Toni. L Sandys/The Washington Post

Former Seton Hall commit Aquille Carr offered pro contract in Chinese Basketball Association

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Former Seton Hall commit and YouTube darling Aquille Carr received his first big news as a professional basketball player earlier this week when the Qingdao Double Stars of the Chinese Basketball Association offered the Baltimore-native a contract for the upcoming season.

As Slamonline’s Rodger Bohn reported from China, — where Bohn is currently touring with a group of professionals on the USA Legends tour, including players like Carr, Tracy McGrady and former Sacramento Kings guard Jason Williams — Carr, a 5’6 point guard, received the contract offer directly from T-Mac’s old team in the CBA after playing in two exhibition games during the week on the tour.

The “Crimestopper” — as Carr is known in his native Baltimore — hasn’t officially signed or decided on his professional future overseas after deciding to go the pro route in March in order to help care for his one-year old daughter but the offer from T-Mac’s old team, with McGrady even offering his help, is welcome news to the recently turned pro.

“How does it feel to have your first CBA contract offer?” Qingdao Double Star owner Max Shicanbin asked Carr.

Shocked, Carr said that he would have to talk with his agent. But Tracy McGrady stepped in and volunteered to assume the role, playing both sides of the fence with the owner of the club he played for until he joined the Spurs.

“We want stability,” McGrady said in his new role of player representative. “We also want a guaranteed contract and position on the team.”
Carr went on to tell Bohn of the contract offer, “It feels good. I came out here with an opportunity to show my talent and they really appreciate me. I love the atmosphere, the fans and the games here. The only thing is the food, but I’m trying my best to get used to that.”

For the former Seton Hall commit — who is following the path of Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings and Golden State Warriors forward Jeremy Tyler as high school players from the United States opting to go pro overseas instead of the mandatory “one-and-done” year of college before the NBA Draft — having a firm professional offer is a great start to his young professional career, but with his size and inconsistent ability as a point guard, Carr is still a long way to go before solidifying his pro career.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.