July 2, 2012
By Matt Winkeljohn
“Summer” and “vacation” are two words that don’t go together for Robert Carter, at least not this summer.
He enrolled at Georgia Tech last week, and in addition to taking two classes this term he’s working several days a week with men’s basketball coach Brian Gregory and his staff.
Then, of course, strength and conditioning coach Mike Bewley has serious say in what all basketball players are doing. Bewley doesn’t say, “boat drinks for everyone” – ever.
Soon after the first-team Class AAAAA All-State player from Shiloh High graduated, he went out to Colorado Springs as one of 23 young men trying out for the USA 18 & Under Team. There, earnest work began and altitude didn’t make it easier.
“I learned how much shape you have to be in . . . a lot of guys got winded,” said the 6-foot-8, 240-pound post player. “I want to get better on the court . . . and my other thing is to get my body ready to compete at the highest level by gaining more muscle and getting stronger.
“When the big guys in the ACC hit you, you want to be able to finish through contact.”
Time has been spent working finer points as well. Team USA coach Billy Donovan of Florida, Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Shaka Smart of VCU were running the show out west, and although Carter wasn’t kept for the 12-man roster, he gained from the experience.
“It was great competition, and I gained more knowledge of the game,” he said. “I learned more about basketball, how to take angles, how to get open, how to set better screens.”
Carter’s main focus, though, has been on real work.
“I want to get stronger everywhere. I got by before off just knowledge of basketball and playing my game,” he said. “Now, it’s more physical conditioning. I already feel like I’m getting stronger. Our thing is to get us back to the top of the ACC.”