Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
When Lamar Stevens and Tony Carr were AAU teammates together in middle school, they talked about growing up and going to college together.
Back then, it was a dream. Now, that dream is getting a lot more real.
Stevens, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound wing, and Carr, a 6-4, 180-pound point guard, are hauling in a rather similar list of high-major offers during their final summer of AAU ball, and they’re very interested in continuing a great friendship and on-court chemistry at the Division I level.
“It’s 90 to 95 percent,” Carr said after his Team Hardnett squad advanced to the Donofrio Classic championship game on Monday night.
“We’ve been telling a couple of coaches that we do want to play together,” said Stevens, who came to watch and support. “We’ve been talking about it seriously on a consistent basis.
“I’m keeping all my options open, I’m considering everything,” he added. “But [playing with Tony] is also something I’m seriously considering.”
The two are used to being teammates.
They played together at Abington Friends in eighth and ninth grade, before Carr transferred to Roman Catholic and Stevens to the Haverford School during the summer of 2013. They reunited on the AAU circuit last year when Carr left Philly Triple Threat to join Nike-backed Team Final, and now the plan is to play one final season of high school basketball together; Stevens has announced his intention to transfer to Roman Catholic.
As it stands after the first live period of the 2015 AAU season, they both have 10 offers. Carr has Florida State, George Washington, Georgetown, Indiana, La Salle, Maryland, Penn State, Rhode Island, Temple and Xavier; Stevens has East Carolina, Indiana, La Salle, Maryland, Penn State, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Temple, Villanova and Xavier.
That leaves them already with eight schools recruiting both: Indiana, La Salle, Maryland, Penn State, Rhode Island, Saint Joseph’s, Temple and Xavier. And that list could be growing shortly, Stevens said he was expecting a call from Florida State shortly, and plenty of other schools were watching the pair at the first stop on Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), this past weekend at Boo Williams in Virginia.
Both have been on the Division I radar since freshman year, so all the attention from college is nothing new for the pair. What is different now, however, is that they’ll be making their college decision in just a few months--both said a fall decision was likely--and need to start seriously considering the schools recruiting them.
“It’s crazy, I was thinking that to myself today, that it’s actually here now,” Carr said. “Coming up pretty fast, I’m going to have to make a decision about where I’m going to play college ball, and that’s going to be one of the biggest decisions of my life.”
They both agreed that geography won’t play a role in their final decision,
“We’re looking for somewhere we can both come in and make an immediate impact, we feel like we’re both players that can do that,” Stevens said.
“That doesn’t mean starting or being a star player, I just want to contribute in some kind of way,” Carr added. “Doesn’t matter if it’s right around the corner or across the country.”
Here’s what the pair said about a few of the schools recruiting them:
Carr: “Indiana’s a great school, they have a great tradition. I’ve been watching them this whole season, they have a great offense, pretty much five-out, swing the ball, everybody makes plays and they have a good coach it seems like, i’ve been talking to [assistant] coach [Chuck] Martin, he seems like a cool dude and they love my game, so that seems like a plus.”
Stevens: “I think the school’s a great school, they have a historic basketball program, so it’s hard not to like them. [I’ve] talked to the coaches a lot, they talk to my parents a lot, so we have a pretty good relationship there. Tone also likes it, even though they just offered, they’ve been talking for a while now, since the beginning of the high school season.”
Carr: “I’ve developed a good relationship with the Maryland coaches, coach [Mark] Turgeon, coach Cliff [Warren], coach Bino [Ranson], they’re pretty good dudes. They tell me they love my game and I could step in and be the point guard of the future, good stuff like that.”
Stevens: “I’ve also talked to Maryland for a while, since the beginning of the high school season, and they just recently offers. Tone’s always spoke highly of Maryland to me, and I’ve always been interested in Maryland. They’re in a really good conference, like Indiana, I like what they do like players like me, they do good stuff with their point guards, like Dez Wells and Melo Trimble.”
Carr: “Coach [Pat] Chambers is a great guy, I could tell he genuinely loves me and my former teammate Shep Garner goes there so that’s a plus, it makes the transition easier. Penn State is a great school also.”
Stevens: “[We] have a really good relationship with coach Chambers and the entire coaching staff, we talk a lot. That’s also another school we’d consider, they’re in a really good conference and I think they’re up-and-coming.”
Carr: “Temple’s a great school and it is one of the first schools that offered me so I’ve got to keep that in mind, they were the first ones that fell in love with me. And it’s right around the corner, so I can stay close to home and my family can come to all the games, so that’s always a thought.”
Stevens: “With Shawn Alston going there, he’s been talking to me a lot about it. With them now hiring Aaron McKie, we had a good relationship before he even got hired, so that’s also a really good place and I think that’s a good conference, with UConn and Memphis and schools like that. It’s somewhere that’s also high on our list and we’re going to keep in big consideration.”
Carr: “They recruited us freshman year but I don’t know how serious that was. But now that they’ve both offered, that’s good. I don’t really know much about it, I know they had good guards like Tu Holloway, that’s all I know, but they seem to be a great school, I watched them in the tournament, they went kind of deep, so I’m sure they’re good.”
Stevens: “They came in kind of out of the blue, sort of. But I’ve definitely talked to them. I watched them in the tournament, I also like their success, I think they said they were in the Sweet 16 four or five times in the last eight years. I watched them during the tournament really, they looked good and I will definitely consider that.”