Saturday, May 26, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Shaquile Carr knows his dream isn’t a popular one with the UNLV community.
Carr, a 6-foot-1 point guard for the 16U Las Vegas Prospects, has a scholarship offer from the hometown Rebels' basketball team. He’s received interest from Utah, UCLA and Oregon, and on Tuesday night after practice, he was supposed to call back Arizona coach Sean Miller. But in his perfect world, Carr, recently ranked by scout.com as the No. 66 overall recruit in the class of 2014, would pass on all those schools for the team he’s been cheering for since childhood: Duke.
“I would make sure I answered that call,” Carr said. “That’s my dream school.”
By the time Carr was born, Duke was already a four-letter word in Las Vegas because of the Rebels’ 79-77 loss to coach Mike Krzyzewski in the 1991 Final Four. That didn’t dissuade Carr from rooting for the Blue Devils and dreaming about playing the point for Coach K.
Whether that happens or not — Carr has yet to be contacted by Duke — he’s trying to put himself in a position where he’ll have his choice of almost any major program in the country. And, to this point in the AAU schedule, he’s done a good job working toward that goal.
The Prospects have played in four tournaments this year, not including this weekend in Dallas, and lost only one game, a six-point defeat to DC Assault in the championship of last month’s Philly Jam Fest. UNLV coach Dave Rice was on hand for that tournament, as were several other national coaches.
The loss was primarily the result of missed free throws, 15-20 of them, and the team was still paying for the errors this week with extra sprints.
Prospects coach Anthony Brown halted drills in order to send players to the line to shoot free throws. At one point, the team missed five in a row, each one followed by sprints up and down the court.
Carr was one of those who missed, a sign that he’s got things to work on just like everybody else. What those things are, exactly, varies depending on with whom you speak.
Carr said he needs to get more confidence in his jump shot. Brown said he wants to see Carr make more hustle plays.
“All the other stuff that everybody likes to talk about, he’s great at that,” Brown said. “But your ultimate point guard, you need him to take charges, you need him to be a leader, you need him to dive for loose balls. That’s what we want him to do.”
What they agree on are his strengths, primarily his ability to set the table and allow the rest of the team to succeed.
“I love passing the ball because my teammates score pretty easily when I give it to them, and that’s an assist for me,” Carr said.
Added Brown, “He gets other guys going without taking a shot, and then when you do look up he’s got 10 points, eight assists, and he rebounds for his size.”
That’s similar to current UNLV point guard and former Prospect Anthony Marshall, who last season averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game. The surface similarities between Marshall and Carr are plentiful, but neither Carr nor Brown draws any comparisons.
“We’re two different players completely,” said Carr, who hasn’t met Marshall.
For one, Brown noted, Carr is already filling up a box score like that, which is more advanced than Marshall was at the same age. Carr has some on-the-court gifts that Marshall had to work hard for, which gives Carr the higher ceiling.
At this point, though, all of that is speculation. Carr will enter his junior year at Canyon Springs High in the fall with a lot of options, and he’s going to sit back and let the recruiting race sort itself out a bit.
“I’m not really worried about it yet,” Carr said.
By the time he begins looking at it more intensely in about a year, the landscape could be completely different. But UNLV will always be the first team to have made an offer, which is often important to a recruit.
Carr made it to two Rebels home games last year and wants to go to them all this year, though with a loaded roster and high expectations, the tickets may be harder to come by. Whenever he does make it to a game, Carr will be able to sit in the stands and watch a Prospects alum leading the team, and then imagine himself doing the same in a couple of years.
He knows he has a lot of work to do, but Carr and Brown both believe a top-flight program will one day be safe in Carr’s hands.
“If I had a Bentley and I gave you the keys, you’d drive it around town and you’d bring it back safely. That’s the same thing with a college coach; I give you the keys to my team, bring it back safely,” Brown said. “And that’s what he does. He might even wash it and wax it for you.”