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Vol. LX, No. 5
March 07, 2008

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NIH’er Scores Big with D.C. Basketball

By day, Melvin Carter is a committee management specialist at NIAAA; by night he is a well-respected whistleblower in D.C.
By day, Melvin Carter is a committee management specialist at NIAAA; by night he is a well-respected whistleblower in D.C.

To his colleagues, Melvin Carter is the friendly, down-to-earth committee management specialist at NIAAA. To insiders in D.C.’s middle-school athletic community, he is a respected up-and-coming coach, part of an extended network that makes up the city’s legendary hoops scene. And to his players on St. Gabriel’s seventh and eighth grade boys’ basketball team, he’s their play-calling, whistle-blowing, eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head, sees-everything Coach Carter.

That’s a good thing, because Carter represents their first taste of the competitive Metro area basketball scene. Each week, he prepares the team to go up against the region’s best competition. A recent highlight was the first annual Gonzaga College High School Holiday Invitational Basketball Tournament. Attracting teams from D.C., Maryland and Virginia, the event is one of the largest for this age group held in the mid-Atlantic.  

Participating in such tourneys, Carter knows that he is watching the superstars of the future. “The competition is intense,” he says. “Most of the players on these teams go on to play high school basketball—and many will become college stars.”   

A District native himself, Carter has helped many aspiring players. Following high school, he went on to play for the U.S. Air Force team based in Sardinia, which competes in the professional league in Italy. He understands the dedication required to reach the upper echelons of the sport. Upon returning to Washington, he brought his skills and experience to coaching, with stints at St. Anthony’s middle school and the Metropolitan Police Boys Club.

“It’s a privilege for me to work with these talented young athletes,” he says, “and to remind them of the right way to conduct themselves, both on and off the court.”

Carter shares his dedication and passion for the game beyond his own team. Each spring, he runs a basketball clinic for middle-school youth from all over the region. The program combines basketball fundamentals, guest speakers and league play. The clinic is held on four consecutive Saturday afternoons at a downtown gym.

Participants receive T-shirts, gold medals and best of all, instruction and advice from such basketball luminaries as DeMatha’s Mike Jones, O’Connell’s Joe Wootten and Gonzaga’s Steve Turner. For more information about the Mel Carter Basketball Clinic, call (202) 635-8082. NIHRecord Icon

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