Tony Carr Poised For Breakout Sophomore Year
Penn State point guard Tony Carr is entering his second year as the leader of Pat Chambers’ offense. Carr led the team last season averaging 13.2 points and 4.2 assists per game. He was only the second freshman in Penn State history to average at least 13 points, four rebounds, and four assists per game.
The point guard from Roman Catholic High School made some noise this offseason when Penn State’s strength and conditioning coach tweeted out that Carr gained more than 20 pounds of muscle.
— Greg Miskinis (@greg_miskinis) October 11, 2017
Carr confirmed at the team’s media day that he’s up to 205 pounds after entering his first year at around 184. The added weight is going to be a huge benefit to Carr’s game in the Big Ten. With his ability to get to the rim, the extra muscle is only going to help him be more efficient in getting to his spots on the court.
Bigger players won’t be as easily able to deter Carr’s drives to the basket this year compared to last season. It’ll also be tougher for smaller point guards to get by Carr on the defensive end as his size can help dictate the flow of the play.
The added weight can add a couple new dimensions to Carr’s game, and it can help take some of the skills he already had to the next level. For example, against smaller point guards, Carr can take his man down into the post — especially if Chambers has a small ball lineup featuring Lamar Stevens at the five that can help give Carr space down low to operate.
It also seems apparent that Carr is ready to take the next step in becoming one of the team’s main leaders. Freshman walk-on Taylor Nussbaum said Carr has been the biggest influence on him so far in his short-time on campus.
“[Carr’s] really done a great job of being a leader,” Nussbaum said. “He’s a great teammate to be around. He’s a great player and I have a lot to learn from him.”
In addition to helping some of the newcomers to the team, Carr has embraced the role of the team’s floor general and one of the leaders of the whole team. Chambers said a big point of emphasis for Carr this offseason was improving off the court, specifically as a leader.
“We really talked about leadership, consistency, facial expressions, body language. We want to try to control our emotions,” Chambers said. He referenced few technical fouls Carr received last season, but added it’s all part of the growth and maturation process.
Carr agreed with Chambers on the areas that he needed to improve on in the offseason. “There was definitely times last year where I lost my cool and let my emotions get the best of me,” Carr said. “I watched a whole lot of film during the offseason for things that I could do better and how I could handle situations differently, so I’ve definitely been making it a key point.”
Chambers did say that Carr is on the right track to improve those key areas, but won’t know for sure until actual games start. Carr is in the top three on the team in the “Attitude” leaderboard the team keeps track of.
“That just shows you where his head is. He wants to compete, he wants to get guys better, and he wants to bring everybody along,” Chambers said.
Carr was able to take a trip to California this summer to take part in the Nike Basketball Academy. During the trip, he competed against other top Division I players and trained with past and present NBA players.
“I took a whole lot from that experience,” Carr said. “Just learning from all of those NBA guys and coaches out there. And just playing against the best players in college right now, it was great on a day-to-day basis competing and learning little tips here and there.”
Chambers and his squad will be looking to make the NCAA tournament for the first time during his head coaching tenure at Penn State. The Nittany Lions will open the new season on Nov. 10 when Carr and the rest of the team take on Campbell University at the Bryce Jordan Center.
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