In the near future, although not soon enough for him, the real Ben Carter plans to reappear. Once that happens, no one will remember the images from his time at Oregon.
Those images are vivid now, and they are of a role player who was relegated to inconsistent minutes as a reserve in two seasons for the Ducks.
“I feel like people forget how good a basketball player I am,” he said. “I’m out to prove people wrong.”
Carter, who recently made it official that he is transferring to UNLV, will wait until the 2015-16 season to prove his point. He must sit out this coming season as a redshirt while practicing with the Rebels.
“It’s really my first year sitting out of games since second grade or first grade,” he said. “It’s definitely going to be difficult. But I think this year is going to be good for me.”
Carter said he will sign a scholarship agreement with UNLV in the next week or two, and when that happens, coach Dave Rice can comment. But it’s obvious Rice has a higher opinion of Carter as a player than some people who might have short memories.
He was heavily recruited at Bishop Gorman High School, where he played for Rice’s younger brother, Grant, and helped the Gaels win a state championship as a sophomore.
By that time, he had already received a scholarship offer from Dave Rice, who was a Brigham Young assistant.
“He was the first coach to offer me a scholarship when he was at BYU,” Carter said. “I’ll never forget that day. It made me feel good as a young sophomore.”
It was reported April 10 that Carter planned to transfer from Oregon to UNLV. He said several coaches, including New Mexico’s Craig Neal, showed interest. But the first recruiting call he received was from Rice.
“Even though I went away for two years, that first conversation with him was like we just talked yesterday,” Carter said. “The relationship with Coach Rice is unlike a relationship I’ve had with any other coach. I really respect him a lot, and I’m looking forward to playing for him.”
Carter does not speak negatively of Ducks coach Dana Altman, but the 6-foot-8-inch forward said he was miscast at Oregon and forced to play out of position as a backup center. In 25 games last season, Carter started five times and averaged 2.5 points and 12.7 minutes.
In November, Carter and teammate Dominic Artis were suspended nine games for selling shoes provided to them by the school. Each player was required to pay $1,800 — the amount they received for selling the shoes — to charity. The idea of transferring crossed his mind.
“I did a lot of thinking during that time,” he said. “I decided to finish the year. It’s not in my blood to give up on something.”
But by March, after the Ducks lost to Wisconsin in their second NCAA Tournament game, Carter was ready for something new.
Mike Moser, who transferred from UNLV to Oregon for his senior season, was ahead of Carter in the Ducks’ rotation. Ironically, Moser, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, turned into a role model.
“Mike was actually the host on my visit to UNLV, and when he came to Oregon, I was his host, so that was funny,” Carter said. “I learned a lot from Mike. He’s a competitor, and he pushes you. I had a good year playing alongside him.
“I played against some of the top talent in the country. All the games I played in definitely taught me a lot. I’ve always been able to handle the ball and had a good sense for passing, and I can shoot the ball.”
Carter played in all 37 games as a freshman and scored a season-high 12 points to go with five rebounds in the Ducks’ 83-79 victory over the Rebels at the Thomas &Mack Center on Nov. 23, 2012.
He played with sesamoiditis, a bone bruise, in his right foot for about half of his sophomore season. The injury is healing, he said, and he plans to enroll in summer school in June and hit the weight room to gain 10 to 15 pounds during his redshirt year.
“Coming back home seems like the right situation for me,” he said.
He passed on UNLV out of high school, he said, because former Rebels coach Lon Kruger did not show interest until “late” in his recruitment. When Rice replaced Kruger, Carter already was set to go elsewhere.
“The second time around,” he said, “I decided to do it right.”
■ NOTES — Carter’s addition puts the Rebels at the scholarship limit of 13, though there is a chance another player could leave the program this summer. … Jerome Seagears, a senior-to-be guard who is transferring from Rutgers, is visiting UNLV on Monday.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.