Sterling “Sporty” Carter made it very clear to me that he did not quit the Seattle University basketball team two days ago, but that he was released.
The junior guard, expected to be a top scorer for the Redhawks this year, hadn’t played in the last four games.
Based on the above, it’s pretty clear that the marriage between Sporty and Seattle U was not working out.
And it’s also evident that the decision to set Sporty free was made by the Seattle coaching staff. Back in December, the Redhawks eked out a close win at Eastern Washington and Sporty was not in the lineup for the first time. When I asked Coach Dollar why, he said it wasn’t injury-related, and that he was “just looking at different rotations.”
What, then, is the cause of the Sterling Carter saga?
It sounds like it’s basketball-related, from everything I’ve heard. It might be as simple as the fact that Sporty had an itchy trigger finger on his shot, and that Dollar didn’t think that fit in with Seattle’s style of play.
Whatever it is, the team will probably keep it internal. One player I talked to mentioned that Dollar probably won’t discuss Sporty’s exit until the time is right.
Sterling got at least 14 minutes in each of the first five games this year. In those games, he shot a combined 10-44. That is a really, really bad percentage. A lot of those shots were extremely difficult ones. It probably seemed like Sterling was trying to go out and win games on his own when he came off the bench. Who knows, maybe he was.
The sixth game was the Eastern game in which Sterling didn’t play. In the next three contests, he sat until the second half. He entered the UW game and took just about every shot he could, including some extremely difficult ones. To my eyes, it looked like a player desperate to impress, but who was unfortunately going about it exactly the wrong way for Coach Dollar.
Dollar has never been shy about benching talented players that he doesn’t believe fit in with his system. He did it to Charles Garcia back when he was a Redhawk phenom. He’s done it to Clarence Trent this year – Seattle’s most talented player got just 17 minutes in the losses to SJ State and Virginia.
Sterling’s case seems like the extreme extension of that. Sterling wanted to be one type of player, while Dollar believed he needed to be another – a player more focused on intense defense and picking his spots than taking intensely difficult shots.
He’s the same gunner that he was as a freshman and sophomore when he got more playing time and scored in bunches. Perhaps that’s the problem, that Dollar needed him to become more.
To his immense credit, Sporty doesn’t appear to hold any ill will toward Seattle U. He told me he loved being a Redhawk, and that he appreciated the opportunity to play in his hometown city, but that it’s time to move on, that it just didn’t work.
Maybe that’s the best summary of all. It just didn’t work. This was a marriage between a volume shooter and a press/fast break-minded coach, and that kind of marriage didn’t work out in the long run. If Sporty can go on to find success at another school, maybe the divorce between Sterling Carter and Seattle University will be the best thing for all parties involved.