Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Pick of Baylor won’t make coaches give up



LAPLACE – Let the phones begin to ring.

Demond “Tweetie” Carter has seven months to wait until he can officially ink his college scholarship offer to Baylor University to play basketball.

But beginning this week, the phones at Carter’s house were expected to begin a chorus of rings from now until November when the highly-rated national player can formally settle the matter of where he will take his extraordinary talents.

Carter has been getting attention at a national level for years, and hoped to take some of the college recruiting pressure off himself last fall when he verbally committed to play for Baylor.

College coaches are not allowed to call him until April of the year that he will enter school as a senior. So even though Carter has announced his decision to go to Baylor in the year 2006, it won’t stop other colleges from trying to change his mind.

As of April 1, college coaches were given the green light to start that recruiting process, and Carter knows that his committment to Baylor isn’t going to stop them from trying to sway him.

“I’m ready for it,” he said from his LaPlace home this past week. “But I’m sure I’m solid about Baylor. It’s still going to be wild, but I imagine it will be a good experience just going through that kind of pressure.”

Carter began getting national attention when he was a freshman, coming out of a summer Nike camp and being named the number one guard at the camp, which included 150 of the best players in the country.

Since then he has helped Reserve Christian School win three state championships in the past four years, and scored over 5,000 career points. This past season he averaged 32 points a game for coach Tim Byrd’s club.

The 5-10, 170-pounder said he made his early decision to Baylor simply to reduce the pressure in his junior year of playing.

“Ever since the Nike camp when I was in ninth grade I have felt pressure to play,” he said. “Even though coaches couldn’t officially talk to me, I always had people telling me they were in the stands watching. By committing to Baylor I was able to relax and play this past year.”

He made a visit to Baylor earlier this year even though he had already committed last October.

“I just loved the feel of their campus, the locker room and the players. I know the school had problems in the past, but they are rebuilding and I want to be a part of that,” he said. “I called the coach right away and told him I would come there.”

But that hasn’t stopped some form of contact coming to him. The hundreds of letters he gets from around the country come in every day, and he knows that the coaches will now begin to call him even though he has announced his committment.

“I know they will still be calling,” he agreed. “But I’ll just handle it the best I can.”

As for now, Carter is off and running on a busy off-season. He is part of the Louisiana Nike Select AAU team, which has now begun practice and will play all summer in national events.

“We’re just going to put all the phones in Tweetie’s room,” his father, Herb Carter said. “Cell phones and all.”