Editors Note: Vince Carter scored at the buzzer on a fadeaway 3-pointer to seal a Toronto Raptor 96-94 win Wednesday night, following a 51 point game in a 103-102 victory over Phoenix Sunday, the most points by any single player so far in this NBA season.

Toronto Raptors star Vince Carter insisted he was not bothered when Ray Allen of the Milwaukee Bucks was chosen ahead of him for the final spot on this year's U.S. Olympic basketball team.

His actions on the court suggested otherwise.

When the Raptors played the Bucks on Jan. 14, Carter showed the U.S. Olympic selection committee, not to mention the nation, why he is one of the brightest, young players in the NBA.

Carter set a Raptors record with a career-high 47 points in leading Toronto to a 115-110 victory. For good measure, he added five rebounds, four assists and accidentally gave Allen a bloody nose with his elbow, as he turned up court after grabbing a loose ball.

In his second professional season, Carter has established himself as the NBA's most promising star. Ever since Michael Jordan retired, fans and media have tried to find an heir apparent to his Airness. It seems Carter is ready to fill the role.

Carter left North Carolina after his junior season and was selected fifth overall in the 1998 draft by the Golden State Warriors. In a move the Warriors no doubt wish they had never made, Carter was dealt to the Raptors for No. 4 pick Antawn Jamison. The Warriors even threw in some cash to sweeten the pot for Toronto.

While Jamison has been a solid player for the Warriors, Carter has turned Toronto from a laughingstock to a likely playoff participant. Carter averaged 18.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.54 blocks as a rookie last season. He was the only rookie to lead his team in scoring. He was an easy selection as rookie of the year, garnering 113 of 118 votes. Jason Williams of the Sacramento Kings and Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics were the only other players to receive any votes.

Any worries about Carter suffering a sophomore slump have been for naught. The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder has been even better in his second season. While he has become known for his dazzling dunks and amazing leaping ability, Carter also has worked to improve other areas of his game. Toronto coach Butch Carter told reporters that his team's 23-year-old prodigy has reached just 60 percent of his potential. That's a scary notion for the rest of the NBA.

Carter has worked to improve on his jump shot. Although his coach said more work is needed, the rest of the league has taken notice of the improvement. "Before, you could stay between him and the basket, give up the jump shot and protect yourself against the lob or the drive," Miami Heat assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik told The Sporting News in a January cover story about Carter. "But now you have to honor that, which makes him hard to defend." Carter's pizzazz has made him a favorite among collectors. Many Gem Mint 10 Carter rookies go for more than $100. See the March issue of the Sportscard Market Report or consult the figures below.

Vince Carter 1998-99 Rookie Basketball Card Values

 
No.
Description
NM MT8
MT 9
Gem Mint 10
 
106
Ultra
20
45
250
106
Ultra Gold
45
80
250
106
Ultra Platinum
150
275
300
234
SkyBox Premium
20
40
250
234
SkyBox Premium Star Ruby
200
375
700
199
Topps
5
12
75
199
Topps Chrome
40
75
200
199
Topps Chrome Refractor
110
250
800
118
Upper Deck Encore
12
25
150
65
Upper Deck Ionix
12
25
150
316
Upper Deck
15
35
275
316
Upper Deck Bronze
150
250
500
120
Upper Deck Black Diamond
18
40
200
75
Upper Deck Ovation
12
25
150

source: March 2000 Sportscard Market Report