Carter discusses Illini team, future career in basketball

By Erin Foley

Over the course of 26 games this season, senior forward Warren Carter has averaged 13.2 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. His 30.0 minutes per game are triple what he averaged in his first three seasons with the Illini – 8.8 minutes per game

As Illinois’ leading scorer, he has quieted the critics who thought he couldn’t be more than a role player. Prior to Monday’s practice, Carter talked to the Daily Illini about exceeding expectations, his appearance on the cover of USA Today and the most intimidating places to play in the Big Ten.

Daily Illini: What was your reaction to appearing on the front page of USA Today’s sports section last Wednesday?

Warren Carter: I didn’t really have much reaction; I was getting made fun of by all my teammates. They were just making fun of the picture. It was flattering, though, I couldn’t believe I was on the cover of USA Today; it was kind of overwhelming a little bit.

DI: What way would you describe this season so far for you personally and for the team?

WC: Personally, it’s been a lot of fun at times. It just feels so much different compared to my first two years. But as a team, we definitely had some good times, it’s just been so shaky through all the injuries and everything so it’s been a tough senior year, but I’ve still enjoyed a lot of it, though.

DI: Following the Indiana game, you mentioned that you enjoy playing on the road. What do you like so much about it?

WC: I just like it; it’s a different atmosphere, new gym. You kind of have your back to the wall, and everybody is against you. It’s fun to play in front of a different crowd that doesn’t like you.

DI: Do you think you’ve lived up to the expectations that were set for you at the beginning of the season?

WC: I want to say that I’ve exceeded them, because I didn’t even know. I think I’ve exceeded my own expectations because I didn’t even know if I was going to start this year. I didn’t even know if I was going to come close to averaging double figures; I didn’t know how many minutes I was going to get. As far as individually, it’s been good.

DI: How do you view this Illini team’s identity?

WC: ‘The walking wounded’ because we say that we have so many guys that have been injured. It’s just been a roller coaster; we just have to cross our fingers and hope that everyone stays healthy throughout the rest (of the season).

DI: In your four years at Illinois, where is the best place to play on the road?

WC: Indiana is tough. We’ve only won there once since I’ve been here, I think. Michigan State is always tough … and then probably Indiana.

DI: Many of the games this season, you’ve appeared very aggressive, but others have not been that way. How do you explain that?

WC: I think I should probably expect more of myself. Not really playing that much the first three years, you don’t really know the things that you could do out there, and now that I realize I can be one of the best players out there on the court, I just need to believe in myself and have the confidence to do it.

DI: What are your goals for after graduation?

WC: Start looking forward to my career in basketball after college?

DI: Are you talking about playing overseas?

WC: No, definitely going to look at some of the NBA stuff first and hopefully get into a couple camps and then just see where it goes from there.

DI: What was your reason for picking community health as your major?

WC: I love kids a lot; I think they’re hilarious. I want to maybe own my own Boys and Girls Club for maybe kids who didn’t grow up as good; I always wanted to do that and community health seemed like the way to go to do that.

DI: Name the best piece of advice Coach Bruce Weber has given you?

WC: Stop chilling. He always says I just chill, which I do. He makes me get up, otherwise I would probably just sit at home and chill, like he said.