Much of the early buzz in the 2009-10 boys basketball season was directed toward a freshman point guard at Patterson. All I kept hearing was how incredible this kid was and that he was all of 5-feet-6 and 155 pounds. His early numbers backed it up, so I went to see for myself.
Lake Clifton was taking on Dunbar on the same night I went to check out Aquille Carr with Patterson hosting defending Class 2A state champ City. The only reason I wasn't at the Lake Clifton-Dunbar game was because of the feature story I was writing on Carr. I was astonished to find the gym packed even before the junior varsity game had started. And it was all because of Carr.
He didn't disappoint, with dazzling head-shaking skills that immediately set him apart. But one play will stick with me for the rest of my life. Carr's quick hands deflected a City pass near midcourt. He tracked it down on the right side and found open floor. As he was ready to take it strong to the rim, City's 6-foot-3 junior guard Nick Faust -- who is now 6-5 and signed to play at Maryland -- was coming hard from the left. My immediate thought was that Carr would continue to go hard and try to lay it up strong off the glass.
But Carr kept elevating -- higher and higher -- and as he prepared for the coming contact, he finished the play with an emphatic dunk as Faust passed him in the air as a helpless bystander. The 800-plus fans roared for a couple minutes. Carr pounded his chest and flashed a smile that would have made Magic Johnson proud. Instantly, it became the dunk heard around Baltimore. Said Baltimore City director of athletics, Bob Wade: "I was at the Lake Clifton-Dunbar game that night, and there were folks texting one another saying he had just dunked. They said he rocked the gym." Carr finished the season averaging 25.5 points, eight assists and five steals -- arguably the finest ever by a freshman in the area -- to earn first-team All-Metro honors.