March 17, 2009

Carter makes history with fourth NCAA tourney

When Texas A&M senior small forward Josh Carter first visited Texas A&M well before the years of his college basketball recruitment out of Lake Highlands High School in Dallas, he never would have guessed the things that he would accomplish in an Aggie uniform. Growing up an Aggie fan, Carter was always intrigued about playing in College Station.

But that first visit might have dissuaded him from following that dream. Seeing an empty arena could do that to a young basketball player.

"I remember coming here when I was, I guess, in eighth grade to watch a game and there was nobody here," Carter said. "A family friend who really likes Oklahoma State (took me to A&M) and they were playing Oklahoma State here so I came down for that game. Antoine Wright was a freshman and I was here seeing him play against Tony Allen from Oklahoma State and there was nobody here. I had front row seats. I sat in the student section but right close and I heard Tony Allen talking smack to Antoine."

Since then, however, times have changed in a Texas-sized fashion in College Station.

The Aggies still have room to grow with an average of 9,438 fans at home games this year in 12,989-seat capacity Reed Arena, but it's night and day from Carter's first visit for a game. As far as the NCAA tournament goes, Aggie fans hadn't seen their team in the Big Dance in nearly two decades before Carter came to Aggieland.

With A&M's selection to the NCAA tournament as a 9-seed in the West region this year, Carter will go down as the first Aggie in school history to play in four NCAA tournaments. It's a record that can never be broken, but the A&M program would like to see it tied many times over.

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