Austin Petolillo (@AustinPSports)
PHILADELPHIA– They say home is where the heart is, and for La Salle guard Traci Carter, that proverb rings true.
After choosing to take his basketball talents to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Carter elected to transfer in the middle of his sophomore season in 2016.
On June 6, 2017 Carter decided to transfer to La Salle University and get the opportunity to come back to his hometown and play in front of his family and friends.
“I knew that going to Marquette, if I had to transfer, it would be back home because I knew back home would take care of me because I’m a Philly kid,” Carter said. “I didn’t really play in front of my family as much, but knowing that I have my family here to support me, it’s great.”
Because of NCAA transfer rules, Carter was ruled ineligible to play all of last season. This upcoming season will be the first time he plays in a college basketball game since early December of 2016.
“Whenever you sit out, it takes time so you can learn and you can see the game from a different point of view and different perspective,” Carter said. “In my position, being a point guard, I want to look at it from a coaches perspective.”
Carter began his high school career playing for Roman Catholic alongside notable names such as Shep Garner and Rashaan London.
“Roman was amazing,” Carter said. “That’s when I started to develop more of a discipline because you had to come in dressed everyday, and it really helped me focus because it was an all-boys school, there weren’t any girls so the only thing I could do was go to school and focus on basketball.”
It would be after his sophomore season on Broad & Vine that he chose to transfer to Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ, to play under former Louisville All-American Pervis Ellison and from there would commit to play at Marquette.
In his freshman season with the Golden Eagles, Carter averaged 5.4 ppg and 4.6 apg on 23.9 mpg as Marquette finished with a record of 20-13 (8-10 in the Big East).
During his sophomore season in Milwaukee, Carter had to split the point guard minutes with four-star freshman recruit Markus Howard and redshirt junior Andrew Rowsey. Carter appeared in eight games that season including four starts where he averaged 4.3 ppg and 3.6 apg on 16.3 mpg.
At the conclusion of the 2016-17 season, Carter signed on to attend La Salle when Dr. John Giannini was still the head coach. But this past offseason, the Explorers let go of Giannini and brought on Ashley Howard, someone that Carter has a prior history with.
“I actually had known Coach Ash before he got to La Salle,” Carter said. “He was recruiting me at Villanova, my mentor was like my step father, Donnie Carr, they’re mutual friends so I always knew coach Ash through that and he’s been like my mentor actually from ever since then.”
Carr was named to La Salle’s coaching staff last season though it was formally announced one month after Carter announced he was going to attend La Salle.
Carter is no stranger to Howard’s coaching style after having played in the same conference as Howard’s last gig as an assistant at Villanova.
“He’s bringing in that winning culture from Villanova so of course there will be a lot of similarities,” Carter said. “But just how they play and their style of play, I believe we’re going to try to run a lot of times, four guards and one big which is exactly how they play.”
La Salle will forsure not have a shortage of guards to go to as they have as many as seven guys who can play quality minutes at any of the guard positions. Aside from Carter, graduate student Pookie Powell received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA, juniors Isiah Deas and Saul Phiri both return, sharpshooter Jamir Moultrie returns for his sophomore season, Cheddi Mosely comes in as a graduate transfer from Boston University and David Beatty was initially supposed to redshirt this season after transferring from South Carolina but was granted a waiver from the NCAA allowing him to play this season.
“We’re going to use that to our advantage,” Howard said. “The one thing that we’re doing right now, is we’re developing that chemistry amongst those guys, and it’s valuable to have all these guys that can all make plays, it’s very valuable.”
Alongside being named the starting point guard for the Explorers to start the season, Howard also gave Carter the opportunity to lead the team as one of the captains.
“One of his main things was that he didn’t just want to come in and give it to me,” Carter said. “He wanted me to earn that which I did and it’s led me to become a captain and me becoming an extension of him.”
“Everything that Traci does, for us, as our point guard, he’s completely set the tone in terms of being the guy,” Howard said. “That’s a gym rat, being in the gym, working on his game, showing up for everything, being responsible, and holding his teammates accountable,”
Now almost two years removed from playing in his last competitive collegiate game, Carter is ready to get back on the court and do whatever it takes to lead La Salle to success.
“My goals are just to make the team better in every way I can,” Carter said. “Whether it’s scoring, passing the ball or whether it’s being the best defender out there so in all areas I’m going to do a little bit more in all areas than in my Marquette days.”