable if it took him some time to become a key piece of the rotation. Despite the loss of Matthew Dellavedova, the guard situation was pretty well handled already for the 2013-14 season. Stephen Holt was ready to assume the lead role, and James Walker III stepped into the other guard position after a year of adjusting to Division 1 play. Interestingly enough, his path was identical to Carter. He too played for Citrus College, and went on to start every game in 2013-14 for the Gaels after a year of adjustments and growth.
Holt and Walker were solid for the Gaels, but Carter found room to contribute. He averaged 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds for game as he appeared in every contest, starting in over half of them. He also led the team in three pointers and was 5th in the WCC in that category. Clearly his talent did not require much of an adjustment period. With Carter contributing quite a bit, the Gaels had a good if not great year. They won 23 games and reached the second round of the NIT.
The 2014-15 season was really Carter’s time to shine however, and the reason he was brought in by Randy Bennett. The graduation of Holt and Walker left the Gaels very thin at the guard position, and Carter became the top candidate to lead the backcourt. He still needed help however, and the Gaels did a great job hitting the transfer market to pick up Aaron Bright of Stanford. His playmaking ability became a perfect complement to the scoring of Carter, and it was even more critical as Joe Coleman, another high-profile transfer, missed most of the year due to injury.
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No longer hampered by playing behind other scoring options and helped by the assists of Bright, Carter embarked on a fantastic season. He averaged 12.1 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game as his impact was felt all over the court. He was again a sharpshooter finishing 4th in the WCC in three pointers. Quietly he was one of the best rebounding guards in the conference, and he showed his triple-threat ability throughout the season. He didn’t put up the triple-double numbers of Kyle Collinsworth, but he had the same type of talent to make an impact in multiple facets of the game.
The season didn’t go the way the Gaels had hoped with a fast start slumping into a slow finish and first round NIT exit, but Carter had a stellar year being named First Team All-WCC. There were points during the season where it looked like the Gaels could do big things, and the senior trio of Carter, Bright, and Brad Waldow was one of the most talented cores the WCC has ever seen.
Carter has a lot of potential to continue his career. He may not be able to continue to put up such lofty rebound numbers at higher levels playing as a 6’2″ guard, but he is a great scorer and shooter which could take him far. Don’t be surprised to see him pop up with a professional team somewhere. Maybe the Gaels legacy of putting guards in the NBA will even get him some looks here in America.
His time at SMC was brief, but Carter joins a long line of talented guards to come through the program. And he’s on his way to continuing that legacy professionally.