Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

9496 kilometers is the exact distance from Starkville, Mississippi, to Lavrio, in Greece. It's a long trip, especially for a rookie who just got out of college. But Tyson Carter has enjoyed his long trip to Europe so far. 

3-pointers this season

Points made: 8,6
Accuracy: 36,4%
Place in standings: 9
Record max: 14
Record min: 2
Most made 3FGs: Billy Baron

A Mississippi State alumn, Carter led Lavrio to the finals of the Greek league in his rookie season. For a team founded in 1990 in a city located around 60 kilometers from the center of Athens, it was the first trip to the finals of their domestic league in their history.

The shooting guard averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.1 steals while shooting 42% from the three-point line in his rookie season, quickly becoming one of the best' surprises' around Europe. 

This summer, Carter ended up re-signing for another season with Lavrio despite some interest from Greek powerhouse Olympiacos. "I talked to them a little bit, but ultimately I went to the Summer League, and after that, I re-signed with Lavrio," Carter said to our Giorgos Kyriakidis back in September

The decision to remain in a familiar place, where the coach already knows him, and the system is built to highlight his qualities, is paying good dividends for the 23-year-old guard.

So far, Carter is averaging 15.1 points, 2.8 assists, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game in the Greek league. Lavrio is also playing in the Basketball Champions League, and Carter is already putting up big numbers in that competition, averaging 17.6 points per game, 2.8 assists, 1.6 rebounds while shooting an impressive 52% from 3-point. 

In the game against Russian side Nizhny, Carter finished with 35 points, 6 assists, and 2 steals, showing all his offensive talent once again. 

But while last summer, a move to the EuroLeague basketball didn't materialize for the American player, now it looks like the time has come for the player to prove himself at the top of European competition. 

Carter and Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg have already agreed to a deal, a source told Basketnews. The move will happen right away after the Russian club had considered postponing it to the next season. The player himself confirmed that he's ready for his next step.

Zenit's interest in the American guard was initially reported by Konstantinos Melagies of 

The Russian team appreciates Carter's scoring ability and his defensive potential. With uncertainty surrounding Shabazz Napier, who's still out with an ankle injury and only signed for one season, they decided to anticipate the competition. 

And the reasons to do so are clear when you take a look at Carter's game. The American guard is already an excellent spot-up shooter, he has a good mechanic and doesn't need much time to let it fly. His 3-point numbers have been really good, and the projection is that he might become even better on that front. 

Carter is also gifted with great acceleration that helps him get past defenders and consistently attack the rim.

This skill is also pretty clear when the player cuts aggressively to the basket, another one of his main qualities offensively. When he grabs a defensive rebound, he immediately thinks about getting in transition and finishing fast. 

Carter is not only a promising talent offensively, but even on the defensive end, he has very interesting tools. With a very nice combination of length and quick feet, the young guard can often put a lot of pressure on the ball, making things difficult for his opponents.

Even if his frame is not super strong, his ability to pressure the opponent's ball-handler and force him to make poor passes is really impressive for such a young player. He also has a great sense of anticipation for steals and deflections, as he's currently averaging more than 1 steal per game in the Greek league. 

Despite being only in his second season as a pro in Europe, Carter looks already like one of those guys destined to achieve great things.

"I like it in Europe, I'm glad to be back, and I'm looking forward to doing some great things this season," Carter said to Basketnews back in September. It looks like he's keeping his word. 

As his numbers keep growing, it's increasingly likely that his time as a 'small town boy' will not last too long. Big cities and EuroLeague are calling, and Tyson looks ready to answer.

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Tyson Carter

Tyson  Carter
Tyson  Carter
MIN: 26.37
PTS: 17.83 (63.95%)
REB: 1.67
As: 2.5
ST: 1.33
BL: 0
TO: 2.83
GM: 6