BOURBON — A year ago in the spring of 2011, then-Triton sophomore Quentyn Carpenter had a decision to make: Continue playing with the Trojans’ successful basketball team or get serious about his first love and quit the team to pursue golf full-time.
It wasn’t an easy choice but Carpenter stood firm, and he was given a measure of vindication when he signed on with the Ball State’s men’s golf team last week.
“If I could’ve played basketball and golfed I would have, but just for the fact of going to college and being able to play golf in college, basketball wasn’t really the way to go for that, and so I had to make a decision,” Carpenter said. “By working on my game all year round it’s improved me and gotten me to big places.”
There were plenty of incentives for Carpenter to continue his career with Trojans basketball.
The starting point guard for Triton, Carpenter put up 125 points while running the team’s offense as a sophomore in 2010-11, when the Trojans went all the way to the Class A State Finals — the program’s third trip to Conseco in four years.
In a basketball-oriented community like Bourbon, Carpenter’s decision wasn’t always viewed as a positive one. Add to that the fact of his impressive hoops pedigree — father Jack and older brother Griffyn are both former record-holders with the Trojans basketball program — and he was in a real dilemma. But described by his father as having a driving clarity of vision for the future with a resolution to match, Quentyn stayed strong and decided to dedicate himself year-round to the sport that would offer him the best chances at the next level.
“From a father’s standpoint I just know the kind of work that Quentyn’s put into it,” said Jack Carpenter, who is also Quentyn’s golf coach at Triton. “I know the sacrifices with basketball that he’s taken a lot of heat for from the community — some of it good-natured and some of it not so good-natured. But he’s the type of kid that is very goal-oriented. He’s not swayed by peer pressure, which is good. As a father for selfish reasons I still wish he was playing basketball, but from what he’s been able to to with his golf tournaments — we travel all the time and he’s been playing exceptionally well — I’ve got to commend him for that, sticking to his guns and having the work ethic to see it through. Obviously this is what he wanted. It paid off. He’s going to school at a very good program; they’re ranked in the top 40 right now with four seniors graduating so it’s exactly what he was looking forward to.”
While the Carpenters may be a basketball family, they’re also a golf family.
Griffyn was himself a golfer and Jack is the head coach of both Triton’s boys and girls golf programs. In fact, it was Quentyn’s cousin T.J. who first pointed the Cardinals in Quentyn’s direction after the elder Carpenter cousin signed on with Ball State to become the first Division I Trojans golf alum in 2008.
Not that the Mid-American Conference program needed more than a little nudge.
Quentyn wrapped up his freshman season with a 14th-place finish in the 2009 IHSAA State Golf Finals and followed up with a 24th-place result in the 2010 state meet as the only Triton golfer to make the cut to the second round of the state golf tilt not once but twice. As a junior last spring, his 74.9-stroke average left him just .6 of a stroke off the Trojans record set by T.J. during his time at Triton. And he just finished up a strong fall season as well with four top five finishes in five starts.
“The opportunity to go to Ball State and continue my golf career is great. I’m honored to do it,” Quentyn said. “Ball State’s really taken off, and the thing I like about Ball State is they always stuck with me. The past two summers I haven’t had the greatest summers, but they stuck with me and were always there following me and sending me emails and keeping up with me. So it was really great to have them there for me.”
“I just hope he continues to work as hard as he does now,” said Jack. “He’s got some lofty goals for himself. He’s going into the entrepreneurship program down there, which eventually he wants to use as his catalyst to continue his golf career.”
It’s Quentyn’s focus and hard work more than anything else that has pushed him to the heights he’s reached. But he also points to the support he’s received at home, support that has helped make a hard decision worthwhile.
“I’d just really like to thank my dad for giving me all my opportunities,” said Quentyn. “I know he doesn’t hear it enough from me, but I couldn’t do half of the things I do without that guy. He’s always there for me, always taking me to tournaments, and anything I need he’s always right there for me. I couldn’t ask for a better dad or a better coach.”