Carr’s legend is big enough that NBA players are lining up to get a piece. The Washington Wizards’ John Wall came to see him play last season and asked Carr to work out with his little brother. Carr says he has cellphone numbers for both Wall and Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Naturally, Carr draws comparisons to both Bogues and Shawnta Rogers, another diminutive Baltimore point guard who had a stellar career at George Washington University and overseas as a pro.
“Remember,” says longtime Baltimore hoops fixture Bob Wade, who coached Bogues at Dunbar High, “they said Muggsy could never make it. But he changed the game.”
As a freshman at Patterson, Carr went for a triple-double in his debut. He put up 39 points and 19 assists on
, now a Memphis Grizzles rookie, when Patterson played Selby’s Lake Clifton High. As a sophomore, he scored 57 against Forest Park (Md.), breaking his school’s 50-year old single-game record. He dunked on 6-5 forward
, now a freshman at the
University of Maryland
, in what the Baltimore Sun dubbed “the dunk heard ’round Baltimore.”
Last April, playing for Team USA in an international under-19 tournament in Italy, Carr put up 45 points and was carried off the court by the Italian fans. Within days he had a contract offer from an Italian professional team reported to be for $750,000.
“Nah,” Aquille laughs when asked if Italy is still a possibility. “I’m not going over there.”
In Baltimore, where there hasn’t been a pro team since the Bullets left for Washington in 1973, and where there are no big-time collegiate programs, high school hoops is a religion — an urban, indoor “Friday Night Lights” — and Carr is its spiritual leader.
On the court, his best moves turn spectators into revival-tent congregants, rising to their feet, waving their arms, dancing in the aisles, testifying — moved by the spirit of something that feels close to holy.
“God,” Tammy Carr says, “gave this child a gift.”
A hard neighborhood
How can this kid ever hope to make it?
This is east Baltimore. And it’s hard out here. You know all the social ills: Crime. Drugs. Broken homes. Bad schools. It’s no wonder Carr calls himself a homebody. There’s nothing good going on outside.
“I don’t really pay it no mind,” he says. “I just do what I have to do in school and practice, [and] chill with my family.”
“The biggest motivation these kids have,” says Harry Martin, Patterson’s head coach, “is to walk out their front doors and take a look around.”