Tony Carr is mature beyond his years on the court.
The freshman guard out of Philadelphia is just beginning his career with the Nittany Lions, but he’s been entrusted by his teammates and coach Pat Chambers to be one of the young team’s leaders as it hits the homestretch of the season.
“Tony is ready for that torch,” Chambers said. “He’s ready, he’s willing, and we’re going to give it to him. He’s going to be right there alongside the other captains.”
As one of just two players on the team to start in each game this season, Carr’s been leaned on through much of the slate as he’s getting his feel for the college game.
For Chambers, that’s what he wants in his leaders — the ability to be there when you’re needed at all times. While Carr hasn’t always succeeded with the game on the line down the stretch, he’s the one who always wants the ball — illustrated in the latest clash against Rutgers with Carr once again getting the last shot on the final possession.
As Carr continues his time with the Nittany Lions, he’s going to be expected to continue to step up in those late game situations.
“Being a leader, it’s like being a parent. There’s no day off. You have to lead every single day, every minute of every day,” Chambers said. “This younger group needs to understand that how hard you have to work, how dialed in you have to be, the focus, and being present. You need to have that.”
There’s no shortage in confidence for the freshman.
With a high basketball IQ and the skills to match, Carr was always going to be a dangerous player leading the Nittany Lions. Add in the leadership skills he’s accrued throughout his basketball playing days and you have something special ready to lead this team into the future.
A captain’s type role is something he had throughout high school with teammates Lamar Stevens and Nazeer Bostick at Roman Catholic, and he wanted it to continue as soon as he arrived at Penn State.
“I was trying to step up and be the leader since I got here,” Carr said. “For Coach to put that title on me now is kind of a little more responsibility, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Carr hasn’t been on campus all that long, but he exudes experience with his actions on the court, much like upperclassmen Shep Garner, Josh Reaves, and Payton Banks. Even without the tangible experience of a couple seasons with the team, there isn’t a doubt in Chambers’ mind that his young point guard is set for the next step.
“He’s ready for it,” Chambers said. “He wants that pressure, that responsibility. He understands what it means. We had a long talk about it. It’s about taking care of business. It’s about every little thing you need to do to help this program be great.”
At the end of the day for Carr, it’s still all about making an impact on the court and letting that rub off on his teammates. He’s planning on letting his new role increase his drive even more so.
“I just want to continue to lead by example,” Carr said. “I just want to step my game up and become one of the hardest workers on the team even more now because I’m the ‘captain.'”