Exactly one year ago this upcoming week Mississippi lost a true hard court legend in Gerald Snyder. A couple weeks ago Mississippi lost its other hoops legend. Mr. Gerald and Omhar Carter were two founding fathers of Mississippi high school basketball. Both had the vision to see way beyond the rest of the people here. Both were revolutionary in their respective paths they took to put Mississippi basketball on the map. I know this would never happen but I’d love to see a whole section for each of these Legends in our high school sports Hall of Fame. Why not? Because both of them thought outside of the box and were not necessarily in tight with the powers that be at the local state associations. Both of these guys were my “basketball” best friends and I can say first hand that we wouldn’t be close to where we are today as a state without these two sitting on the baselines. They are the two best to ever enter a high school gym in the Magnolia State. I spent many hours every day talking to them and soaking up as much knowledge as I possibly could before they left us too soon.
The last year I didn’t talk to Omhar as much as I used to because the last time I talked to him I told him to concentrate on his battle and we would get back to hoops as soon as he defeated it. He was so hard headed I just knew he was going to whip it. Unfortunately for us, this nasty disease took him from us. I know Jo and the kids will miss Omhar so much but I just hope they know how much more this world will miss him. He made such an impact on so many people of all age groups. This world is short on true difference makers and he was one of them. I’m not only talking about players of all ages but every single person that came in touch with him thru the game. I’ve seen how he has impacted coaches on every level, high school, aau and college. I’ve seen his impact on referees, media, scouts, tournament organizers and parents. I listen to a lot of people. I know most of you think that I stand around and talk a lot, which I do, but I listen a lot too. I’ve actually, personally, heard each of these talk about how much or what Omhar has done for them over time.
As far as on the court, I don’t know if there is much more than I can say about his accomplishments. He trained and help make the dreams come true of so many kids. He was know as one of the best trainers in the country. His ideas of kids going prep were not liked by some but it was proven to work. He was a trend setter that had a vision way before it became popular to do so. He also had the very un-Mississippi like idea of kids 6-7 and up playing guard and shooting three’s and handling the ball. What a crazy idea for kids in Mississippi to do that. They are supposed to play around the basket with their back to it. Look how his ideas turned out with all the high major and pro players he created. I’ve heard a lot of the bad things that people say about him and nasty rumors but I can confirm that I’ve never seen him do anything that wasn’t beneficial to the kids. Keep in mind that success breeds jealousy and haters.
My relationship with Omhar was genuine off the bat. He treated me with respect from day one and invited me into his bubble without hesitation. I’ve been told that I’m one of the few that would actually tell Omhar what I thought his kids needed to improve on when most wouldn’t dare enter into a conversation like that with him. And by the way, no matter what I thought about one of his kids he’d go down to the wire defending every one of them as high majors or pros. Most people don’t even know how much he defended even the last guy on the bench and tried to get them pushed to a level way higher than they “deserved.” He didn’t just try to push the superstars. We worked hard together and one of the best compliments he ever gave me was when he called me the “white version of him.” Most would say, hey you can’t say that but to me that was one of the best compliments that I have ever received.
Omhar, my guy, you will never know how much I’m going to miss all of our conversations on the phone, sitting in bleachers or standing around at the MBA. I’ve lost the two guys that were “MY” basketball guys in the last year. Mississippi has lost the best two guys to ever step foot in the gyms. I’m sure Omhar is putting together a team right now for Gerald to scout. I know it’ll be a good one fam.