Asa Carter gets challenged every time Carson High’s boys basketball teams steps on the court.
The challenge comes from coach Carlos Mendeguia, who game in and game out gives his talented junior swingman the best player on the opposing team.
And, Carter relishes the job. The CHS star has shown throughout the year he is the team’s best defender. He believes it’s what he does the best.
“I bring the same mentality to basketball that I had in football,” said Carter, who leads the Senators into their first-round playoff game tonight against North Valleys (7 p.m.). “I love playing defense every sport I do. I never even played offense in football until I got to high school.”
“A lot of it is confidence,” Mendeguia said. “A lot of it is mental and wanting to do it. I think his success this year is a carryover from football. Asa knows what he can and can’t do.”
Carter said his best games were the first game against Manogue when he held the Miners’ Derek Novsek to a mere 11 points, and the game against Reed when he held the Raiders’ speedy point guard Jamel Ramos to just four points. Carson won both games, and a big reason was Carter’s defense.
Both players presented different challenges, but Carter was up to the task both times.
“With Novsek you try to not let him have the ball; deny the ball on the perimeter,” Carter said. “Jamel is quicker and a good finisher, and I’m just trying to stay in front of him, and hope we have help if he does get by me.”
As effective as Carter is on the defensive end of the floor, he is very efficient at the offensive end. If anything, he could shoot more. He’s been a solid scorer throughout the season — averaging 11 points a game and shooting 49 percent from the field.
“He’s very patient,” Mendeguia said. “He lets the offense develop. He’s very patient and he rarely forces a shot.”
And, he has been the most effective from the short corner, which isn’t an easy shot because you don’t get help from the backboard if the shot is off the mark.
“I like the short corner and the elbow,” Carter said. “I think everybody knows that’s not an easy shot and they don’t come out as hard (to defend). I don’t worry about offense, though. I don’t look to score. I worry more about defense.”
There really isn’t a flaw in Carter’s game, and Mendeguia has hinted that he might have Carter play some point guard during the summer. Mendeguia is banking on Carter’s patience handling the ball.
“I don’t really like handling the ball that much,” Carter said. “I like what I’m doing now.”