Wichita State senior Darius Carter played four games and enjoyed almost everything about experiencing new cultures during his tour of Estonia and Latvia with Athletes In Action.
His long flights went smoothly. The fans treated the AIA team well. He bonded with Kansas State teammates Justin Edwards and Brandon Bolden. He liked getting a taste of the officiating in Europe, in case he returns as a pro. The food tasted fine, except for breakfast.
“They had beans for breakfast,” Carter said. “That was kind of odd to me. It wasn’t good. I ate a lot of oatmeal.”
Carter traveled a lot this summer as he prepared for a larger role with the Shockers. He is WSU’s lone returning big man and the Shockers need him to be a threat to score and rebound double digits. In June, he went to the Nike Skills Academy for big men in New Jersey. In August, he averaged 12.8 points, scoring 10, 10, 15 and 16 points, for AIA. He averaged 6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. He made 16 of 37 shots and 19 of 27 foul shots.
“He did a really good job, probably one of our most consistent players,” said AIA coach Mike Rohn, the former WSU assistant now at Colorado. “He was in really good shape when he came to camp and he was ready to go. He's a really smart player, and that was really nice to see. He had a good understanding of how to play.”
AIA went 3-1 on the trip, ending with a 108-99 win over a Latvian pro team on Wednesday.
“We played a couple of national teams, and they were pretty good, bigger, stronger guys,” Carter said. “You could tell they had played together for awhile and it was good to play against them and see where they were at.”
Carter, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds as a junior, his first season at WSU. He entered the summer knowing he needed to play with more confidence,get in better shape and expand his shooting range.
“I’m going to be a different person; I’d rather than show it than talk about it,” he said. “Definitely more confident, after playing against those guys in the camp and then going over there and playing against some of the pro guys and seeing what level my game is at. I’ve been working on (jump shots) a whole lot this summer.”