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The numbers behind Cam Carter’s hot start

By |2023-11-16T11:26:40-06:00November 16th, 2023|Categories: Local News, Sports|Comments Off on The numbers behind Cam Carter’s hot start

by Kevin Fielder • EMAWOnline – Managing Editor – @TheKevinFielder

Before the season began, I wrote that Kansas State guard Cam Carter would be among the team’s breakout players.

The reasoning was not that he wasn’t good a year ago — Carter averaged 6.5 points per game last season but had promising moments — but rather that there was a second level for him to reach.

Through three games, Carter has almost exceeded that second level.

Carter is averaging 19 points per game for the Wildcats while shooting a blistering 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. He’s been K-State’s best player so far and has made a legitimate claim to be considered for a Big 12 All-Conference team.

A bit too far?

Maybe. It’s only been three games, and two were against mid-major programs.

But that’s also how good Carter has been for the Wildcats.


In K-State’s win over South Dakota State — a team many expect to make the NCAA Tournament — Carter was the perfect blend of efficient scorer, strong defender, and unexpected playmaker.

There was a brilliance to his game. It was a fully embraced effort by Carter to turn good offense into strong defense, and he held South Dakota State’s Zeke Mayo to 11 points.

“I know Cam had a career-high, but I was more pleased with what he did on the defensive end,” head coach Jerome Tang said after the game. “[Zeke] Mayo was averaging 28 coming in and he’s a heck of a player. And some of it was him missing shots he normally made, but a lot of it was Cam really being locked in on that.”

Carter held Mayo to an offensive rating of 80 — which roughly means that Mayo produced 80 points per 100 possessions — which was the lowest of his season. For comparison, Mayo had a stretch of 12 straight games last season where his offensive rating was above 100.


Carter’s calling has still been on offense, though.

Through three games, Carter has a usage rate of 28.5 percent, which far exceeds his usage rate of 15 percent last season. This means that K-State’s offense is flowing through Carter often, likely a sign of the increased trust the coaching staff has in him.

With this increased role has come increased efficiency. He scored a career-high 25 points on 6-of-12 shooting. He also made half of his three-point attempts, meaning Carter was finding success at all levels of the floor.

Carter has effectively shot the ball all season, offering K-State the needed blend of high input on good shots.

Carter’s true shooting percentage of 54.1 percent is not only an increase of his number from last season (48.6%), but it’s a figure that is above average across the entire nation.

Carter has paired this scoring success with an increase in playmaking ability.

Last season, Carter struggled to make plays for his teammates. His assist percentage was low (35th percentile), but his turnover rate was high. It was a combination that needed to improve, and everyone knew that.

Luckily, it appears that Carter’s scoring ability has helped him create plays for his teammates.

“The good thing for Cam is, as he’s locked in on scoring, and that’s what we want him to do, and I don’t want him to think about making plays,” Tang explained. “Then, the playmaking becomes easier because the guys who are open are like wide open.”

The turnovers haven’t been eliminated from Carter’s output, but it’s become manageable. Tang and the coaching staff will likely take six assists to two turnovers, which Carter totaled against South Dakota State.


In short, yes.

Cam Carter might not put up 25 points a game once Arthur Kaluma and Nae’Qwan Tomlin (potentially) return, but Carter has proven that his success is not built on him getting the ball more often.

Instead, his strong start is built around sustainable increases in understanding his role and how to find good shots within it. Even as his usage decreases, his efficiency numbers should remain the same.

That’s a good sign for K-State, who will likely need the “depth scoring” that Carter can offer. It’s a problem the Wildcats faced last season, and it may have been a factor in their exit from the NCAA Tournament.

Now, they may not have to worry about that.

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The post The numbers behind Cam Carter’s hot start appeared first on News Radio KMAN.



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