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Young and the Restless: McMasters Takes Aim
In January, Basketball Times, a publication covering collegiate basketball for over 25 years, ranked Liberty's 2008 recruiting class at No. 48 in the nation.
The Basketball Times ranked its Top 50, and Liberty joined No. 26 Xavier, No. 31 Rhode Island, No. 36 Fresno State, No. 36 New Mexico, No. 36 St. Louis, No. 41 Dayton, No. 50 Hofstra and No. 50 Gonzaga as the only schools that are not a part of a BCS football power conference.
After the Basketball Times Top 50 list came out, Liberty added Jesse Sanders and Bill Weaver to the incoming class, which would have given the Flames a higher place in the Top 50. Sanders decommitted from a verbal agreement with Conference USA member Rice to attend Liberty, while Weaver did the same at Brown.
The honored recruiting class is now on campus and LibertyFlames.com is going to highlight each freshman in this new seven-part series.
McMasters hails from Chattanooga, Tenn., where he was a 2008 graduate of Grace Academy. The 6-11 forward averaged 15.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks per game as a senior at Grace, and helped his team to the regional finals as a junior. McMasters was a McDonald's All-American nominee. The all-state honoree alters the game, evident by his 20 shots redirected during last season.
McMasters picked Liberty over Auburn, Chattanooga, Clemson, Kentucky, Michigan, Purdue, Virginia and Virginia Tech, among other programs.
Ritchie McKay's Quote Upon Signing Carter McMasters
"When we first got to Liberty, we were told by many that you couldn't shoot for the stars," said McKay. "We felt with our system and the immediate need at Carter's position, we would hit a home run by signing him. Carter is a tremendous offensively skilled player with great passing ability, who can stretch a defense. He is a good shot blocker with great timing. We are elated to have someone of his caliber be a part of our family, as we help carry this program forward and establish a tradition."
Sitting Down with Carter McMasters
Why did you decide to attend Liberty?
I decided to attend Liberty because first of all it's a Christian university and it reminds me a lot of my high school. Second, because of the new coaching staff headed by Coach McKay and when I saw guys like Seth Curry coming, who I had played with during the summer, I knew I wanted to join them here and be a part of something special.
What was it about Coach McKay that made you want to come and play for him?
He is an intense coach who has great passion for the game and for God. Being here and going to his Sunday meetings, I love how he is focused on helping us drive for excellence with basketball and our relationship with God.
What does it feel like to be a part of a Top 50 recruiting class?
When I first heard that our class was ranked in the top 50, I was pretty pumped. We were named on that list before we signed Jesse (Sanders) and Bill (Weaver), and that in itself would have bumped us even higher because they are both great players. It is pretty exciting, especially since we beat out Tennessee, who is at No. 50, because they are the big team back home.
You spent some time on campus this summer going to school and playing pickup games with most of the team. This is the first time you guys have all been together. How did you feel the team jelled?
There was nobody on campus this summer, so we played basketball whenever and wherever. Since no one was around, we hung out a lot after our pickup games. It was a great way for all the new guys and the returners to jell together and build that chemistry.
How important is chemistry?
Last summer when I played AAU, we didn't have any chemistry and because of that we failed. Hanging out with these guys so far has begun the foundation of a great bond. It's very easy to play together when you have that chemistry.
Thus far, how has the Liberty experience been for you?
The experience has been awesome and more. Words can't describe how it has been for me. Just outside the team there is a lot of going on here, and I enjoy being a part of that bigger campus life.
In your short time in Lynchburg, have you found a favorite hangout yet?
So far in this series everyone has been saying Buffalo Wild Wings, and I have to agree. We spent a lot of time there during the summer, which coincidentally is how we were building that chemistry, as bonds were being built over chicken wings and basketball. Since school started I haven't found any time to get back there though.
You have the penchant for knocking down the three-point basket. What type of affect, if any, does the movement of the three-point line back a foot have on you?
I honestly could not shoot on the line to begin with. I have always been more comfortable five or six feet out anyway. The line change will change a lot of things inside. It's going to allow for more room on the block, but just because it's only a foot, it doesn't matter to me, actually I kind of like it. I spent a week playing down in Costa Rica this summer, and the line didn't make a difference for me then either.
Which player is most likely to watch the premier of American's Next Top Model?
Bill Weaver. I think he is a ladies' man.
Behind the Young and the Restless Schedule
Aug. 21 – Seth Curry
Aug. 28 – Brolin Floyd
Sept. 4 – Carter McMasters
Sept. 11 – Jesse Sanders
Sept. 18 – Austin Smith
Sept. 25 – Johnny Stephene
Oct. 2 – Bill Weaver