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Devin Carter, Kings first-round draft pick, had an early entry into the NBA – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SACRAMENTO – Growing up as the son of a former NBA player and assistant coach, Devin Carter had access to people and places most kids can only dream of at a young age.

Carter took full advantage of this, soaking up wisdom from Kings stars like Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins ​​or participating in shooting competitions with Seth Curry.

Whether he had attended the games or not, late at night the younger Carter was quick to tell stories about spending time with the players and then begging his father to go to the gym with him so he could practice what he had learned.

“He said DeMarcus showed him that, or Rondo showed him that,” Anthony Carter told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday. “So he wanted to go to the gym and work on it. I said, 'Whatever you get from either of them, we'll work on it.'”

All those nights in the lab and on the court definitely paid off. Devin followed in his father's footsteps and was selected by the Kings in the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft last week.

Both Carters were at the Golden 1 Center on Tuesday morning to officially introduce Devin to the media in Sacramento. Unlike on draft night, the 22-year-old wore a shirt and seemed very relaxed and ready to start his professional career.

“I'm just really excited to be here in Sacramento,” said Devin, who spent part of his childhood in Roseville playing youth basketball there. “I definitely had a great experience here. I'm just ready to get to work.”

Kings fans share the same passion for Devin. When the Kings' newest rookie arrived at Sacramento International Airport on Monday, he was greeted by a crowd of fans dressed in purple and holding cowbells.

“It was electric,” Devin said. “They were ringing those cowbells, there was purple everywhere. It was great. I definitely feel welcome here.”

The Kings hope he feels just as comfortable on the court.

A two-way star in college and Big East Player of the Year, Devin is projected to be Sacramento's defensive stopper. While he made great strides offensively in his final season in Providence, it was Devin's defense that caught the attention of NBA scouts and propelled him into the first round as a draft prospect.

“The first thing you notice on film with Devin is how hard he plays,” Kings general manager Monte McNair said. “I think it shows on the score sheet and in some of the stats. Basketball is about the ball, and Devin gets the ball. If he misses the shot, he gets it. If he gets the ball loose, he gets it. He takes it from the other team and then throws it in the other basket.

“It sounds simple, but we see it everywhere when we watch him, when we talk to him and when we look at the stats. If all those things are right, we are confident he will make it at the next level.”

As with almost everything in his basketball career, Devin only had to look to his own family for inspiration during his youth.

When asked where he got the inspiration to dedicate much of his game to defense, Devin pointed to the crowd gathered at the Golden 1 Center and then to his father, who was sitting in the front row.

“That came from that guy over there,” Devin said. “All my life I've seen him get on the court through his defense. It's kind of repetitive when you walk around at basketball games and everyone says, 'Your dad was a dog on defense,' and stuff like that. I just try to emulate that as best as I can.”

“At the end of the day, if you're not scoring, if you're not doing anything else, you can at least defend and take that personally. You want to give the coach a reason to put you on, and every coach wants someone who plays defense. I pride myself on that. But for me personally, I think my defense also translates to offense. If I can get a stop or a block or a steal, I can turn that into good momentum on offense. I think that's my lifeblood.”

After Tuesday's press conference, Anthony stood in a corner and spoke quietly about his son's accomplishments. He sounded like a proud papa and, while perhaps a little biased, believes Devin will be a great asset to the Kings.

“It's just a great feeling knowing how hard he worked and how many hours he asked me to go to the gym, whether it was midnight after my games or 5 a.m. before school,” Anthony said. “Being a former NBA player, I knew what it took. So I already had the recipe. All he had to do was listen. I just took him to the gym, told him what to do and he did his job.”

“If it wasn't a particularly good day and he went in there (joking around), I would take him and send him right out of the hall. That would last five minutes, and if he didn't try hard enough, then off he went. I made him think about it.”

In middle school, Devin started doing things that other basketball players his age or older hadn't thought enough about – analyzing film, first with his dad and later, as he got older and learned, on his own.

“I was out coaching and then I would watch (Devin's game) and I'd be like, 'You did this, you did that, you were bad at that, that was great, why didn't you make your shot, why didn't you defend?'” Anthony said. “Then he started watching his own film because he knew I was watching him. He was always honest with himself. He knew when he made mistakes. To this day, there could be a game two years ago and he would tell you every play what happened in that scenario.

“I thought to myself, 'This kid has got it.' His IQ was always there. He was always ahead of the players he played against and, to be honest, some of the players who play in the league today.”

Since the draft, McNair has spoken several times about the impact the Kings believe Devin can have not only this year, but for many seasons to come.

For now, though, Devin wants to focus on improving his mid-range shooting – something his college coach has forbidden him from doing – and continue to push the Kings to make it further into the playoffs.

He spoke with De'Aaron Fox and Malik Monk after the draft, met with Keon Ellis and Colby Jones at the Kings' facilities, and can't wait to work with them and the rest of the Sacramento roster on the court.

“I don't have any rookie goals or anything like that,” Carter said. “My main concern is to win and play the right way.”