Patterson's Aquille Carr quickly becoming a Baltimore legend on basketball court
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Aquille Carr does not look all that special. He is somewhat generously listed at 5 feet 7, in sneakers, including hair. He weighs 145 pounds.
Small in stature, large in legend. And the latter is only growing as the sophomore guard from East Baltimore leads Patterson High into the Maryland 4A state final Saturday against No. 2 North Point at Comcast Center.
He has a bunch of nicknames: The Computer, Aquille the Deal and, most notably, The Crime Stopper.
Why Crime Stopper? Because when Carr is on the court, crime comes to a halt around Baltimore as everyone flocks to see him play.
"I don't even remember all the nicknames, they call me so much stuff," said Carr, something of a YouTube sensation - one video of his highlights has registered nearly a half-million hits.
Eight times this season, Patterson Coach Harry Martin said, the Clippers moved home games from their smallish gymnasium to Morgan State University to accommodate larger crowds. When the team plays at its school, fans start lining up early in the afternoon to get a seat.
Then you watch Carr play, and it becomes quickly apparent that he's a player whose substance meets the hype.
"We talked about trying to ignore a lot of the show," Eleanor Roosevelt Coach Brendan O'Connell said Thursday night after the Raiders lost to Patterson, 67-59, in a Maryland 4A semifinal. "But he's really good."
Carr picked up two quick fouls in the game and spent much of the first half on the bench. And he endured an off shooting night, making 8 of 25 shots from the field. Still, he finished with 25 points (seven below his average), 4 steals and 3 assists as Patterson (25-1) advanced to the title game against North Point (26-0).
"Pound for pound, he's the best player in the country," Martin said. "Once he gets in a rhythm, when other teams try to check him, he takes it as a challenge. I don't know if I'd want to be that defender without a lot of help coming."
Said one college coach who has seen Carr multiple times this season, speaking on the condition of anonymity because NCAA rules prohibit discussion of potential recruits: "He's obviously entertaining to watch. He's an explosive athlete, as quick as he is. He's incredible."
With each game, Carr - who is older than most sophomores, having turned 17 in September; he said he repeated first grade after initially being home schooled - adds another chapter to his lore, or converts another believer. Against Roosevelt, he showed the ability to keep defenders at bay and, just when it seemed he was ready to shoot, find an open teammate for a basket.
He is poised to join a pair of former diminutive point guards from Baltimore who made big splashes, Shawnta Rogers (5-4) and Muggsy Bogues (5-3) - whose games, Carr has said, have been influences on him.
Perhaps the best known Carr story came last year, when he delivered what is now known as the "dunk heard around Baltimore." On a fast break, Carr dribbled down the court, with his sights set on dunking the ball. Nick Faust of City College High, who this past fall signed a letter-of-intent to play for Maryland, went up for the block only to have Carr - giving up at least eight inches - slam it home.
As soon as the ball went through the basket, the story goes, those in attendance began sending text messages to friends at the Lake Clifton-Dunbar game to tell them what they had missed.
"Nick Faust thought he had the angle and tried to block it," Martin said. "Aquille kept rising up and threw it down at him."