The weight goes down, and the ceiling goes up; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and all that.
That’s the way Fresno State has it figured with Terrell Carter II, the Bulldogs’ 6-foot-10 center, who has dropped close to 20 pounds from the 315 or so he played at as a sophomore last season and has a bit more to go this summer to reach his goal.
The number: 285.
Get there, and that could be big for the Bulldogs, because Carter at times has piqued the imagination with what is possible were he in better physical condition, lighter on his feet.
Every year he has gotten better in a lot of different areas, and I want him to be better from what he got a chance to experience this past year.
Fresno State coach Rodney Terry on center Terrell Carter II
“I think with him being on the floor and being more of an impact kind of guy, and I think he has the capability to be that guy for us, he’s a problem for the other team,” coach Rodney Terry said.
“He has a good mean streak in him. He has a great knack for scoring the basketball with his back to the basket. He knows our stuff – it’s not like he’s still trying to figure it out. Every year he has gotten better in a lot of different areas, and I want him to be better from what he got a chance to experience this past year. He helped win the Mountain West Conference tournament for us. He was a significant factor.”
Carter played a season-high 22 minutes and scored 13 points with six rebounds in a 95-82 victory over UNLV in the quarterfinals. He was on the floor for 17 minutes and scored four points with three rebounds in a 68-63 victory over San Diego State in the championship game.
And that presence cannot be discounted for Terry and the Bulldogs, who this season will try to make their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time since 2001.
In conference play, Carter had a plus-minus rating of plus-47, third highest on the team behind three-point sharpshooter Jahmel Taylor (plus-60) and conference Player of the Year Marvelle Harris (plus-53).
The problem: Carter played only 10.6 minutes per game, largely because of his poor conditioning. He was in and out 50 times in 14 league games, more than half of those stints on the floor three minutes or less.
There were some unfavorable matchups. But fatigue and foul trouble, one often leading to the other, also worked against him.
“It used to frustrate me,” Carter said. “I may just be getting hot, but then I’d get tired.”
But, in better shape, those numbers are sustainable and could be a difference maker in a conference with few true back-to-the-basket centers.
It’s not as bad as I thought. Like, I ate my first grape the other day … never had a grape before.
Carter on improving his diet, as well as his strength and conditioning
“If you look at his numbers overall, he hit almost 60 percent of his shots and was 71 percent from the line, so his efficiency was there,” assistant coach Byron Jones said.
“There were certain games where you play an Air Force or a Boise State or a San Jose State, who kind of spread you out with their forwards and centers and you have to be able to adjust, and those were the games that were always tough for him. Now, San Diego State, UNLV, New Mexico, he’s fine in those games.
“But he has to expand himself a little bit more so he is trusted to be subbed into the game, to not just say, ‘Well, he can’t play at all tonight because of the matchup.’ He has to find that niche to be able to play in every game, and that’s the part that he has to get better with this summer.”
So, since the end of the season, Carter has worked hard on his conditioning, strength and diet.
“I’m starting to learn how to cook and eat grilled foods, and I’m starting to try more stuff,” he said. “It’s not as bad as I thought. Like, I ate my first grape the other day ... never had a grape before.”
The upside is obvious, the results becoming evident.
He has some symmetry to him, which makes him really interesting to see what we can get him to look like. We could get him to look freakish if he really buys into it here.
Strength and conditioning coach Johnny Olguin on Carter’s physical potential
“I’m starting to get quick off the ground, finishing better and being more consistent with the longevity through the workouts,” Carter said. “Before, I would get a little tired after probably 10 or 14 minutes. It’s just slowly improving. But it’s starting to get easier for me, and it’s really making a difference.”
That work only intensified last week, with strength and conditioning coach Johnny Olguin.
“His body responds really well because he’s not the normal, typical 300-pound-looking guy,” Olguin said. “He has some symmetry to him, which makes him really interesting to see what we can get him to look like. We could get him to look freakish if he really buys into it here.
“My goal is to get him to have at least a four-pack on his stomach. I don’t want them to call him 10-minute Terrell anymore. I want him to be a 20-minute guy, eight rebounds, nine points, at least a couple of blocked shots. I’ll be really happy with that. And I think Terry likes what he looks like right now, so we have a good starting point with him.”
Carter is all in there. He did a lot of work with teammates Karachi Edo and Cullen Russo in workouts getting the weight down, but the diet and the discipline came from within.
“He’s at a good starting point right now,” Terry said. “I think this is a good month for him and next month is a good month for him, so we just try to keep him moving in the right direction.
“Just think about if he buys into that aspect of it how much more productive he is going to be as a player, not only in our program, but he’ll be a real factor in our league.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada