Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
In perhaps a first, Jevon Carter met reporters at the Advocate Center on Wednesday at “halftime” of the low-minute players’ typical scrimmage against the player development coaches.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
But even his dripping sweat and initial deep breaths from exertion couldn’t obscure his relentlessly positive attitude.
“Amazing,” Carter said when asked how he’s doing in light of recently dropping out of the rotation. “Blessed to be here.”
Carter, the Chicago Bulls' main free-agent signing of the offseason, drew his first two “Did Not Play---Coach’s decision” designations of the season last week and played just 4 minutes against Charlotte before resurfacing the last two games. He scored 14 points in 24 minutes during the Bulls’ victory in San Antonio on Saturday.
“Get in here. Work on your game. Trust in yourself. Have confidence,” Carter said. “And go out there and trust in your work.”
After averaging 8 points in 22.4 minutes on 42.1 percent 3-point shooting last season for Milwaukee, Carter is averaging 5.4 points in 14.5 minutes on 34.2 percent 3-point shooting in his first season with his hometown Bulls. The decrease in playing time isn’t what many expected when the Bulls verbally agreed to a three-year, $19.5 million immediately after free agency began last July.
But if you think Carter is pouting about his limited role, well, then you haven’t spent much time around the guard.
“In and out of the rotation, that don’t really mean nothing to me. I’m in the NBA. I’m blessed to be here,” Carter said. “I’m ready whenever my name is called. Whether that’s for 82 games or two games, that really don’t matter. I’m ready whenever.”
Where does this positive attitude come from for Carter, who played at Proviso East High School and West Virginia before Memphis drafted him in the second round in 2018?
“Where I come from,” he said. “I didn’t grow up like this. I’ve just been blessed to live like this the last six years of my life. Every other day of my life has been a struggle. This is nothing.”
Indeed, Carter has been relentless in his community service since signing with his hometown team with his Treadmill Mentality foundation. And when he dropped out of the rotation, he kept getting his work in and encouraging teammates, including Dalen Terry, who took his rotational spot.
Asked if he prides himself on being a good teammate, Carter took it further.
“I pride myself on being a good human being, whether that’s basketball or just in life,” he said. “I’m that way every way. That’s just who I am.
“I just always try to look at the bright side of things. If somebody came to you and said, let’s trade problems, you’re going to love yours.”
No wonder coach Billy Donovan, who often is spotted talking to Carter after practices or shootarounds, praises Carter’s approach.
“He just works every day and keeps himself ready,” Donovan said. “This is probably not something that happened to him for the first time. He’s gone through different times when he’s been in or out (of the rotation). But he understands how to handle himself.
“He was a big part of us finding a way to win that (Spurs) game. He certainly played really well coming off the bench. His readiness and energy is important. You’re not going to be able to play every player on the roster every night. I give him a lot of credit for keeping himself ready.”