Three Rivers Community College point guard Marquise Carter has orally committed to the Gonzaga men’s basketball program.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound Carter averaged 17.9 points, 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds for Three Rivers (Poplar Bluff, Mo.), which lost to Howard 85-80 in overtime in the NJCAA championship game. Carter was named NJCAA first-team All-American after earning second-team honors last season.
Carter made 43 percent of his field-goal attempts, 38 percent of 3-pointers and 85 percent at the free-throw line.
Carter visited Gonzaga’s campus two weeks ago. He is the first commitment of the Bulldogs’ 2010 class. Skyview High (Nampa, Idaho) guard Kyle Dranginis, who committed to Gonzaga in January, is in the 2011 class.
“My visit went really well,” said Carter, who played at Horizon High in San Diego. “I connected with the players and the coaches. I just felt like it was a place I needed to be. I feel by being there I can graduate, get my degree and be successful on the court.”
Carter said he had scholarship offers from Oklahoma and Wichita State. Carter’s older brother, Nate, played at UC Riverside before transferring to Oklahoma for his final two seasons. He’s now playing professionally in France.
“Everybody was telling me I needed to go on more visits, but my brother is a big influence on me and he gives me his opinion,” said Carter, who canceled his visit to Oklahoma after committing to the Bulldogs. “He told me if you go on a visit, you’ll feel it and you’ll know. When I went to Gonzaga, everything felt right for me.”
Carter led Three Rivers to a 30-7 record, including the 1,100th career win for 40-year head coach Gene Bess. The Raiders won the Region 16 title and defeated Monroe, Northwest Florida and Navarro at the NJCAA tournament before falling in the title game.
Carter scored 35 points against Howard and was the tournament’s second-leading scorer at 22.8 points per game.
“He’s really hard to guard 1-on-1,” said Three Rivers assistant coach Brian Bess, Gene’s son. “He shoots it well enough, a set 3-point shot that keeps you honest, and he’s really good on runners, floaters, in-between shots, and at getting to the basket and finishing.”
GU loses guard Matt Bouldin and returns backcourt starters Steven Gray and Demetri Goodson.
“I think they see him as a guy that can come in and push the ball up and get them into their offense,” Bess said.
Carter redshirted his first season at Three Rivers. As a freshman, he averaged 14.5 points and 4.5 assists.
“I really like to get to the basket and I can shoot the ball pretty well, but I like getting my teammates involved,” Carter said. “I try to get the ball to the players who can finish.”