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Carter, Farragut-area ex-Vol hoopster, looks back


Myron Carter was Tennessee basketball’s walk-on success story of the early-to-mid-1980s.

This 45-year-old Farragut-area businessman, a Nashville native, caught the eye of then Vol head coach Don DeVoe in 1981 at the TSSAA Class A State Tournament.


Helping his Goodpasture team pull a huge upset against top-ranked Bolton in the state quarterfinals, Carter’s last-second heroics helped him eventually earn All-state tourney honors.

“[DeVoe] took notes, so when my senior year was up I happened to contact DeVoe about the possibility of walking on ... he already had a place for me at Gibbs Hall to come on up here,” Carter said.

“To have a goal of starting was probably a bit of a stretch.”

However, Carter, a guard, would earn a scholarship by his sophomore year (1982-83) when UT earned its fifth straight NCAA Tournament bid, then become a part-time starter his senior season (1984-85).

“In my junior year I started playing more often,” Carter said. “I started quite a few games my senior year — especially, I’d say, toward the latter half of the season — as a point guard, actually depending on how the rotation was in the offense. I could be a point or wing player as the offense went back then.

“Tony White [Sr.] and I would sort of swap out from that standpoint,” Carter added about his working relationship with what would become an All-SEC guard. Tony’s son, Tony White Jr., is a sophomore guard at College of Charleston after an All-state career at Bearden High School (Class of 2006).

“At that time Tony [Sr] came off the bench better than starting.”

Carter’s strengths? “I guess [DeVoe] liked the way I got [the offense] set up,” Carter said. “Try to get the ball to the guys who were shooting outside. Basically taking care of the ball and getting everybody into the offense.

“The way we had it structured, we had several good shooting guards — Michael Brooks being one.”

The former Vol guard said he averaged “about three to four points” per game, “and probably somewhere in that ballpark for assists.”

Memorable games? “I think one that comes to mind was probably the Michigan game,” Carter said about a Vol victory during the 1984-85 season. “As I recall, that was one that probably sort of pushed me into the starting rotation.”

With White in foul trouble in that Michigan game, “I scored 10 points in that game, had some memorable shots at critical times,” Carter said. “If I remember, Michigan was [ranked] in the top 10. ... They had a lot of talent.”

As for home turf, “Playing in Stokely [Athletics Center] carries a lot of memories from that standpoint — beating Kentucky every time they came to Knoxville and Stokely,” Carter said.

“My junior and senior year getting to play in those games and being a part of that was special. With Kentucky, with the so-called talent that they always brought in, we always managed to get the best of ’em here in Knoxville.”

Carter remembers “an unusual game down at L-S-U” in 1982 that ended with Tennessee’s last-second tip-in for victory, courtesy of UT center Dan Federman — aided by some ironic “home-cooking.”

“LSU’s time-keeper didn’t start the clock on time, and we go the benefit of a couple of extra seconds that were probably questionable,” Carter said. “I can always remember coach DeVoe, who is always a quick thinker, getting everybody to head to the locker room while the referees debated how to handle this.

“I never will forget, he went to a security guard and asked him, ‘Where’s a back door out of here?’ ... He went to the locker room, told everybody to grab their bags and their gear — don’t change — and run to the bus.”

With the players still in uniform on the bus heading to the Baton Rouge airport, “The bus driver was still listening to the game on the radio in the bus, and I can remember ... we’re pulling away from the arena and we hear LSU’s announcer say ‘Tennessee’s in the locker room waiting to see if they’re going to be called out to finish the last seven seconds again.’

“If you’re not there you can’t replay it,” Carter added while laughing. “That got under Dale Brown’s skin for sure [LSU head coach].”

Remembering individual Vol talent, “Early on I, of course, remember Dale Ellis, the recognition he received from being an All-American and just what a great player he was,” Carter said. “Dale was very personable, he was very quiet and [kept] a lot to himself.

“Probably the clown at that time was a gentleman named Gary Carter,” the Farragut resident said about the former All-SEC guard (1978-82). “Great ballplayer, had just a ton of talent and energy. But also had a good sense of humor and had to be careful playing practical jokes.”

DeVoe as a coach? “Don was just a very good Xs and Os coach,” Carter said. “Just a mastermind of the game at that time. Just knew how to put the right people at the right place. ... If he had a lead at the end of a game, coach DeVoe was not going to lose it.”

In addition to praising Bruce Pearl for his success coaching Tennessee to an outright SEC title and No. 1 national ranking this season, Carter also credited Pearl for reaching out to past Vols.

“A lot of former players, I would think, felt like they got lost in the shuffle and really did not, probably, feel compelled to come back to campus,” Carter said. “But Bruce has extended out to many of the players. ... It’s been a real joy to see some of the former players.”

During a special ceremony dedicating Thompson-Boiling Arena earlier this season, Carter said, “Some of the players there I hadn’t seen in 20 years, Anthony Richardson, Dyron Nix, were there. It was great to see them.”

Among those Carter said he’s stays in touch with include Federman. “Dan is back in Ohio [a Cincinnati native] ... he’s been back down here several times in the past year.”

Carter teams up with DeVoe and a handful of former Vols to run an annual week-long hoops camp at Christian Academy of Knoxville. This year’s camp is July 7-11.

President of Rome-Eddleman, a manufacture’s representative of commercial air-conditioning off Cogdill Road near Lovell Road, Carter and wife, Robin, have two children: Leah, 6, and Luke, 3.

 

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