By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (May 27, 2015) — Nobody can make a Wisdom Gym crowd erupt like Davene Carter.
Now, the rim-rattling slam dunk artist who helped Tarleton State to conference and regional titles and ultimately to the national semifinals, has the opportunity to take his talent global.
As a member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Yes, those Harlem Globetrotters.
Anyone who can whistle knows their trademarked tune, and anyone with a television set can recall the days the Globetrotters were regularly in the limelight entertaining millions with their flamboyant – and extremely athletic – assortment of trick dunks, alley-oops, no look passes and more.
And they may soon include the Tarleton State alumnus, who travels to New Jersey to work out for the team in July.
“When Coach said the Globetrotters called asking about me, I didn’t know what to think. I was in shock, total disbelief, until I talked to them myself and heard how interested they are,” said Carter, a Duncanville product who caught scouts’ attention through the Dark Horse Dunker and College Slam contests.
Carter defeated Lone Star Conference rival Antjuan Ball for the Dark Horse Dunker title, then placed third in the College Slam in front of a national television audience on ESPN during the week leading up to the Division I Final Four in Indianapolis.
Soon after, a Globetrotter representative spoke to Tarleton associate head coach Chris Reisman regarding Carter.
“They said they were interested in him and wanted to know what kind of guy he is in the locker room and off the court,” said Chris Reisman. “I’ve taken calls about players from all over the world, a lot of times from teams and leagues nobody here has even heard of, but the Globetrotters? It was definitely a first for me.”
And it sets up an ideal situation for Carter, who is also working out for teams in China in June.
“I’m leaving for a tour of China the 21st of June, and I’ll be checking out the (Chinese Basketball Association),” said Carter. “Then when I come back, I’ll be flying to New Jersey for the Globetrotter tryout July 22nd and 23rd. I’ll be able to kick it with the players and coaches, play with them, just see what it’s like.”
Then comes decision-making time.
“By then I should know what I’m going to do. If I don’t get any serious looks on the China tour, then the Globetrotters are where it’s at,” he said. “I’ve already made sure the teams in China know that.”
While Carter loves entertaining crowds, he still considers himself a serious competitive athlete.
“Some people think the Globetrotters are just entertainment, and that may be what the crowd gets out of it, but for the players, while they understand they are there to entertain, it’s more than that,” Carter says. “It’s about making a living and being the best they can be.”
The Globetrotters and Carter have discussed contract terms with figures in the neighborhood of $60,000 a year in addition to insurance and travel costs. There is also the opportunity to travel the world playing the sport he loves.
And besides entertaining countless fans with their worldwide and nationwide tours as well as television appearances, Globetrotter players are often seen by scouts in leagues across the globe.
“They support you no matter what you do, and I respect that and appreciate that consideration,” Carter said of the Globetrotters. “That’s how it is at Tarleton. I graduated, I’m done now, and the coaches are still helping me out anyway they can. I know I can go to them with anything.”
The Globetrotter opportunity puts an exclamation mark on the end of what was a blockbuster final semester for Carter at Tarleton. One that wasn’t always easy on the high-flying 6-7 forward who also reached the Division II Track & Field Outdoor Championships in the high jump.
“At the beginning of the season I was playing great. Then January came and I had to have surgery on a ligament in my wrist,” said Carter. “My family and my faith in God got me through all that when I wasn’t producing, my minutes were getting cut and then I lost my starting position. It was just a lot of God, church and praying. I was saved in January, and that changed my life. Then I just kept trusting the process, and at the end of the year, I got my starting position back and played the best basketball I believe I’ve ever played.”
After the injury, the return, the run to the Final Four, the Dark Horse Dunker and College Slam adventure and a second journey to the national finals as a high jumper, came the pinnacle of Carter’s thrilling college career – graduation day.
“When I recall Tarleton, I’ll always know I made the right choice. I knew I loved Tarleton when I first came on a recruiting visit. I felt at home here right away,” Carter said. “My parents weren’t trying to hear it, they kept telling me to weigh my options. I told them, ‘No, no options. I’m going to Tarleton.’ Then I graduated and now they’re all telling me how I made the right decision.
“So many people I met here – the fans, supporters, the community, everyone is so helpful. Even people who don’t know me but know Tarleton and rallied to support me and stand behind me,” Carter said. “You can go to a low D1 or a mid-major D1, and you’re known, but you’re not really known. At Tarleton, you’re really known and you’re really somebody, and I just appreciate that from Tarleton and from the community of Stephenville.”
It’s an environment that has led to success in more sports than just basketball.
“It’s been a historic year. You look at volleyball, basketball, softball, track. Really, I’m just like, ‘What’s next,’ you know? I don’t know what else there is but national titles and breaking more records. I’m a very happy alumnus of Tarleton.”
With the opportunity to represent his school, perhaps even worldwide.
“I have options. The Globetrotters are definitely at the top of my list,” Carter said. “But wherever I end up going, I’ll always appreciate Tarleton and the role the university and everyone here played in helping me get where I am.”