The ninth edition of the IlliniBoard.com Summer Series takes a look at Illinois sophomore power forward Warren Carter.
It is very tough for me to write up anything on Warren Carter and what to expect from him that would not be a collection of superfluous words. The only glimpses we were able to see of Warren in real life game situations was during scrub time. We never saw Warren in a true game situation, so we never really saw how the raw athlete played basketball in a pressure situation. You can see pick up games, practices, and mop up duty minutes, but until you actually see a player perform in a real game situation any projection of what they will do is just a shot in the dark. Sure you can see potential, but the realization of potential is what we are looking at here.
All that being said, I like what I have seen from Warren, especially his raw athleticism. In watching various pick up games, scrimmages, and even Warren playing in the final minutes of games well decided, the one thing I know Warren brings to the court is an athletic ability unseen in an Illini uniform in a long time for a man his size. When you combine raw athleticism with little playing time, you can pretty much only use one word in describing that player, potential. Warren Carter just oozes potential.
- The one thing that is obvious about Warren is that he is extremely athletic. He plays with all the characteristics that are typically used to describe an athletic basketball player: speed, quickness, and jumping ability.
EXPECTATIONS FOR NEXT SEASON
It is tough for me to project what Warren will bring to the Fighting Illini on the court next season. The front court already is littered with people that have significant experience on the college level with Roger Powell, James Augustine, and Nick Smith. But after those three players, there are definitely minutes in the Illini rotation that will be up for grabs heading into the season. With practice and hard work, Warren can easily displace Brian Randle and Jack Ingram to take over the role of the fourth Illini big man, but it will not be easy.
- As with almost every player coming into college, Warren Carter still needs to improve his strength. In fact, I think it was his lack of strength that kept him off the court last season. Even with Illinois needing bulk on the inside, Warren was not strong enough to provide Bruce Weber some viable minutes off the bench. Since his time in Champaign, I know Warren has been hitting the weight room to put on the strength he needs, but as of the end of last season he still had a lot of work to do.
The one thing that is huge on Warren's plate this summer: The Big Ten Touring Trip to Europe. Warren will be able to get extra seasoning and practice against high caliber competition in both a practice and game environments. This will help put him one step ahead of fellow sophomore, Brian Randle, who has spent the majority of this summer recovering from injury.
Unfortunately for Warren, right now I do not see him getting significant minutes throughout his sophomore campaign. I just simply think he does not have the strength to battle it out on the inside that Illinois needs when Augustine and Powell are on the bench. The rigors of the Big Ten are difficult to get used to. That being said … if I had to pick one player that will surprise me next season it will be Warren Carter. Since I do not expect much of a significant contribution from him, if he manages to break into the rotation supplanting either Randle or Ingram and maybe taking minutes away from Smith, it will be a huge accomplishment, and show just how far he has come in just one year at Illinois.
I expect Warren's biggest contributions to come during his junior and senior seasons at Illinois. He will be ready to take over for a departing Roger Powell, Nick Smith, and Jack Ingram, and he will become a solid player for Illinois in the pivot.