Freshman Player Key on Varsity Basketball Team
If Grayson Alexander Carter isn’t playing basketball, you’ll probably find him reading a good book. “I read all the time,” he says, “I read the Lord of the Rings series, and the Percy Jackson series, and I’m reading the Legend series now.”
He might become a legend one day soon. Grayson started playing basketball at the age of two. Born in Lancaster, his family moved to Houston, where he attended a school for the academically talented and gifted. He played basketball for his school and Select basketball on nights and weekends.
As he entered the 6th grade, his family moved back to Lancaster. His mother felt he wasn’t learning enough in the local public school, so searched around and found Bishop Dunne. “I noticed a difference in the work load right away,” Grayson said, “I was kind of cruising in my former school. But here, I knew I was learning a lot more.” Notre Dame ACE teacher, Stephen La Brecque, was his favorite teacher that year. La Brecque taught two years at Dunne and is in law school now. “He was funny but also a really good teacher,” says Grayson.
Grayson also found a really good friend. Lasani Johnson was a sophomore playing varsity basketball, and he quickly became Grayson’s mentor. “My first day in the weight room as a 7th grader, Lasani introduced himself and sort of took me in,” Grayson remembers. “When I was a 6th grader and looking at going to Bishop Dunne, people were telling me, ‘There’s this guy who’s playing varsity as a freshman. He’s an amazing player.’ I heard about Lasani before I met him.”
Now Grayson is following in his footsteps, starting on varsity as a freshman. At 6’8” he’s the tallest man on campus, and it appears he’s going to keep on growing. He just turned 15 in November, and has size 17 feet. Grayson reveals that the doctor told his mom the plates on his bones are still open, so his feet will get bigger and he might end up at 6’11.”
That is the height of two players he had to defend against when the Falcons played Prestonwood in December. To see Grayson next to them, unafraid to block their shots and go toe-to-toe with them was a sight to behold. The two Prestonwood players were discovered while some students were on a mission trip to Haiti. Like Lasani, Grayson had heard about the two before he met them, saying, “I wasn’t scared or intimidated, just excited to go up against such big guys.” With the football team playing in the Football State Championship the week before, the entire team had only one full practice before the Prestonwood game. Dunne lost a close one, but Grayson is ready for the re-match. “We know how to beat them now,” he says determinedly.
He also laughed about practicing alongside the other “Big Man on Campus,” Darrion Daniels, known more for his football playing finesse at 300 pounds. “My first practice with Darrion” says Grayson, “I bumped into him and bounced off of him and fell down – it was like crashing into a brick wall!” Like Darrion, Grayson hopes to have college offers to choose from in his senior year.
“He’s already got colleges watching him,” Head Coach Michael Alfers observes, adding, “He’s very skilled for a freshman, very smart, very respectful, and a very coachable player. Colleges can’t do anything formal until the end of his sophomore year, but I’m sure he’ll be recruited.”
His dream college is Syracuse, but Grayson would be happy to play at any college where he can make an impact – and receive a good education. His mentor, Lasani, is headed to Stephen F. Austin College, and the coaches there know about Grayson.
With a 3.6 average, Grayson may have his choice of college programs. “That GPA is actually a bit lower than what my mother wanted to see,” he admits, “but Varsity basketball took up a lot of my time this fall.” His mother, Amy, is a lawyer and his father, Kenneth, a probation officer. His assistant coach is a Dallas police officer. Grayson wants to make all three of them proud of him, so there’s no chance he’ll get in any trouble. “No way,” he says with a laugh. Plus, he has two older brothers, Kendall and Kasey, both 6’6”, an older sister, Jasmine, and a younger sister, Kennedy, who is 13. And he has a sister in heaven, Kendra, who died in 2008 from complications from pneumonia at the age of 24.
He feels Bishop Dunne is an extension of his close family. “The community here is something special,” he explains. “I do feel like we’re all one big family.”
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is his favorite professional player. At 6’9”, Grayson is just one inch shorter than his role model. His hope is to finish college and play in the NBA. Until then, he looks forward to his high school games and especially the district games. “I can’t wait to play against Bishop Lynch,” he says, “and our rematch at Prestonwood.” His mother goes to all his games. “I think she’s been to every game since I was two,” he says with a laugh, “and my father comes to the games where the competition is tough.”
Tough is one word you’ll hear that describes him on the court. This past summer he broke both his finger and his thumb while playing. It took an X-ray to convince the doctor that his thumb – swollen so big it just looked like a bad sprain – needed a cast. “It was on for eight weeks, and I could play after four,” he explained, “but those four weeks off really got me out of shape.” He worked hard to return to top form, and hopes to stay injury-free throughout the rest of the season – and in the future.
The Falcons are counting on him – and Grayson plans to play his best – for his team, his school, and his family, and especially for the younger Falcons who look up to him.