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From great to elite: Can Marquise Carter take the 2010/2011 team to another level?

While there were many great performances and moments from this past season, one thing that was missing was a perimeter player who could break down a defender in a one-on-one situation and get to the rim for a basket. Matt Bouldin typically struggled to get his shot off against elite athletes, Steven Gray is much more comfortable scoring within the flow of an offense, and Meech Goodson is at his best when he is pushing the tempo and scoring on the fastbreak. Even though there are some people who question how good of a point guard he was, Jeremy Pargo provided the ability to create a good show when the shot clock was running down and the offense was out of sync.

If the recruiting for 2010 has been any indication, it's fairly clear that the coaching staff is actively attempting to find a combo guard who can handle the ball and also have the ability to get baskets. From all indications, the #1 prospect on the Gonzaga board for 2010 is Marquise Carter of Three Rivers C.C (click here for his season stats). With the staff clearly in hot pursuit of Carter, we decided to check in with Brian Bess, who is an assistant coach at Three Rivers C.C.

One of the aspects that clearly makes Carter so coveted by the coaching staff is his ability to score in a one-on-one situation, while also being a very adequate distributor of the basketball. According to Coach Bess, Carter is at his best in a transition type offense and is effective when his team needs someone to create offense.

"Marquise Carter is a great 1 on 1 player.  He is best in transition.  He has another gear.  He is a scoring PG that can handle the ball and is very cool under pressure.  He handles traps/double teams well.  He plays really well off ballscreens.  He wants the ball at the end of the game and at the end of the shot clock.  He has a very good mid-range game.  He is good at runners and floaters.  He shoots enough 3 pointers to keep the defense honest.  He loves challenges.  He has a sneaky game.  His 3 point shot looks like an old set shot, but he is great off the fake and drive by."

From previous articles in which Marquise was featured, he made a pretty clear indication that his top three schools are Gonzaga, Oklahoma, and Wichita St. Each school brings a unique aspect to his recruitment: Oklahoma is the school that his older brother attended, Wichita St. has been recruiting him the hardest and longest, and Gonzaga would give Marquise an opportunity to return to the West Coast. As Coach Bess mentioned, some other big schools are beginning show interest, but it looks Gonzaga and Oklahoma are next in line for a visit.

"He visited Wichita St. early.  He will visit Oklahoma & Gonzaga.  He has interest from Baylor, Michigan, DePaul, & others.  I don't know for sure, but somebody said that North Carolina called him.  Coach Few came in and watched Marquise play against State Fair on Feb. 6th after their afternoon game at Memphis."

While both Zach and I have had a passing interest in this recruitment for awhile, my interest skyrocketed due to his play in the recently competed National Tournament. Carter starred throughout the tournament, but he excelled in the championship game, scoring 35 points in an overtime loss. Carter has been tremendous since he started his career at Three Rivers C.C, but he took his game to another level this season.

"Marquise is a 2 time All-American.  He red-shirted his first year at our school in which we finished 4th at the National Tournament.  Three Rivers record is 58-12 in his 2 seasons.  He averages 17.9 pts., 4.3 reb., 5.4 ast., 1.4 st., 39.1% of his 3's, 84.6% of his free throws.  We finished 2nd in the Nation.  We lost to Howard, TX in the championship game 85-80 in overtime.  Marquise had 35 pts. and made 3-5 on 3's.  He was named to the All Tournament Team at the National Tournament in Hutchinson, KS."

We will have more updates over the coming weeks, and hopefully will get an exact date for when Marquise plans to take his official visit. We would like to thank Coach Brian Bess for taking the time to answer our questions and providing great insight and details on Carter.