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One-On-One with Coach Carter

By Matt Dykstra | January 10, 2017

After a 13-year NBA career, Anthony Carter has now made the transition into coaching. His career began in Miami, as he played for the HEAT from 1999 to 2003. Now, in a way, he has returned to the Miami HEAT organization as an Assistant Coach for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

During his playing days, Carter played for six different NBA franchises, including the Miami HEAT, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, and Toronto Raptors. He has appeared in 623 regular season games (181 starts) and has career NBA averages of 4.8 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game.

Carter has also appeared in 39 NBA playoff games (5 starts) between the HEAT, Nuggets, and Knicks. He finished his career with playoff averages of 4.4 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game.

However, despite a lengthy career, it wasn’t always easy. After going undrafted in the 1998 NBA Draft, Carter began his playing career in the CBA. He spent one season with the Yakima Sun Kings, appearing in 48 games (12 starts) and averaging 11.6 points, 4.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds. Carter shined in the playoffs, averaging 15.0 points, 6.0 assists and 3.2 rebounds in five games, but Yakima dropped the first-round series 3 games to 2 to the Quad City Thunder.

Coach Carter has experienced everything that his players this year have been going through. He’s been in the CBA, which was at that time quite similar to the NBA Development League he is now coaching in. He knows what it’s like to work hard enough to earn a spot on an NBA roster, and not only earn a spot, but stay at the sport’s highest level for 13 seasons. All of these things have given him an edge in relating to his players, and knowing what they need to improve on to make it in the NBA.

We had the chance to catch up with Coach Carter at practice this week to talk about how his playing career has helped him as a coach thus far, and how he’s meshing with this year’s Skyforce coaching staff and the players they’re coaching.

Here’s what he had to say:

Describe your NBA playing career, and how those years of experience have helped you so far in your young coaching career.

“I was undrafted in 1998, and had to sit out a year, so in 1999 I came up with the Miami HEAT summer league team and they signed me to a one-year contract. First I ended up playing in the CBA for a year, so I can relate to a lot of these guys that are playing in the D-League. Back in the day, it was the CBA. They can relate to me and kind of follow the path that I went on as far as trying to make it to the NBA. I ended up having a 13-year career, after being an undrafted guy.”

Did you know Head Coach Nevada Smith or fellow assistant Kasib Powell at all before you joined the Skyforce coaching staff, or are those relationships something you’ve been developing just this season?

“Kasib and I were in Minnesota together, so I already knew Kasib. Coach Nevada and I just met in Miami this year, and we hit it off right when we met each other. I knew I was going to like [Coach Smith] the first day we started talking. He seemed like he was a cool guy, and we just hit it off and we have a good coaching staff.”

Describe this years’ team, and how you’ve been able to relate and work with the players to this point. How has this year gone, and where are we at as a team from your perspective?

“I think we have a lot of good players. You know, we have to work with them on their personalities and their body language, and figure out what guys can take as far as getting on them and not getting on them…keeping them engaged and stuff like that. I’m learning a lot from these guys. I think we have a good team overall. We have good guys. They’re trying to do everything we say. They work hard. They actually get along with each other, and you don’t find that too often. I’m learning what buttons to push and what not to push, how to talk to certain guys and it’s been great.”

This past weekend, Sioux Falls tied the NBA Development League record for the longest home winning streak in league history, winning their 20th game in a row extending back to February 19th, 2016. You’ve not been here too long, but describe what you’ve experienced while coaching here in Sioux Falls, and what you think gives the Skyforce that type of home-court advantage.

“I think it starts with the fan base and the ownership. You know, they do a good job as far as getting out there and promoting us. I see commercials and stuff saying ‘Sioux Falls Skyforce this and that’. The fans do a great job. You know, even if it’s cold outside or snowing they still come and support and I think that’s the biggest key. When you got a fan base, and the fans like to see you play, and we’re putting a good product out there on the court…the guys are playing hard and fans like to see that stuff. I’m just looking forward to our next game, I think we play Erie, and hopefully we can break the record and keep this thing going.”