Garrison Carr had drifted into a bit of a funk. It was bad enough that his shot wasn’t falling, particularly from three-point range, but his poor shooting was starting to affect other parts of his game. He was becoming careless with the ball and he wasn’t grabbing many rebounds. After American’s loss to Holy Cross, in which Carr had as many turnovers as field goals and zero rebounds, Eagles Coach Jeff Jones sat down the senior guard for an individual film session.
“It had absolutely nothing to do with shooting,” Jones said. “He can’t worry about the shooting. The shots maybe are going to be there, maybe they’re not. What we have to have from Garrison is continued defensive effort, sticking his nose in there and getting some opportunistic rebounds, taking care of the basketball. If he takes care of those things, we might not win pretty, but at least we have a chance to win. And then if he does those things and he gets some open looks and he knocks down the shots like he did [against Navy], then that’s even better for us.”
Carr seemed to break out of his shooting slump in American’s 68-67 victory at Navy on Wednesday night, scoring 28 points, including sinking the game-winning three-pointer with 31 seconds to play. He went 10 of 16 from the floor, including 7 of 11 from behind the arc.
“I’ve thought about [shooting woes] throughout the season, but then it’s nothing I was worried about because I know once I go into practice when I’m shooting around, I know how the ball feels,” Carr said. “It’s just a matter of me transitioning it to the games. I’m not going to stress over making or missing shots because I know how well I can shoot.”
Though his shooting touch seems to have returned, Carr still needs to work on his ball-handling and rebounding. When Navy wasn’t allowing point guard Derrick Mercer to handle the ball, Carr brought it up the court, but turned it over three times in the first five minutes of the game. He finished with four turnovers and no rebounds.
“If you start worrying about certain things, then sometimes that tends to take away from other areas,” Jones said. “We just wanted Garrison to know that, yeah, we count on him a lot to shoot the ball, but we don’t want him putting extra pressure on himself. We just want him to do what we ask of everybody, which is play really hard, play great defense, be a good teammate. If he does that, he’s a good enough shooter, we can run stuff for him, that eventually he’s going to get some open looks. [The opponents] might make it tougher [for him to score], but good things will happen. But if he worries, if he presses, then that can take a toll on anybody.”
January 29, 2009; 6:06 AM ET
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