One is the loneliest number.
I can only imagine that has to be going through Jared Carter's mind when he steps through the paper hoop during Wednesday night's Senior Ceremonies at Rupp Arena, prior to the Wildcats' game against Georgia.
For just the third time since 1976, Carter will be the lone player to stand at center court in his last home appearance. Carter will be joined by his mother, Kathy, his father, Jeff, and his brother, Randy, who's a 6-foot-8 center at Union College.
Carter came to UK following two outstanding seasons at Scott County, where he set a state record for blocked shots. At the time, Carter was being heavily recruited by North Carolina, Illinois, Georgia Tech, to name a few. The Scott Co. coaches told me that prior to Carter, no UK coach had ever been to the school to see a Cardinal play or practice.
The seven-footer's career will be remembered as one of lost potential due to injuries. Carter has had both shoulders surgically repaired and seemingly hasn't been able to overcome the mental obstacles associated with raising his arms, which is a must for any post player.
Still, Carter remains upbeat and steadfast in his decision to sign with, and remain, at UK. "I'm not going to look back on these four years and think it's a mistake or a bad decision," Carter said, during a press conference on Tuesday.
UK fans often have wondered aloud about Carter's playing time at UK, or the lack thereof. In the past couple of seasons, coach Billy Gillispie says the big man "lacked the eye of the tiger," a hint that Carter hadn't developed the physical and mental toughness needed to play in Gillispie's system.
Carter has a chance to request a fifth season. He only played in three games during the 2006-2007 season, in which he dislocated his right shoulder during a practice. Surgery ended his season. During the following summer, Carter reinjured the shoulder, which required more surgery. Carter hasn't ruled out the possibility of playing a fifth season, albeit, it appears he'd have to do so elsewhere.
Georgia on their minds
UK's game with Georgia represents a "must win" for the Cats, if they expect any chance of playing in the NCAA Tournament. A win over the Bulldogs, who own the worst record in the SEC (11-18, 2-12), would give the Cats another 20-win season. Only a handful of bracketologists have the Cats making the big dance, so UK needs to win out in it's last two regular season games (the other, Saturday at Florida).
The Cats should handle the Dogs -- UK is 83-5 all-time in Senior Day games. Georgia is 0-7 on the road this season in SEC play.
Georgia interim coach Pete Herrmann is no stranger to Rupp Arena. Along with being an assistant coach at Georgia the past six seasons, Herrmann coached All-American David Robinson at Navy. Back in 1987, the Admiral set a Rupp scoring record when he dropped 45 points on the Cats during an 80-69 loss in Lexington.
Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.