KANSAS CITY, Mo.-The Big 12 is a conference full of some of the nation’s premiere point guards: Monte Morris, Frank Mason III, Jawun Evans and Manu Lecomte to name a few.
One name sometimes overlooked on that list is West Virginia University’s Jevon Carter.
Early in the season, Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins noted on numerous occasions that he saw graphics for the top five guards in the conference but Carter was never one.
“I kept watching game film and you keep seeing our expert analysts put up their five top point guards and our guy is never in there,” he said. “If Jevon is not one of the top five in any league in America, I mean it’s one heck of a league.”
And Huggins is correct. The conference is one of the best basketball conferences in the nation and it, hands down, has the best point guards, including Carter.
The 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior leads WVU in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per contest. He shoots 44.9 percent from the field, 36.1 percent from beyond the arc and is the Mountaineers’ best player at the charity stripe, swishing 76.8 percent of his free throws.
During the last seven games, he has scored 124 points and has grabbed 53 boards, while shooting 50 percent or better in five of those seven games.
Also, Carter has dished out 123 assists this season. On Feb. 27 against Baylor, he became the 51st 1,000-point scorer in school history.
“I think other than one game he’s been terrific and that happens,” Huggins said. “He wants the ball. We got a lot of confidence in him having the ball. We have a lot of confidence in him making free throws.”
However, the area of his game that sets the Maywood, Illinois native apart from the rest of the conference’s point guards is his defense.
And that is something that he prides himself in.
“We don’t have a lot of pride in playing defense, not what you would think,” Huggins said.” Now, JC does. Obviously that’s what separates him from everybody else. He’s always taken pride in being able to guard people. He’s been that way since his freshman year. ”
On Sunday, the league coaches recognized Carter by naming him the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.
“Hard work pays off,” he said. “That’s what I pride myself on, being a hard worker.”
Carter is second on the team in rebounds (5.0), behind senior forward Nathan Adrian. He is seventh in the country in steals with 85.
When the Proviso East High School alum came to the Mountain State three years ago, it was when WVU was emerging as Press Virginia and Carter saw an opportunity to be conspicuous.
“I just noticed if I was going to have a chance at playing basketball it was going to be on the defensive end,” he said. “Like I said earlier when somebody asked me, there are scorer’s all over the world but not too many people take pride in their defense. Defense is going to help me stand out.”
Despite his success, Carter remains grounded and knows without his teammates he wouldn’t be the athlete he is.
“I just play hard,” he said. “Just playing hard. I just find myself around the ball all the time. It’s nothing I could do without my teammates. If I was just out there playing hard by myself, it wouldn’t really show but I got four other guys on the court with me at all times playing just as hard if not harder than I am. So it’s not just about me. It’s about those guys as well.”