The Journey of Tweety Carter
From an all-time leading scorer to one of the best distributors in the game.
by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
I think we all first realized who Demond “Tweety” Carter was when we first got a chance to watch him in a basketball game. For most dynamic players, it’s usually a player’s shooting ability, or their quickness, or sheer ability to control the game with their mind.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t what caught my attention.
What caught my attention first? That the man wearing No. 45 (By the way, am I the only person who has a sincere appreciation for players who wear abnormal jersey numbers? End aside.) was wearing by far one of the greatest bald fades I’d ever seen in my entire life. His bald fade was so nice I immediately knew he was from Louisiana, and that he was one of the coolest ballers in college basketball. I was correct. The man from Reserve, LA has one of the better stories I’ve heard in a long time.
Carter was so good growing up that he was able to play varsity ball at Reserve Christian HS as a 7th grader, thus paving the way for him to become the all-time scoring leader in U.S. high school history. Along the way, he became a McDonald’s All-American and had a bevy of schools for him to begin his collegiate career. Carter could’ve attended any school he wanted to, yet he decided to go to Baylor. The first ever McDonald’s All-American to attend the school in Waco. Carter shared his thoughts about signing with Baylor, his career in Waco, and exactly how he got the name, “Tweety” with us.
SLAM: This is probably the question you get asked most, but why do you answer to the name “Tweety”?
Tweety Carter: I don’t know what age I got the nickname, but my Godmother used to take care of me from time to time, and I used to cry a lot. When they’d put the Tweety Bird cartoon on television, I’d stop crying and watch. She said after that day she’d start calling me that, and the name stuck.
SLAM: You guys have an eclectic group of named individuals; Tweety, LaceDarius, Ekpe, etc. Did you guys have any nicknames?
TC: Ekpe is Nightmare, Quincy Acy is Cookie Monster, LaceDarius is Cool. Of course I’m Tweety. [Laughs]
SLAM: So what elements of your game are you looking to improve as you take your next step towards your dream to the NBA?
TC: Getting in better shape first and foremost, and understanding how to better run the team. Getting everyone involved on the floor and playing better defense plus learning the game and how they play the game on the next level is important.
SLAM: Who’s winning the NBA title?
TC: Man, you know the Hornets are the squad, so I had them originally. I’m going to have to go with Kobe and the Lakers.
SLAM: I know on May 15 you’ll be finishing your degree at Baylor, tell us what that means to you and your family.
TC: It means a lot; actually my cousin and I will be the first two in our family to graduate from college. It’s been a big goal for me ever since I stepped foot at Baylor. You know you’re not going to be playing ball forever, and to be able to graduate from a program like this, is truly a blessing.
SLAM: Now we heard you were the all-time leading scorer in high school history coming out of Reserve Christian, and then you decided to go to Baylor – a truly unprecedented move for a McDonald’s All-American. So why Baylor?
TC: It all started when I started at Reserve Christian. When I started there the program was doing well, but then we started winning championships after my 7th grade year. I wanted to be a part of something special. I chose to sign with Baylor at the beginning of my junior year. I didn’t take any other visits, I just felt like Baylor was the place to be. No one knew I committed, I just called coach (Scott Drew) and told him, “I’m coming.” At Baylor, we went from winning just four conference games to our success in my senior year. We’ve laid the foundation for the young guys that are coming out after me.
SLAM: Thinking about your six years of high school ball, and the four years you did at Baylor…who were the two or three best players you balled against so far?
TC: At the guard spot I’d have to say Monta Ellis, I played against him in Arkansas and he just competed every night. Also Dwight Howard, he was just dominant in all aspects of the game. In college, Byron Eaton from Oklahoma State was a tough guard for me. He was a quicker guard than what he looks and his size made it tough for me to guard him.
SLAM: Thinking about what Baylor looked like when you first got here with Aaron Bruce and Curtis Jerrells, to now with LaceDarius, Ekpe, and yourself have done, what’s the future of Baylor really look like?
TC: I think we’ve laid the groundwork, looking at the elite level of talent that’s come into Baylor over the last couple of years; it rubs off on the players coming in. I know the players before me made me a better leader, a better player, a better person, just by being there for me through the tough times. It wasn’t an easy road, and those guys before me weren’t selfish. They were always willing to help, willing to teach, even if it cost them minutes on the court. It’s all about giving yourself to the team. When your team is bonded that way, it creates better leaders and a better atmosphere.
SLAM: Baylor’s run this year to the Elite Eight helped put Baylor on the map, and it’s a lot of people who don’t like Duke. You had a lot of fans rooting for you guys, what was it like going up against Coach K and the Blue Devils?
TC: First off, I want to apologize to the fans. We wanted to win that game so bad, it was a game that we thought we could win but we didn’t make shots in the end. To walk on the same floor with Coach K was amazing, seeing him coach his team to victory was awesome. You see him on TV as a young guy and you want to go play for him or go to Duke and play in Cameron Indoor. It was a dream come true to compete against them, and they are a great team. They stayed together, they were patient, getting loose balls, and making big shots. We knew we had a great team before the season started, we worked hard in the summer and pushed ourselves to become better. However, when they picked us to finish 10th in the Big 12, that was extra motivation for us to go out there and succeed. When you step in between the lines anything can happen, we finished 2nd in the conference and made it to the Elite Eight. A great moment for our team and our program.
You can find Tweety on Twitter at @TCarter45.
Eddie Maisonet is a freelance sports writer, blogger and big time hoops fan from Oklahoma who currently resides in Cincinnati. Keep up with Eddie at SLAMonline as well as his blog Ed The Sports Fan and on Twitter.