He’s Washington State’s resident Duke player. The quick releasin’, three makin’, sharpshootin’ wing from Logansport, Indiana known as Carter Skaggs. A late addition to the Cougar roster last year, Carter decided towards the end of the recruiting process that he wanted to be a Cougar after initially planning on returning for another year at Chipola College in Florida.
“Yeah you know, WSU came in late in the process and really blew me away. I was planning on returning to Junior College another year but they gave me the ability to play right away and use three years of eligibility playing in the Pac-12. I also held offers from Nicholls State and Fairfield, but Washington State was the clear cut choice for me after they offered.”
Carter impressed in his first game against Texas Southern before exploding for 26 points on seven threes against Seattle U. For many WSU fans, it was a welcomed surprise to see someone who could be so dangerous from beyond the arc. Not since the days of Klay Thompson had the Cougar faithful seen someone who could shoot with that kind of efficiency from the perimeter. For Skaggs though, it was what he’d been working on since he could walk.
“My dad’s been coaching Varsity basketball in Indiana for 25 years and I’ve always really had a ball in my hand. I was always working and especially on my shooting form to a point where it became muscle memory from so much repetition. Over the years I’ve been able to tweak my shot too, as I’ve gotten older and stronger I’ve been able to start with the ball up higher and release as soon as I get the ball. It gives me an extra split second to rise over my defender to get my shot off.”
For a shooter so lethal though, finding a rhythm can be tough. Teams have began to key on Carter meaning that open looks come once in a blue moon, and even when he does find space, he’s not necessarily in a rhythm yet. His playing time has not been particularly consistent and tracking a pattern in his minutes isn’t remotely possible. As a result, the sniper has found it difficulty feeling the game out or finding comfort.
“It can be tough, coming in and out so erratically and not getting good looks. After last year a lot of teams have film on me so they know what I can do from deep, but every time I touch the ball I want to get a shot up because I fully believe every time I shoot that it is going in.”
It hasn’t been a pretty start to the year for the Cougars, and it certainly will not get easier. After Saturday’s game against Santa Clara the Cougs start Pac-12 play, and the team at this point is still trying to find some chemistry. The sharpshooting wing has been one of the more consistent scorers on the team, but he knows that his defense has to get a little better and that the team has to work better together if they want to succeed. The conference is seemingly down this year, and with the media picking the team to finish in the cellar they have a chance to surprise some people.
“Yeah I wanna try and be able to get out and guard guys a little faster especially against those little shifty guards. As for the team though, we need to share the ball, move and get on the same page. We get down early too much and have to play catch up and then it seems like every guy is trying to take over the game. We need to play together from the beginning because we have multiple weapons we need to use. It’s hard though cause only me, Robo, V, Jeff and Davante are back and there’s a lot of new faces so we’re really trying to come together as a whole. It’s a good question how we’ll do in the Pac. We definitely have to come out and play better from the beginning but we can be loose cause we don’t feel we have anything to really lose. We can surprise some people though, so I’m looking forward to see how it all plays out.”
The toughest thing for a lot of student-athletes is the adjustment to the remoteness of Pullman and how out in the middle of nowhere it is. Growing up in a small town made the change easier though as Logansport, Indiana is only slightly bigger than the city of Pullman. It’s been easy for him to assimilate the last two years and Pullman has become a place that he loves.
“It’s great, it’s such a fun place to go to school. I love the community and how you just instantly become a Coug. It’s a safe place and really it’s somewhere that you don’t have to stress and worry about the simple things. It’s just the best.”