Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, Dec. 6, 2010 | 2 a.m.
Ben Carter received a bounce pass from a teammate in transition during a practice drill last week, took one dribble and elevated for a dunk.
He made the difficult play look like another routine basket.
On the next possession, the Bishop Gorman High junior basketball player found himself in the same position. This time, however, the 6-foot-7 forward pulled up and drained a short jump shot. Another easy two points.
The scenario happened during a 30-second span, giving a brief sample of one of the Las Vegas Valley’s most coveted college prospects. Carter, who is still 11 months away from being able to sign with a college, has scholarship offers from nine schools.
He’s one of seven on the Sun’s Super Seven preseason team, a who’s who of Southern Nevada’s top high school boys’ basketball players. Including Carter, four of the Super Seven play for two-time defending state champion Gorman.
Carter isn’t your typical top recruit.
He received a limited amount of playing time last year, often finding himself frustrated at the end of the Gaels’ bench, and for some games, not getting a chance to play. When he did play, he averaged just four points and two rebounds per game.
“Everyone kept telling me that my time would come and to be patient,” Carter said. “But it was still tough sitting and waiting. I wanted to be out there helping the team.”
Carter’s rise from reserve to star player can be credited to his effort in the offseason. He was constantly in the gym working on his skills and strength, played a rigorous schedule with his summer team and joined the Gaels’ volleyball squad to help his jumping ability. Additionally, he grew more than an inch and added about 15 pounds of bulk to his lanky 205-pound frame.
A middle blocker in volleyball, Carter said the leg strength and jumping repetition from three months on the court helps make those basketball dunks more routine. He led the volleyball team in blocks.
“It definitely helped (my jumping). It’s way easier to dunk now,” Carter said.
Carter’s recruiting stock began skyrocketing in the summer while playing for the Las Vegas Lakers AAU team, which is coached by his father, Mike Carter.
Carter has been offered scholarships by BYU, New Mexico, UNR, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Cal-State Irvine, Portland and St. Louis. He is being actively recruited by UNLV, USC, UCLA and Arizona State.
“He started working out last April and hasn’t stopped since then,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “He worked out with us and worked out with his dad. He’s just put in the time to get bigger and better.”
Gorman’s four players on the Super Seven team — Carter, forward Rosco Allen, shooting guard Shabazz Muhammad and post player Ronnie Stanley — have major Division I offers. Muhammad is one of the top recruits nationally for the class of 2012, while Stanley is a highly sought after offensive lineman in football.
They bring athleticism, experience and an expectation of winning to a Gorman team that is widely favored to win a third consecutive state championship. They could have had a bigger role last winter.
Last year, when Gorman’s starting lineup was dominated by seniors, the foursome of then-sophomores often won practice scrimmages between the first and second teams.
“I remembering saying to myself, ‘Uh-oh, what do I do now?’ ” Rice said after Carter and a group of underclassman beat the starters in practice scrimmages. “I had to meet with those (reserves) a lot and tell them (their lack of playing time) was nothing they were doing wrong.”
Quick look at the Sun’s Super Seven
Rosco Allen, Bishop Gorman
The 6-foot-7, 205-pound Allen, who is a four-star recruit out of five stars by Rivals.com, is rated by the site as the nation’s fourth-ranked small forward for the class of 2012. He has double-digit scholarship offers, including ones from UNLV, Arizona and Oregon.
Ben Carter, Bishop Gorman
Carter has transformed into one of the city’s top college prospects, going from talented and unproven to heavily recruited.
Aaseem Dixon, Centennial
The 6-foot senior guard averaged 14 points and five assists last year and earned respect in local basketball circles with solid performances during spring and summer leagues.
Shabazz Muhammad, Bishop Gorman
Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Muhammad as the nation’s third overall prospect for the class of 2012 and the No. 1 rated shooting guard. He has 16 scholarship offers, from the likes of Kansas and North Carolina. He averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds per game last year.
Viko Noma’aea, Sierra Vista
Noma’aea, a senior point guard, plays much taller than his 6-foot frame, averaging 28 points, five rebounds and five assists per game last year.
Ronnie Stanley, Bishop Gorman
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound junior, who stars on the football team and is a top offensive line recruit, is also a valuable part of the basketball team and arguably the top post player in town. His 14 points off the bench in the state semifinals last year helped Gorman avoid being upset by Bishop Manogue.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Michael Thompson signed with Boise State in November. He averaged 19 points, five assists and six rebounds per game last year as a junior to lead Canyon Springs to the Sunrise Regional title.