Our memories of Carter at Duke will circle around one play, which fouled him out of the Blue Devils’ Elite EIght matchup with Kansas and cemented the game as one of the best of a crazy tournament. It was probably the wrong call.
Carter averaged just 4.2 fouls per 40 minutes this season, meaning even if he played a full college game we would expect he would not foul out, as he did against Kansas. He also blocked 3.1 shots per 40 minutes, which does make it somewhat odd that, with so much time staring Malik Newman in the face as he ran down the lane, he chose to try and draw a charge rather than contest the shot, especially with four fouls already.
Regardless, Carter stood his ground outside the restricted area and allegedly fouled Newman. Five fouls, knocked out of the biggest game of his career.
Most incredibly, he was too nice to bash the referee after the game.
“The ref made a fantastic call,” Carter told reporters post-game. “We played a hell of a game, we just came up on the short end.” WHAT?! One of the best big man defenders in the country this year made a great play and got punished for it, and his team went on to lose. No way.
The Knicks need a nice young player like Carter who will play the right way and grow in his role. He’d be a great fit next to Porzingis and, with Frank Ntilikina, could lay the foundation for the Knicks to become a defensive juggernaut.