"You have to get fired up about what you want," Coach Ken Carter told Gahanna Lincoln High School students.

"You have to get fired up about what you want," Coach Ken Carter told Gahanna Lincoln High School students.

Carter met with GLHS athletes, student council and homeroom representatives last week. He is best known for locking out his undefeated Richmond, Calif., varsity basketball team in 1999 to push athletes to improve their grades.

Carter closed the Richmond High School gym and banned all basketball-related activities. He was prepared to cancel the entire season's programs when 15 of his 45 players were not living up to the classroom achievements they'd agreed to.

His actions inspired the movie "Coach Carter," starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Carter stressed the importance of not being a nag, or a chronic complainer. Eighty percent of the people don't care about your problems and the other 20 percent are glad it is you and not them, he said.

Carter grew up in McComb, Miss., with seven sisters. He said he grew up in a very small town and stressed the importance of honoring one's school, church, community and family.

"I'm so much better from just listening to my sisters," Carter said. "They taught me everything I know about life and everything I know about basketball."

When Carter first started coaching basketball he coached an all-girl team.

The trophy from that season is the only trophy he keeps at home, he said.

He also stressed the importance of using knowledge. He said if you have knowledge but don't speak up, then knowledge is useless.

"Knowledge is not power," he said. "Using knowledge is power."

Students also learned the importance of being nice to everyone they meet. He said the class nerd may one day be their boss.

"Be kind and generous to everyone you meet," Carter said. "I love people."

Having a positive attitude is also important, Carter said.

When he was 7, he found his mother crying because of a lack of money. He took out a sheet of paper and wrote down that one day people would make a movie about him. He also promised to buy her a house so she would never have to work again.

"It took them 35 years to make a movie about me," he said. "If you write things down they are 10 times more likely to come true."

Carter encouraged GLHS students to sign a contract with their friends establishing goals and objectives for their lives. He said friends could help each other achieve those goals.

He said young people have a money-back guarantee. If they go for their dreams and mess up, people will write off the error.

"If you mess up, you're young," Carter said. "You got to get it done. Be excited about life. You got to be sprinting. You got to have some fun."

Carter told students he has seven championship rings. He said it is important to get in the habit of winning.

His family moved to California when he was a freshman. At 5'2" he tried out for the basketball team. He made the freshman team. He made 32 shots in his first game and was moved to junior varsity, where he made 40 baskets and finally moved to varsity.

During his first varsity basketball game, he was standing ready when the coach needed a substitution.

"You have to be ready when the opportunity comes," he said. "If you stay ready you don't have to get ready."

He also addressed his decision to lock his Richmond players out of the gym.

His team had won 16 straight games. He said at 8:30 a.m. everyone in town loved him. By noon everyone hated him because basketball was the only thing going for their kids.

"If that is the greatest thing you have happening, we really have a problem," Carter told them.

GLHS student Paula Lindsay said Carter was a really good speaker and she enjoyed his message.

"I liked all of it," she said.

GLHS student Antonio Turner said he also enjoyed the presentation. The best part of the message was that using knowledge is power.

"He was really entertaining and energetic," Turner added.

Carter's visit was sponsored by Ameriprise Financial in conjunction with Montgomery & Associates. Dwight Montgomery said he had an opportunity to meet Coach Carter last year and decided to get a visit on the calendar.

"I thought it would be really good for the kids," he said. "I think you take everything and tie it back into life."

Carter said he likes speaking with students because young people are one-third of the population but 100 percent of the future.

"I believe in the message," he said.

tstubbs@thisweeknews.com