Penn State basketball looks a lot different this season with the additions of true freshmen and Roman Catholic stars Tony Carr, Nazeer Bostick, and Lamar Stevens, along with redshirt freshman sensation Mike Watkins out of the Phelps school. Pat Chambers’ squad has failed to establish itself as a dominant force in the Big Ten this year, but there’s plenty to be hopeful about in the years to come.
Glimmers of Penn State basketball’s bright future, however, have already begun to show themselves on the court. One of those glimmers has come in the form of Tony Carr, who is having himself a terrific freshman season despite the team’s inconsistent play.
Carr’s size, distributive ability, and poise are all qualities that are reminiscent of some past great, sizable point guards. The freshman’s 6-foot-3 frame has allowed the youngest captain on the team to make significant strides in the rebounding and scoring columns, on top of leading the Nittany Lions in assists. Here are a couple former college stars that went on to excel at the NBA level who Carr stacks up against:
Carr’s tallied 13.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 4.1 APG so far this season. Here’s where some interesting comparisons come in: During Jason Kidd’s freshman season, the 6-foot-4 point guard put up 13 PPG, 4.9 RPG, and 7.7 APG for the Cal Bears. Carr averages 32.4 minutes per game, behind only Shep Garner on the team. Jason Kidd averaged 31.8 minutes per game.
Kidd obviously has the advantage in the assist category, but Penn State is shooting just 41.6 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from three-point range this season. Compare that to a team like Purdue (the Boilermakers are shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc) and you can see that the Nittany Lions simply do not shoot at the same clip as a team like Purdue.
Deron Williams, a recent addition by the Cleveland Cavaliers and another 6-foot-3, former Big Ten point guard, could be an even more appropriate comparison with Tony Carr. Williams, in his freshman year with Illinois, averaged 6.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG, and 4.5 APG in 27.1 minutes of play per game. The three-time All-Star averaged 11.0 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 5.9 APG throughout his collegiate career – numbers which Tony Carr could definitely replicate in time.
The point here is to underscore Tony Carr’s consistency and all-around game as a freshman. These comparisons don’t even take into account the fact that Carr has the ability to completely take over a game when necessary, as he did in the overtime loss against Purdue. Carr is certainly poised to put together a well-rounded résumé as Penn State’s centerpiece.