Versatile Carr could be cornerstone for Pope’s first UK team

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Les Johns is now publisher of the Demon Deacon Digest covering sports at Wake Forest but he knows plenty about the University of Kentucky basketball program.

He wrote for the Kentucky Kernel, UK’s student newspaper, that led to an internship with the Lexington Herald-Leader. He also did freelance writing for the Louisville Courier-Journal before becoming sports editor at the Hopkinsville News Era where he covered UK sports.

Johns believes Kentucky fans are going to be pleased to have Wake Forest transfer Andrew Carr on Mark Pope’s first UK roster.

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“First of all, Andrew Carr is one of the nicest human beings you will ever meet. He’s extremely pleasant and caring, and Big Blue Nation will grow to love him,” Johns said.  “On the court, he’s versatile. Against Duke at Joel Coliseum he dominated in the second half.

“The Wake Forest guards got him the ball in the post and if the double team didn’t come, he was able to back his man down and finish. But if help came, Carr made the right pass to open teammates for perimeter shots. He was the catalyst for that upset win that seemed to have the Deacs on the precipice of making the Big Dance.”

He played two years at Delaware before transferring to Wake Forest for two seasons. He has scored over 1,000 collegiate points and also has over 500 rebounds and 100 blocks. He started 68 combined games his two years at Wake Forest and averaged 13.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a senior when he shot 52.6 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from 3.

In his four-year career, Carr has  64 double-figure scoring games and 11 double-doubles. He’s connected on 94 3-pointers at a 34.4 percent rate and blocked 133 shots.

“He’s an excellent 3-point shooter, but he does kind of have a bit of a wind up to his long range shot. He needs to be open, but he can be a reliable stretch four. There are times he can get bullied in the post by bigger, more physically imposing players,” Johns said.

Carr put his name into the NBA draft but was not invited to the NBA combine. That led him to withdraw from the draft and transfer to UK.

“His initial decision to leave Wake Forest caught me by surprise. He had committed to the staff to return for next season and then reversed course the same weekend the Mark Pope hire was announced at Kentucky,” Johns said. “It was assumed he was looking for a blue blood-like program to spend his last season of eligibility, and many folks figured Villanova would be high on his list.

“In terms of ultimately landing at Kentucky, that’s not surprising. It fit the criteria of what he was looking for in his final collegiate season and he should be a great fit for what Pope will look to run this coming season.”

Pope called him the “prototypical college and NBA power forward” when he signed with Kentucky and noted he had been the “captain of every team he’s ever been associated with.” Pope said he expected Kentucky fans to love him.

What about the Big Blue spotlight that can overwhelm some players?


“I don’t think that will be a problem for Carr, especially considering the positive vibes currently engulfing the Kentucky basketball program and this upcoming first season of the Pope era,” Johns said. “Fans will love Carr and Carr will embrace Big Blue Nation.”