Navy men’s basketball senior John Carter Jr. recently spoke with PressBox growing up in a competitive environment with his siblings, the advice he’d give to younger players and more. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Carter averaged 10.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game last year.
PressBox: How did you become interested in basketball?
John Carter Jr.: Obviously it started very young. My dad would just introduce all sports to me. At the age of 5, really, that’s when I started playing.
PB: Were you competitive with your siblings?
JC: I have a sister who plays basketball at West Florida University. She’s a freshman. … I think it was more competitive on her side — even my little brother, who played growing up and plays football now. They were more competitive toward me. For me, I was always the better one, so I was always making them better, but it was cool seeing them kind of grow and get better because of it.
PB: Why did you choose to come to Navy?
JC: It was to start something new in my family [with] the military, to have the opportunity to grow myself as a person at a different institution than most and the opportunity to lead individuals, and that’s what I’ll be doing when I become an officer.
PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Navy?
JC: On the basketball side of things, beating Army my freshman year [in 2018-19] was pretty exciting. That was probably one of my best games individually [26 points], so that’s probably why that is a memory of mine. Outside of basketball, I would say either the Army-Navy [football] game two years ago or the Navy-Air Force game two years ago. Those were really exciting.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about Navy and Annapolis?
JC: Definitely the people that you meet every day, the people that you continue to see every day. Growing those relationships, that’s what keeps you going. Annapolis in general, I think the people just are very supportive of Midshipmen. We can take that for granted sometimes, but they’re very supportive and it’s definitely appreciated.
PB: Who is your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
JC: My best friend is definitely Greg Summers. He’s been my best friend since we went to the Naval Academy Prep School about five years ago. I don’t think it’s really one story, I think it’s just an accumulation of times when no matter good or bad, he’s always there. We’ve had many talks when both of us have kind of hit rock bottom, it seems like. We’re the ones that we go to for each other. I think that just speaks for itself.
PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your college career?
JC: I definitely looked up to Steph Curry — similar body type, mid-major, skill set almost. I don’t shoot as well as he does, but I could see myself doing that. I still look up to him now. He’s someone I can see myself through.
PB: Was there an upperclassman when you first got to Navy who you looked up to?
JC: He was my point guard my freshman year — Hassan Abdullah. The way he just carried himself and the way he approached every day was very professional. Whether he had a good day, bad day, he always came in with energy to get better. I’ve always thought that was me ever since just because not every day is going to be great, but you’ve got to come in and work no matter what.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
JC: Current freshmen now, I would say to just keep your head down and work. As cliché as that is, just go to work every time. As freshmen, a lot of them come in thinking they’re going to play right away and all that good stuff. Percentages show that that’s probably not going to happen most of the time. If you just come in, stay humble, work hard, the work never lies. It’ll pay off later in your years. Not all of us are five-stars where we can play freshman year. Most of us are out here trying to make it work, so you’ve just got to stay the course and trust the process. In terms of high schoolers being recruited and coming in, I think definitely enjoy your situation now. When you do pick your school, pick the place where you best fit and not the place that looks the best. Definitely just go somewhere where you feel welcome, feel comfortable, feel like you are in the best situation to not only play but also grow as a person. I think that’s always important.
PB: What are your goals for after basketball, whenever it ends?
JC: My school, the nature of it kind of gets you a job for you as an officer. My goal upon graduation is to become a Marine Corps Officer and just go out there and lead Marines and lead people, help the greatest fighting force of this world.
PB: Have you service selected anything yet?
JC: We put in our preferences but we won’t know anything until November. I put Marine Corps, though. … The thing about the Marine Corps that really, really tugged on me was their culture and what they value and what they value most is their people. I’ve always been one to value people and relationships. It really hit home when I was in those environments over the summer and seeing how they work every day. It just felt like it was more my speed and I could just be myself and be my best.
Photo Credit: Phil Hoffmann/Navy Athletics
Originally published Oct. 20, 2021