FRISCO, Texas >>
Anthony Carter is currently in year two as an assistant coach with Sioux Falls of the NBA G League, and the ex-Rainbow Warrior couldn’t be happier.
“The organization is great. They put us in situations where they make everybody welcome and want to work,” said Carter, 42. “We’ve got a great facility, good arena, weight room. It’s just been great, working with great staff, too.”
Nevada Smith is the Sky Force’s head coach and is grateful to have someone on his staff with Carter’s impressive basketball pedigree, which includes 13 NBA seasons.
“AC’s been great,” Smith said. “He relates to the guys, he’s a very good teacher. He brings energy every day. He’s just fun to be around, a really good dude and a very good coach. He works with all the guards. He’s getting them better every day. He’s got a hunger for player development, which is nice.”
Carter, who starred at Hawaii between 1996 and 1998 and was the 1997 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, came to Sioux Falls in 2016 after being an assistant with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. His time with George Karl in Sacramento was a great learning experience, but one filled with few positives.
Sioux Falls is owned by the Miami Heat, with whom Carter played for between 1999 and 2003, so coaching with the Sky Force is something of a homecoming, especially since he really enjoyed his years in South Florida.
“It’s always been a family,” Carter said of the Heat organization. “They always say once you’re in a family, you’re always in it. I’ve been away from it for 9-10 years and they have welcomed me back with open arms. All the same people are still there, so it’s just been great. It’s like I never left.”
This marks his second stint in the G League. Carter was an assistant with Austin between 2013 and 2015. Back then, the circuit was known as the NBA Development or D League. But other than the name change, he doesn’t notice any major differences between the D League and G League.
“It’s still kind of the same — same rules, same travel, just a revolving door or different people coming in and out and some of the same people coming in and out, but it really hasn’t changed,” he said.
Carter is currently trying to determine whether he wants to one day be a head coach or continue being an assistant, where he can be more hands-on in developing players.
“I like the development side and not having to deal with so much on my plate (as a head coach). I think I can get more done being in player development or (as) an assistant coach because I have more time to be on the court and that’s my passion. As a head coach, I’d have to sit behind a desk a lot more. I still like to be hands-on,” he said.
Since leaving UH in 1998, Carter has played for or coached in 11 different locales. But no matter where he’s been based, his ties to his alma mater have remained close, and through his A.C. Carter Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to worthy student-athletes to follow his path at UH, he continues to give back.
“Still helping guys get through college,” Carter said. “Somebody helped me get through it and every now and then, somebody will send me a letter saying thank you for letting me use the scholarship. That’s great, to be able to still continue to get letters from players that I helped.”
Stephen Hunt is a freelance writer based in Frisco, Texas.