NEW YORK — Let’s play a quick game of word association. I’ll say a word and you tell me immediately what comes to mind.
I’d bet a dollar to a donut that your response was either “Football”, “Saquon Barkley”, “Joe Paterno”, “Jerry Sandusky”, “Happy Valley”, or “Nittany Lions.”
Willing to bet the farm that not a one of you said, “Basketball.” And I’m rather certain that even fewer responded with “Tony Carr.”
Well, like Teddy Pendergrass had once crooned, “Wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed!“
On Friday night in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, Penn State was trailing second-seeded Ohio State by a point.
Penn State’s Tony Carr finds a cutting Josh Reaves for the jam vs. Ohio State.
With the rock in his hands as the clock on the wall said, “That’s about all, ya’ll”, Nittany Lions point guard Tony Carr was ready to deliver his moment of truth. Everybody and their grandmoms in Madison Square Garden and watching on television knew that Carr, the conference’s under-the-rader leading scorer, was either going to the bucket or pulling up for jumper.
After all, up until that point the Nittany Lions 6-foot-5 sophomore point guard from Philadelphia had been a one-man offensive wrecking crew, giving the Buckeyes the business with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists.
But as the defense converged on one of the best and smoothest scorers in the country, Carr sent a sweet dish in the direction of the cutting Josh Reaves, who delivered the game-winning dunk with 3.1 seconds to play.
Penn State just might be on the way to the NCAA Tournament with last night’s 69-68 win, and Carr is undoubtedly the main reason why.
Carr has been outstanding for the Nittany Lions all season. Song- Look Alive by BlocBoy JG & Drake Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Comment any suggestions for songs to use or videos to make and I’ll do my best to do all of them!
“It was ‘Fist Two’, basically try to get the mismatch and I was just trying to make a play,” Carr said at the post-game press conference in describing his definitive, game-winning assist. “And Josh basically made the play. He made a great cut. I was just out there dribbling around. Josh made a great play. And I thank God I found him.”
Penn State had been trailing by four, but scored the final five points to advance to Saturday afternoon’s semifinal matchup against third-seeded and No. 8 Purdue.
“I just noticed my man wasn’t looking at me so I took advantage of that,” Reaves said. “And Tony just shows how much of a great player he is to find an open man in a time like that. I was just fortunate enough to make the dunk.”
Carr, who’s averging 20.2 points, 4.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game this year, changed the entire dynamic of how people thought about the future of Penn State hoops when he committed to the school out of prep powerhouse Roman Catholic.
One of the top point guard recruits in the nation coming out of the Class of 2016, his signing sent a loud and strong message that the Nittany Lions had finally penetrated Philadelphia’s fertile, historically great high school hoops scene.
Tony Carr scored 30 points and Penn State routed Ohio State 79-56 on Thursday night to sweep the Buckeyes.
When two of his Roman Catholic teammates, 6-foot-8 forward Lamar Stevens and 6-foot-4 guard Nazeer Bostick, joined him in Penn States 2016 class, it was on like hot cheddar popcorn.
Stevens is Penn States second-leading scorer this season with 15 points while also adding 6.2 boards per contest. Bostick is a key reserve that plays 18 minutes a game. The majority of Penn States rotation players come from the City of Brotherly Love, and if the city’s fans think they’re already drunk on the adrenaline of their recent Super Bowl win, just think of what a deep March Madness run will do.
That imported Philly swag, with Carr leading the way, is a big reason why Penn State, with each game, is changing how people think about Nittany Lions hoops, and why opposing coaches are shaking in their boots at the emergence of a program that looks poised to challenge the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State for Big Ten supremacy.
Penn State’s hoops program has not had a player picked in the NBA Draft since 1999, when Calvin Booth went to the Wizards in the second round. Like Biggie had said, “Things done changed!“, as Carr will be drafted whenever he decides to go pro.
When asked how he felt in carrying the majority of the load for Penn State, Carr said after last night’s win against Ohio State, “…I have the utmost confidence in myself. I put in so much work this offseason. And basically it’s just paying off for me. And my teammates find me in great spots. Coach calls great plays where I’m able to score. And I feel great.”
Tony Carr scored 25 points to lead Penn State to a 69-68 win over Ohio State.
That’s also great for Penn State fans, who can now boast of a serious hoops squad along to go along with their football squad. They need to thank their neighbors in Philadelphia for that. And more specifically, Tony Carr.
So now let’s play that word association game again.
When I say, “Penn State” what comes to mind?
If you don’t say, “basketball”, “Tony Carr” or “One of the best kept secrets in college basketball,” I’ll tell you like Teddy P did, “No more backward thinkin’, time for thinkin’ ahead!”