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He’s 'that guy': humility, standout character define clutch Kent

By Jacob Knabel on Mar. 10, 2022 in Men's Basketball

National Tournament Preview

No, he’s not Clark Kent, but at times this season you would swear that Carter Kent must be of some relation to Superman. By day, he’s a straight ‘A’ biology student and as unassuming as they come. When primetime comes, he trades the civilian clothes in for Concordia threads and proceeds to make plays – big ones. You want Carter Kent on your side in the clutch.

Entering the national tournament, Kent is knocking on the door of the top five on the program’s all-time scoring list. His first three seasons as a Bulldog were really good. His senior season has been elite.

Said Head Coach Ben Limback in mid-January, “He’s special. We knew that. He’s a very talented young man. We run stuff to get him open looks and he’s able to create on his own and find ways to get to the free throw line and score points. He’s been on a special run. He’s that guy that comes to the gym early and does all the little things beyond practice. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he continues to be a great leader for us. He’ll be the first to tell you that all he cares about are the victories. He’s a large part of why we’re getting all these victories.”

While donning the net he had just cut down in celebration of the GPAC tournament title on March 1, Kent basked in the afterglow of another postgame Friedrich Arena celebration. He beamed when talking about the three court stormings in a span of three weeks. Kent was at the center of it all. The Crete High School product heaved the game-winning alley-oop that sank Briar Cliff, drained the game-winning shot to beat Doane in the GPAC semifinals and, as the buzzer sounded on the GPAC championship game, fired the ball into the rafters before being engulfed by a throng of jubilant Concordia students.

It seems fair to call it a dream season, one in which Kent has piloted the Bulldogs to a 25-6 record, GPAC regular season and tournament titles, a perfect home record (16-0) and a national tournament opening round appearance close to home. Kent himself has earned First Team All-GPAC accolades while averaging 15.9 points per game and while running his career scoring total to 1,638 points. That puts him No. 6 all-time in school history. He’s also played in every one of the program’s 122 games over the past four seasons.

Really though, he could care less about that. When asked about elevating his own game this 2021-22 season, Kent focused on the team’s accomplishments. Said Kent, “Seeing all five starters get All-GPAC honors really says something about the team. All five guys can do whatever is needed at any given time. It’s hard to plan against us because we have so many weapons. I know my teammates have a lot of confidence in me – and I have a lot of confidence in them as well.”

That type of modesty is what makes Kent who he is – an exemplary Bulldog. Kent typifies why it has been so easy to gravitate towards this Concordia Men’s Basketball team. Not only are they successful on the court, but they are fine young Christian men off the court with bright futures ahead of them. Limback knows he’s going to look back years from now and feel even more pride in this 2021-22 squad.

As for Kent, Limback referred to No. 5 as the “complete package.” Wrote Limback in his senior tribute, “Carter’s a tremendous basketball talent, a top-notch student in the classroom and is someone with extremely high character. Despite his success, he remains as humble as they come and continues to be a servant leader on this team. A true champion on and off the court.”

Tweeted former assistant coach Lance Korell, “Carter is a guy you want your daughter to marry. Incredible person and the definition of a student-athlete.”

When it comes to the way he carries himself and his impeccable grade-point average, Kent reminds one of former All-American Chandler Folkerts. Rarely does Kent show a ton of emotion or ever get too high or too low. His competitive fire burns differently than some others. It’s easy to see the impact he’s had on those who know him. Every Kent accolade or milestone achieved comes with an outpouring of congratulatory social media posts and responses.

It’s fitting when good things happen for good people. It’s been a storybook final collegiate season for Kent, who may need some time yet to process the zaniness of the 2021-22 campaign. Said Kent, “It’s been a crazy few weeks with a lot of crazy games. There has been a lot of emotion and a lot of highs and lows. Having three court stormings has been crazy. We’ve had some fun environments. I’m just really proud of how the team has stayed together and worked through so much to get to where we are. Winning the regular season is tough, but winning the regular season and winning the tournament is really tough. It shows how we’ve worked as a team throughout the years.”

So which of those moments stands above the rest for Kent? As you can probably guess, Kent isn’t going to talk up a game simply because he scored a ton of points. It’s hard to beat the feeling of going out with a championship in your final home game ever.

“Winning the conference championship at home was probably the coolest feeling,” Kent said. “Cutting down the nets in Walz was pretty special. We’ve been around for a while now and seeing all that work put in in that arena and seeing us be able to celebrate in that arena was really cool. It was awesome cutting down the nets and seeing all the people there to support the team. That was really special. When we won at Dakota Wesleyan (in 2020), it was a crazy environment but doing it at home was really awesome.”

The season became even more special when the team learned it was assigned to Omaha for the opening round of the national tournament. No doubt there will be a large contingent of family on hand to root for Carter.

Said Kent, “I think it’s great being that close and having family and friends come to the game. I’m excited for that and happy it gets to happen in Nebraska. Hopefully we can enjoy the moment with our team and all the people there to support us.”

Along the journey, the number of supporters for Kent keeps growing. His character won people over within the Crete community where he left as the Crete High School all-time leading scorer with 1,215 points. After Kent made the game winner against Doane, Crete and Concordia teammate Klay Uher tweeted, “He really is that guy.”

‘That guy’ is more than just a big-time scorer who may soon pass Director of Athletics Devin Smith for fifth place on the school’s all-time scoring list. Kent will never be the type to brag about something like that. Said Kent, “I’ll let him try to poke fun at me. If it happens, it happens. It’s all right. He worked so hard during his time here. It’s just cool to be where we’re at as a team. That’s the biggest thing.”

Kent can deflect the praise all he wants, but he’s earned his share of it. There’s a reason why Kent has even caught the admiration of youngsters within the community. They will have a lot to live up to if they want to be the next Carter Kent, a future veterinarian. Along with his teammates, Kent has found a way to captivate Bulldog fans, who have collectively wrapped their arms around Concordia Men’s Basketball in 2021-22. This season has made the curly-haired Kent about as recognizable as anyone on campus.

Said Kent, “There have been a lot of great memories that I know a lot of us are never going to forget.”