The Appalachian Athletic Conference’s Men’s Basketball Player of the Year is grateful to Tidewater Community College. That’s where Byron Carpenter got his start playing college basketball. The 6-7 forward from Virginia Beach’s Kempsville High School attended TCC for four semesters beginning in 2008. He starred for two seasons on the TCC Storm, leading the team to the VCCS Conference championship game in 2010. Despite the Storm’s loss to Southside Virginia College, Carpenter was named MVP of the tournament.
“TCC helped me become a better leader,” said Carpenter, finishing his sophomore year at NAIA Division II Bluefield College. “I felt like the team there was my team, and I was supposed to lead.”
Carpenter led Bluefield this season with 21.4 points per game and a conference-best 8.3 rebounds per game. Bluefield fell in the NCCAA Regional semifinals to Tennessee Temple, 100-95.
“As far as the team here, it reminds me of my TCC team,” Carpenter said. “Just like TCC, we had good chemistry; we all liked each other; and we all like to play with each other.”
Carpenter said when he returns to Hampton Roads, he plays pickup basketball with his former TCC teammates.
He also credits TCC’s academics for helping him meet the classroom demands at Bluefield.
“I learned a lot in my English classes and in my history and writing classes, especially about writing and structuring papers,” he said. “TCC prepared me well to go to a four-year, high level college.”
An exercise and sports science major, Carpenter would like to eventually coach or be a sports manager. As for March Madness, he’s confident in this.
“I like UNC,” he said. “North Carolina is my team all the way.”