To watch a highlight video of Coen Carr is to be in awe of what a 16-year-old body is capable of.
The clips on YouTube are mostly homogenous displays of raw athleticism, but they are spectacular displays — one fastbreak dunk after another, after another. Contained within them are some NBA Slam Dunk Contest classics — between-the-legs jams, left-handed tomahawks, reverse rock-the-baby dunks in which he goes from one side of the rim to the other. It’s an astounding collection of in-game jams from a player who has only been able to dunk for a little over a year.
“The biggest thing about Coen Carr’s game is his explosion,” said Mel Clemmons, Carr’s coach with the Georgia Stars on the Nike travel circuit. “His creativity and of course his athleticism. But it’s really his explosion, his intensity with and without the ball, his ability to get up and down the court at an extremely high rate, get off the ground, explode. It’s extremely exciting to watch and also exciting to be a part of. He’s someone that can get up and down the court, rebound, block shots, and tear the rim off in the blink of an eye.”
Carr, a 6-foot-5 wing from Hampton, Ga., who recently received an offer from Indiana for the Class of 2023, does love putting on a show. He’s very proud of those dunks, especially the reverse, and he doesn’t pass them up or even thinking about slowing down when he gets going downhill in transition. Clemmons said that in one game earlier this spring in the Midwest Mania event in Indianapolis, he scored 22 points in a half and 10 of his 11 field goals were dunks.
“I don’t think we’re really even acknowledging what we’re witnessing,” Clemmons said. “Ten dunks in one half of a game is not normal. It’s probably what Vince Carter was doing at his age.”
But Carr knows he needs to show more if he wants to matter at the next level. Travel circuit games can be run-and-gun affairs that never slow down into halfcourt basketball, but the college game doesn’t work that way, especially when the calendar shifts to January and February and conference games begin. So Carr is looking to show that he has more than one way of scoring.
“I want to get my handle better and my shot better and I want to be able to create shots for myself,” Carr said. “People say I’m just kind of a dunker, but I know I’m more than that, so I’ve got to prove it.”
Carr is first working intently on his outside shot. He’s working with Tony Delk, the former Kentucky point guard who won a national title with the Wildcats in 1996 and then spent 10 years in the NBA with 10 different teams. Delk, a Tennessee native who is a friend of Clemmons, shot 34.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in the NBA and has already made significant changes on Carr’s form in about 2 1/2 weeks of work.
“My shot has been flat,” Carr said. “Everyone has said my shot has been flat. He’s been working on getting my feet under me, getting my feet set and getting my shot up.”
Carr said he’s also been working on handling the ball off ball screens extensively, proving he can handle the ball in those scenarios and create shots for himself and draw attention that will allow him to make plays for others.
“It’s a lot of coming off ball screens and reading situations,” Carr said. “I feel like I can be a 2 guard, someone who doesn’t have to have the ball on their hands and can play without the ball, but also make plays.”
Clemmons believes that too. The explosiveness that makes Carr dynamite in transition should also make him tough off the bounce in the half court and should add arc and range to his jumper.
“He has extremely high lift off the ground, so nobody’s going to block his shot,” Clemmons said. “It’s a work in progress and he’s working on consistency, but he’s working on shooting off the catch, off the bounce, off the pick and roll, off screens, off pin-downs. When we get into a halfcourt set, we’re teaching him how to come off a high screen, go in the corner and look for his shot, or get on the glass for offensive rebounds.”
Carr has value on the glass and on the defensive end. Clemmons said he can defend every position 1-5 at the high school level and should be able to handle 1-4 at the college level. He has a 6-9 wingspan, so he can play bigger than his size.
“He’s so long and his reaction time is so good,” Clemmons said. “Now, he’s a work in progress. If I put him in front of the wrong guard, it can be a problem, but he can defend most of them because he’s so long and so physical. He’s tough.”
Carr’s recruitment is just now starting to pick up momentum. He’s not yet ranked by 247Sports, which lists his only offer as one from Kennesaw State. However, Indiana is one of several programs who have taken notice of him recently. Georgia, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech, Siena and James Madison have offered scholarships. Vanderbilt wants him to visit as does Oregon. The July evaluation period could help that expand as could a change in school. After playing his sophomore year at Dutchtown High School in Hampton, Ga., he will play his junior year at Legacy Early College, a charter school in Greenville, S.C.
With Carr’s profile set to expand significantly, it helps that the Hoosiers got in on him early. As has been the case with most of the players from the Southeast that Indiana has offered so far under first-year coach Mike Woodson, the connection came from assistant coach Yasir Rosemond, an Atlanta native. Carr said he played on Rosemond’s team at a camp two years ago and Rosemond indicated then that if he got to a place where he could recruit him, he would.
“He told me he liked me then, but he didn’t have a job,” Carr said. “I guess he was recruiting me then.”
Carr said he has an understanding of Indiana as a program, noting Victor Oladipo, Yogi Ferrell and Romeo Langford as players who have impressed him over the years. He said he’s only texted with Woodson but is looking to learn more.
“He said he’s really excited to start the process,” Carr said of Woodson. “He said he’s excited to see me in July and at my new school.”
He’ll surely get to see some dunks, but also to see Carr try to prove that there’s more to him.
For more background and video on Carr, GO HERE.
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