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Carter knows the game: Coach of Year gets Jackets back to Jackson

March 17, 2012

Starkville High School boys basketball coach Greg Carter, right, gives instruction to guard Jacolby Mobley last season. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

When there is a great deal of leadership or star power on a team, the coach goes unnoticed and does not get enough recognition.

For Starkville High School's Greg Carter, that is not the case. Carter was honored as Coach of the Year by the Starkville Daily News.

"There are a lot of ways to describe him," SHS senior Gavin Ware said. "He is very intelligent. He knows all types of stuff. He knows every aspect of the (basketball court). He came from Mississippi State so his conditioning workouts are on track."

Coming into the season, Carter had high expectations for his squad. He knew a trip to Jackson was realistic as well as a state championship.

"We had all five starters back from last year so our expectations were to get back to Jackson and compete for a state championship and hopefully win one," Carter said. "We came up short on that end, but i think we had a successful year."

The Yellowjackets won their division and finished second in the Class 5A North Half. They lost to Wayne County in the first round of the state tournament.

Although the season didn't end like Carter wanted it to, he was happy with the success of the season. The Yellowjackets finished the season 26-5.

"We had our ups and downs," Carter said. "The basketball season is a long season. Talking about November to late February, it's a long season. It's hard to play at a high level every game from November to February, but I thought we did a pretty good job of bouncing back when we did slip up along the way."

Carter had a lot of leadership this season. He had seven seniors who made his job easier. He wanted to test that leadership and experience so he put together a tough schedule.

"It is always good to have that senior leadership and that experience," Carter said. "We probably played the toughest schedule we have played since I have been here. I planned that schedule that way because of the experience we had."

Midway through the season the Jackets lost their first two games in a tournament in Columbus. They also lost at home to division foe Yazoo City.

Carter learned about his club in those losses and changed some things up.

"I think we had a really, really good run," Carter said. "We lost the two games in Columbus. We lost to Provine and Ridgeway (Tenn.), then we got back on track and we didn't lose again until Yazoo City. That Yazoo City game was a different game for us. It was a slower tempo, (and) slower paced game. It helped us get use to playing at that slower tempo. By the end of year, we won games playing against teams that slowed it down a lot."

Carter used the strengths of his team throughout the season. He also changed up his team's pace.

Starkville could play an up tempo game and a slow-paced game. Carter used both of these throughout the season.

"We played the up-tempo game," Carter said. "We like the faster-paced game. At the same time, we learned to play at a slower pace. We had never really had a problem scoring until the last game or two, which is kind of ironic because we were shooting the ball really well all year long."

For Ware, this was his last season to play for Carter. He respects Carter and knows everything he did was for a purpose.

"There never was a time when I said 'I don't want to play for him anymore,'" Ware said. "Now maybe (it was tough) in conditioning season because he is going to work the stew out of us. The conditioning workouts get us mentally and physically prepared for the next game."

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