Penn State guard Tony Carr (10) drives against Utah forward Donnie Tillman (3) during the fourth quarter of Nittany Lions’ 82-66 win in NIT championship in New York. It will be Carr’s last college game as he said on Monday in a PSU press conference that he intends to hire an agent and enter the NBA Draft.(
SAN ANTONIO – Why would Tony Carr commit to hiring an agent when he could "test the waters" of the NBA and spend the next two months getting additional feedback and weighing his options? Because it’s time.
Maybe not everyone’s time, but his time. And when it’s your decision and you feel it, you just need to jump – even if seems reckless to some.
As Cat Stevens once put as the kid in the seminal Father & Son:
Now there’s a way and I know
That I have to go away.
I know I have to go.
As for the notion that Penn State would have been really good, very likely nationally ranked with Carr next season, this discards out of hand the fact that many college players do not enter a university with the intent of making the basketball program better. Any more than gifted physicists enter with the intent of making a science college better. They want to learn in order to earn.
Hopefully, you work and play well with others during your time in a program. After all, even a cynical player knows being a good teammate will be seen as a positive by employers.
But Penn State basketball fans have never had to even consider before the concept of a true sophomore being able to do what Carr about to do. They can only look at this decision from the view of their loss.
Now, should he have committed to an agent? From a reasoned standpoint of calculated economic risk?
Probably not. In my mind, it doesn’t really make sense to commit unless you can be assured of being chosen in the first round – guaranteed 2-year salary and roster spot – rather than taking your chances even early in the second round where you can cut a deal but get no assurances of a spot in October.
And I think Carr has work to do to shore up his game. As I’ve written before, he doesn’t play fast enough at either end because he hasn’t been forced to in the Big Ten. He gets away with too much both in his post-up and face-up game because he doesn’t meet the sizable defensive athletes he will in the NBA.
Specifically, he will go up against defenders his size who can both aggressively close out on his set-shot three launched from his forehead and at the same time deal with his very good handle. Carr does not have a first-step burst to back them off.
Pointing all this out may make me sound overly negative about Carr and I’m not at all. He has a lot of terrific attributes. He’s very strong with the ball both on the bounce and during his moves to the hole. His reach gives him the ability to play more like a 6-7 guy than 6-5. His hand-eye coordination is elite-level. You don’t see teammates the way he has lately and shoot .433 from the arc with 88 3PGs by accident. And he has the frame to improve as a defender even though his quickness and rise are average.
Exactly who drafts him will mean a lot. I think a slower-paced team would benefit Carr – the Bucks (33rd overall pick) or the Kings (36th) – are good fits. The problem is, neither is a stable shop right now. And Carr doesn’t really jibe with a high-rev outfit of the type that is setting the trends and topping the standings.
So, it’s like this: Carr can decide to go to the NBA. But it’s not really his decision. It’s The League’s decision. And the NBA is a merciless judge.
EMAIL/TWITTER DAVID JONES: firstname.lastname@example.org