When DeForest Carter stepped onto a basketball court as a professional player for the first time July 28, he glanced into the stands out of habit. Even though the 22-year-old from the Big Cypress Reservation knew his family wasn’t in attendance, he still looked.
“I can’t lie. That first game I scanned the crowd for my mom (Myra Jumper) and remembered where I was again,” Carter said in a Facebook response to The Seminole Tribune.
After starring for four years at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach – mostly as a creative and quick point guard with boundless energy – Carter and his sneakers landed on Colombian soil in late July for the next venture of his basketball career.
Carter said his thoughts shifted back to his family and the Tribe while he was in South America.
“Everyone from home has shown love and support and I appreciate it all. Reminds me who I am playing for every day,” Carter said.
Carter’s path to Colombia started a few weeks after he signed in early July with a sports agency in San Diego. He inked a deal with a team called UBC Muiscas for a month-long stint in Colombia’s DirecTV League, whose rosters include former college and homeland players. Carter teamed up with his former Embry Riddle big man Cesar Pastrana in UBC Muiscas’s starting lineup.
“I got to play here with a great friend and teammate from college,” said Carter, who fed a good chunk of his all-time Embry Riddle record for assists to Pastrana during their college days.
According to statistics on LatinBasket.com, Carter played 20 minutes in his first pro game and had two points, three assists and three rebounds in an 80-55 loss to Bucaros. The following day Carter scored three points and had two assists, one rebound and one steal in another loss to Bucaros.
“The first couple games were rough because we played the reigning champions and they were a good squad,” Carter said. “But I am learning a lot and will have to change some of my game and mental aspects. They want the American imports to score more and my game is almost a pass-first kind. Don’t get me wrong, I can score but assists have been such a huge part of my success at Embry Riddle, so it is hard to go away from that in a few short weeks.”
Although his team continued to suffer losses, Carter became more acclimated to his new environment, which included adjusting to a 24-second shot clock compared to 35 in college. His top games statistically came Aug. 7 in a 91-72 loss to Astros (13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 6-7 from free-throw line) and July 31 in a 78-51 loss to Aguilas (10 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds).
“The style of play is a lot faster,” he said. “I think at every level it gets a bit faster and the tempo increases because of the 24-second shot clock.”
Carter concluded his duty in Colombia in mid-August and returned to Florida with aspirations of continuing an international career.
“I am hoping this experience will prepare me for a career across the ocean in Europe or Australia,” he said.