Darius Carter, a forward from Akron, Ohio will be taking his talents to Wichita State this upcoming season.
Carter has accomplished much last season: he led the team in points per game, he was a major factor in the team’s NJCAA Final Four appearance, he was named an all-tournament team selection along with teammate Deshawn Delaney, and Carter was even crowned a NJCAA All-American. Carter chose the Shockers at a good time, just coming off a tournament run and a Final Four appearance.
“Wichita State is known for using JUCO players. I wanted to be at a program that utilized JUCO athletes. Carl Hall is graduating, so I’ll be aiming to replace him,” Carter said.
Greg Marshall, head coach for the Shockers, contacted Carter early in the season to start the recruiting process.
“We’re both really excited about me heading out there. He’s a really good coach. Reminds me of coach [Todd] Franklin in some ways,” Carter said.
The Blazers held a practice at the home of the Shockers, Charles Koch Arena, a venue that seats over 10,000 spectators. The team practices for the NJCAA tournament wasn’t an “official” visit for Carter, but seeing the facilities on campus only made his decision easier.
Carter has expressed exuberance about being a Shocker; however, he hasn’t stopped short of crediting coach Franklin for preparing him for the next step.
“Todd Franklin is a rough coach to play for. Having a coach come down on me like that is motivating. I think that experience at VU will help me play in the Missouri Valley Conference,” Carter said.
Coach Franklin hasn’t been the only driving force for Carter. He also has strong ties with Lebron James. Carter met James through his cousin, who just so happened to eventually be his business manager.
“My family and I knew him since I was just a young kid. He’s part of the family to us,” Carter said.
Carter may have learned a few techniques watching and playing with James through his childhood.
“I’ve played some pickup games with him growing up. He was obviously older than me as well; I never stood a chance against him,” Carter said.
Carter’s relationship with James has continued to today. He even spent time in James’ mansion in Miami over the summer. “I came down to Miami to work out with him. I also spent time in his house, the place is great, words can’t even describe how nice it is,” Carter expressed.
Carter isn’t the only Blazer signing a letter of intent. Michael Bradley will play for the Samford Bulldogs, a squad in Birmingham, Ala., Jeremiah Williams will be a Canisius Golden Griffin in Buffalo, N.Y., and Damarius Smith will be on the Austin Peay State Governors squad in Clarksville, Tenn. Additional VU signees are expected in the near future.
“Our sophomores have left some big expectations for our freshmen. They left the program better than how they had found it,” Franklin said. “I love them all, never have been ashamed of it, and never will be ashamed.”