Before He Joined the Daily News . . .
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On Sept. 16, 2013, it was announced that Aaron Carter, a former basketball star at Penn Charter ('98) and Bloomsburg, was about become the new beat writer for high school sports at the
PC GUARD SHOWS HE HAS A BIT OF `MAD DOG' IN HIM
by Ted Silary, Daily News Sports Writer
The leading career scorer in Inter-Ac League basketball history made a quick burst into the lane to begin the game and launched a jumper.
The next sound everyone heard was not the pffft of the net or even the clang of the rim.
It was the thwack of flesh meeting ball, as in a blocked shot.
``If you can't get excited about playing him,'' Aaron Carter said later, ``you're not alive. ''
Him is Episcopal Academy guard John Phillips.
In a marvelous career that has roughly one month remaining, Phillips has banged home 1,807 points. But only 10 came last night and the reason was mostly Aaron Carter.
Carter, a 6-1, 190-pound senior, is a wing guard for Penn Charter School. More than ever, he's displaying the brand of intensity that helped his father, Fred, the former Sixers coach, earn the nickname ``Mad Dog'' during his NBA playing career.
Carter was outstanding from a playing standpoint as well as a leadership standpoint as visiting Penn Charter muffled Episcopal, 57-45, in an Inter-Ac game.
Carter shot 9-for-19 from the floor (2-for-5 on three-pointers) and 5-for-6 from the line for 25 points. He also grabbed six rebounds, made three steals and recorded two early blocked shots on Phillips when the Quakers were playing man-to-man.
Was it a coincidence that Phillips went on to finish 2-for-20 from the floor, including 0-for-8 on three-pointers?
Those who watched would likely vote no. Carter played with passion throughout the game and offered unceasing encouragement to his teammates.
``Back when we were younger, John got all the hype and no one knew about me,'' Carter said. ``I used that for motivation. Even though we compete hard, there's a good level of respect for each other's game. ''
Earlier in his career, Carter spent time at positions (point guard, small forward) that proved to be bad fits. But he has become an effective wing guard mostly because he has developed a jump shot and has learned to control his urge to lower his head and barrel through everyone. Also, his strength enables him to guard taller people.
``In ninth and 10th grade, all I did was go to the basket,'' Carter said. ``Now I have more of a pull-up look to my game.
``The important thing for me has been maturity. I used to do everything fast, 100 mph. Now I can slow things down and see what needs to be done. ''
Carter maintains a 2.9 grade-point average and has scored 1,000 on the Scholastic Assessment Test. He is drawing interest from Bucknell, Canisius, Rider and Millersville, among others. He is trying to generate interest, meanwhile, from San Jose State.
``I have an older brother, Chris, living in out there,'' Carter said. ``When I went to visit him, I fell in love with California. I've been writing letters back and forth with San Jose's coaches. Last week they told me to send a tape. I'm waiting to hear back from them. ''
Out of coaching now, Fred Carter works as a commentator for ESPN2's ``NBA 2Nite.''
``When my dad took that job - with ESPN being in Connecticut - I thought we might have to move,'' Aaron said. ``But he said he'd go back and forth. He has to be up there Thursday to Saturday. He makes it to our Tuesday games.
``It's really helpful when he's around. Any time I'm having trouble with my shooting, he gives me some hints. Whether I'm not jumping high enough, or not getting enough arc, or I'm using too much hand. He makes little comments. He never yells, though. He never takes it to the point of being unbearable. Whatever he says, I know he means well. ''
Fred would have enjoyed watching Aaron last night.
``I love playing,'' Aaron said. ``The emotion just flows from that.
``I've tried to do that in the past, but I think I'm doing it more than ever this year. There's more of a finality because this is my senior year. I should be intense every game. There's no excuse not to be. I still have lapses from time to time. I'm working on that. ''
He smiled and added, ``My dad says the No. 1 thing is to go out and have fun. But he also says, `After the game, if you're not dead tired, you didn't do enough. ' ''
Aside from Carter, PC received a strong effort from sophomore point guard Brett Storm (19 points, nine rebounds, five assists). Also, junior forward Tom Pomrink notched seven rebounds and two blocks. For Episcopal, guard Fran Sutter hit five threes for 15 points.
In college, Carter intends to major in biology with designs on becoming a veterinarian. But deep down . . .
``I want a job in basketball,'' he said. ``Refereeing, coaching, something. As long as I'm around the game, I'll be fine.''