Carter back from Tour

By Erik Hall

Illinois basketball player Warren Carter returned to campus Tuesday night from his ten-day trip through France and Italy as a member of the Big Ten Foreign Tour Team.

“It was a lot of fun,” Carter said. “The guys were real nice and the coaches were good. It was overall a good trip.”

Carter started for the team that included representatives from each of the Big Ten schools. Penn State assistant coach Kurt Kanaskie led the Big Ten squad in its five games. After winning its first three games, the team lost its last two by a combined eight points.

Kanaskie said he was impressed by Carter’s rebounding and overall skill.

“I really liked the way Warren played,” Kanaskie said. “He was very active. He was really good at getting to the boards. I was impressed with his ability and listening skills and work ethic.”

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Carter averaged 9.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

“I was one of the starters and I was the best big guy on the team,” Carter said. “Just getting over there to play a lot was a lot of fun.”

During the 2003-2004 season, Carter’s minutes came sparingly. Carter played in only 17 of Illinois’ 33 games.

“Before I went, I said that confidence goes a long way and it helped to know that,” Carter said. “At times here, you feel like you’re not as good as you used to be. But it’s good just knowing that you can still go out there and play and that everything is fine.”

Carter’s best game came when he scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds when the team defeated the Marseille-Fos Basketball Club 103-68 in Marseille, France.

The team also made trips to Nice, France; Milan and Venice.

“I never thought I would have a chance to go overseas,” Carter said. “Going over there was a lot of fun. Venice was beautiful. Milan was beutiful and Nice was even nicer.”

Illinois head basketball coach Bruce Weber said it was a great honor for Carter to be chosen to play.

“I think you don’t really realize or maybe you don’t appreciate it totally that, ‘Hey, I’m in another country playing basketball and representing our conference and our country’ when you go over there,” Weber said.

The foreign tour team brought together a representation of the Big Ten’s talented young players in 2003-2004, including Indiana guard Marshall Strickland, Purdue guard Brandon McKnight and Northwestern forward Davor Duvancic. Carter said the young team learned from the Europeans’ different style.

“They play old man basketball,” Carter said. “You learn a lot of things from them like little shot fakes will also work well too.”

Kanaskie said Carter flourished and impressed the coaching staff.

“I was impressed with how he played and wish him the best of luck this season – except when they play Penn State,” Kanaskie joked.

Carter enjoyed the experience too.

“It was a lot of fun and a very good learning experience,” Carter said. “I learned athleticism goes a long way.”