Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Wendell Carter Jr.’s mom continues to rip NCAA, Duke
By ADAM ZAGORIAWendell Carter Jr.’s mother, Kylia Carter, has already made headlines by comparing the NCAA to slavery and the prison system for exploiting young African-American athletes for profits that benefit older, white folks.
After her son was drafted No. 7 by the Chicago Bulls, Kylia Carter, who played at Ole Miss, kept up her comments about the NCAA and the school where her son spent one season, Duke.
“They treat you like a piece of property,” she told Sports Illustrated. “Period. Point blank. They take things away from you, they talk bad to you, they’re disrespectful to you. The act of getting paid is not what makes a difference, the difference is that in the NBA [players] are respected in the role that they’re in. Whatever it is they’re doing, they have a voice and they’re respected.
“In college, you have no voice. It’s a system set up that they drop you in and tell you what to do—you be a rebounder, shot-blocker, you take all the shots, nobody else can shoot. My child never got to show his full set of skills. He never got to do that.”
Carter’s parents wanted him to attend Harvard instead of Duke, and Carter recently told me he believed Harvard could eventually produce a one-and-done. Both he and No. 6 overall pick Mohamed Bamba were heavily courted by Harvard.
“It depends on the person, it depends on the athlete,” Carter Jr. said following his Knicks’ workout. “If he’s willing to take that sacrifice to change the norms of one-and-done athletes of going to blue bloods like Kansas, Duke, Kentucky, if he ‘s willing to take that sacrifice, I think it’s definitely possible.”
Carter has been repeatedly asked whether he got to showcase his full array of skills while playing alongside eventual No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley III at Duke, and he took the high road by saying he showed he could play alongside other superstars and would be able to fully display his skills in the NBA.
His mother doesn’t feel the same way.
“My initial reaction, I was pissed,” she told NBCSports.com in Chicago. “And it wasn’t pissed because Marvin was coming. To be honest, I felt like that was information that was kept from us. It felt [shady], it felt like my baby was gonna get kicked to the curb. I felt like all of that.”
Wendell Carter Sr. added: “I tell people. People make promises they can’t keep. It didn’t bother me. I was concerned because I felt like we were lied to. ‘Oh, Wendell’s gonna be the man’ and then the rug was pulled from under us.”
For his part, Carter took the high road.
“It was great playing alongside Marvin,” he said after his Knicks’ workout. “Marvin’s a phenomenal player and we were able to complement each other’s game. We looked for each other in high-low action. Both ran the floor well, both were good defenders, so it was a lot of fun playing with him.
“And I think that showcased that I’m able to play with other great players and still be able to do what I have to do on the offensive and defensive end.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.