Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, October 30, 1999

N B A _ B A S K E T B A L L

Carter sticks
with Heat

The former UH star is told
by coach Pat Riley that he will
back up Tim Hardaway

By Pat Bigold


Anthony Carter finally is able to let out a sigh of relief this weekend.

The former Hawaii backcourt star now knows he will be the backup point guard to the Miami Heat's Tim Hardaway to start the NBA season.

"But I still can't relax," said Carter, who learned of his role in a meeting with Miami head coach Pat Riley yesterday morning.

"I still have to prove myself and that's basically what I'm going to do," Carter said.

The Heat will open their defense of the Atlantic Division title on Tuesday, when they host the Detroit Pistons.

Carter will make $385,000 under the terms of his free-agent rookie contract.

That's more than $83,000 above the NBA rookie minimum of $301,875.

Carter said yesterday he was keeping the news a surprise for his grandmother, the woman who raised him in his home state of Georgia.

"I'm gonna pay off her house so she don't have to work anymore," said Carter.

"She's a housekeeper at a hotel. That's the first I want to do. I'm not worried about giving myself nothing. I'll take care of her."

Carter said he can't wait until he's able to play in front of his grandmother in Atlanta on Nov. 23.

Carter said Riley called in all of the rookies individually yesterday.

"We had a little talk and he told me where I stood and asked me where I thought I stood," said Carter.

He levelled with Riley, admitting that even though he had a good summer and played well in the first few exhibition games, he had finished the exhibition season on a shaky note.

Carter committed a bundle of turnovers in his last four games, making his selection ahead of veteran Rex Walters anything but a cinch. Walters is expected to stay with the team as the third point guard. But a Heat spokesman said the club won't make the team roster official until Monday.

Asked what Riley told him he expects of him the backup point guard role, Carter said the reply was simple.

"He said get up into our offense and just make it up into our sets. He said that's the only thing I have to do because everything else is fine. My defense is fine. He said I just have to knock down the 15-20-footer jump shot."

Carter is the latest product of the Rainbows basketball program to land a backup job with a NBA team since Trevor Ruffin signed as a shooting guard with the Phoenix Suns in 1993-94. Ruffin is no longer in the NBA.

Riley Wallace, who coached Ruffin, and guided Carter through back-to-back 21-win Rainbow seasons in 1996-97 and 1997-98, said he wasn't surprised at the news.

"When you put him (Carter) in a game in a situation with your players, he makes things happen," said Wallace. "He makes players happy. He makes them play hard. That's his true value."

But Wallace said Carter will have to have patience on this team.

"He's going to have get a different mentality because his minutes will be limited playing behind one of the best guards (Hardaway) who ever played in the NBA," he said. "AC will have to accept that role and wait his turn. If he watches him and learns from him and gets better, then he could be in that class."

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