Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Playing his first game in New Jersey since committing to Seton Hall last week, Aquille Carr put on quite a show for the fans.
With a throng of blue-clad Pirates supporters on hand at the Jersey City Armory, the 5-foot-6, 150-pound guard known as “The Crime Stopper” poured in a game-high 38 points and dished four assists but his Baltimore (Md.) Patterson team lost to St. Benedict’s Prep, 89-63, in the Dan Finn Classic.
“I feel good,” said Carr, a 2013 guard who chose Seton Hall over Baylor, Memphis, Maryland, Texas and Louisville. “I’m glad they came out to see what I’m capable of doing and what they’re going to see in the next two years.”
Seton Hall associate head coach Shaheen Holloway and senior forward Herb Pope — fresh off a tough 56-55 loss at South Florida Friday night — were also in attendance.
Facing a St. Benedict’s team that features several future Division I players — including junior point guard Tyler Ennis, who is no longer considering the Pirates after the Carr commitment — the diminutive Carr sliced and knifed his to the basket for an array of layups and floaters. He also drained four 3-pointers, flashing a smooth stroke from deep.
At one point, he hit the deck and attempted a shot from his butt. The shot didn’t fall, but the crowd loved the attempt.
Aware that he was a fan favorite, the referees also appeared to cut him some slack. Carr was whistled for four offensive fouls, but as many as three others that could have been called were not.
“The fans, they should be pretty excited about what they got,” Patterson coach Harry Martin told SNY.tv. “Thirty-eight points tonight, a kid that’s gonna battle, that’s going to be tough. He’s been trying to get more teammates involved this year, so his numbers are a little down this year. Last year he averaged 32 a game [compared with 22 this year].”
Carr is clearly the best player on his team and, unlike Ennis, doesn’t have a lot of offensive support.
He’s incredibly fast end-to end, which should translate well at the next level.
“With his quickness and the way he angles his body kind of throws some of the big guys off,” Martin said.
Said Ennis, who finished with 20 points and 10 assists: “It’s hard for people to guard him. He was knocking down the jump shot today and when he’s doing that, it’s hard to go zone on him. He gets out in transition so he’s a great player.”
Still, Martin thinks that Carr must develop his mid-range game in order to avoid getting his shot blocked by the bigger players in the Big East.
“He’s gotta learn a little stop-and-pop, floater, that type of thing,” he said.
Martin said he believes Carr will be able to distribute at Seton Hall, assuming he’s surrounded by quality talent. The Pirates will lose Pope and Jordan Theodore after this season, but will still have Fuquan Edwin, Aaron Cosby, Patrik Auda and transfers Brian Oliver and Gene Teague.
“Seton Hall’s got the talent around him,” Martin said. “It depends on what’s around him. In my mind, he’s one of the best passers around, but he’s gotta have someone to pass it to.”
For his part, Carr said the sky is the limit for Seton Hall going forward.
“I think they are a great team and they can shoot for the national championship if they keep working hard,” he said.
Asked by a TV reporter if the 2013 commit had any doubt that he would end up signing with the Pirates, Carr said, “Not any doubt. Not any doubt, I’m going to be a Pirate because that’s what I want to be. I like the atmosphere.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.