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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Freshman Danny Carter Adapting To Life On and Off The Court

Danny Carter misses his mum’s roasted dinner. Burgers from the cafeterias at Stony Brook University just don’t taste as good. But his mother’s kitchen and a helping of his favorite meal are an ocean and 3,397 miles away.

On Jul. 12, 2008, 19-year-old freshman Danny Carter exchanged his home in Windsor, England, located only a mile from the Queen’s 484,000 square-foot Windsor Castle, for a cramped dorm room on campus.

Offered a scholarship by the men’s basketball program, he is one of eight new players on the roster, recruited to erase memories of last season’s embarrassing 7-win and 23-loss record. Carter is the only European in this year’s recruiting class, and one of three foreigners currently on the roster.

Carter represents the flood of non-American athletes permeating both amateur and professional American basketball.

The number of foreigners in the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the National Basketball Association has been steadily rising for the past few years. A recent NCAA study found that 6.2 percent of Division I athletes in 2007 were foreigners, significantly higher than the 2.4 percent involved eight years prior.

The NBA’s database showed that 76 international players were in the league last season, up from the 44 of two years ago. The commercialization of the American game is fueling this trend, causing countless young hopefuls worldwide to stay up late for NBA games, hoping to fulfill their dreams of playing in the league.

Carter was one of those kids, admiring the San Antonio Spurs and his favorite player, Tim Duncan, from his living room. But basketball didn’t become a priority until later.

“I was really obsessed with football, I mean soccer,” says the 6-foot, 9-inch forward. Attending Windsor Boys High School provided an ample supply of friends for soccer and cricket, and an audience for his sense of humor. As a prank, he hid a teammate’s clothes and towel as he was in the shower, and repeated the process daily for six weeks.

“It was his introduction to the team,” Carter said with a smile. Acts like this one earned him the reputation of a “jester,” according to his girlfriend Ellie Langford. “Danny is the funny one out of his friends,” she said, “He’s constantly making jokes and keeping them all entertained.”

When his mother nudged him towards basketball at 14, the sport quickly became his favorite pastime. By age 17, he started to stand out for more than his large repertoire of jokes, becoming the best player on his team and attracting athletic scouts.

“When not on the court, I try to be a clown,” says Carter, “but when I step on the frontlines, it’s business.” This was displayed in last season’s men’s National Trophy Final between his Reading Rockets and the Worthing Thunder. After being intentionally elbowed in the jaw by an opponent, Carter returned the favor with a head-butt. The act earned him an ejection and a two-game suspension.

“It was a stupid decision,” he said. “I regret doing it but it also made me a better player.”

Despite the incident, many scouts were still interested in Carter. Among them was Stony Brook’s Head Coach Stephen Pikiell.

“I was excited about his energy and versatility, his size, and his passion,” Pikiell said. “He plays with an attitude and a chip on his shoulder.”

After much deliberation, Carter chose Stony Brook due to Coach Pikiell and the school’s proximity to New York City. Langford agreed with the choice. “It’s brilliant that Danny’s moved to America to play basketball, as the standard of play is higher than here in England,” she said.

His new teammates quickly grew accustomed to him. Ironically, many of them believe that Carter has difficulty getting a taste of his own medicine.

“He’s a really funny guy, great to have around the locker room,” said guard Brian Dougher, his closest teammate. “But he has a bit of a short temper. You can’t joke around with him too much.”

Carter disagreed. “I’m very short tempered. I get ticked off by people that say annoying things or ask really obvious questions,” he said with a laugh. “And I usually take jokes well, as long as nothing gets ruined.”

What’s considered funny or not is just one of the new things that Carter is adjusting to. “Sarcasm is used all the time back home, people take things more literally here,” he said.

Basketball is significantly different, too. “Everyone here wants to dribble, whereas everyone in Europe wants to shoot,” he said. But he adds that he is learning and improving with every practice.

Though his major is undecided, Carter hopes to play professionally after college. For now, he will display his combination of European fundamentals and American athleticism in intercollegiate play throughout the season.

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