DeMarre Carroll Drafted by Memphis Grizzlies

Eric Hobbs@@E_HobbsCorrespondent IJune 26, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 26:  Forward DeMarre Carroll #1 of the Missouri Tigers celebrates after a play against the Memphis Tigers in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the University of Phoenix Stadium on March 26, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

If defense wins championships, DeMarre Carroll will turn out to be a smart pick. The former Missouri star was drafted 27th overall in the first round of the NBA Draft on Thursday by the Memphis Grizzlies.

Carroll, a 2009 Big 12 First-Teamer and Big 12 Tournament MVP, spent the past two years playing for Mizzou after sitting out a year when he transferred from Vanderbilt.

ESPN’s Chad Ford said on his recap that he loved the pick for Memphis. Many expected that a contender might add Carroll as that last piece to the puzzle, the high-energy player who would disrupt the opposing team’s offense while giving a starter some rest.

What seems rather curious is that so many people consider DeMarre to be a steal as the 27th pick. People seemed to expect him to fall to around this range, but seemed shocked when it actually happened. A logical thought is that these people know his effort and ability will transfer and could make up for the fact that there is no real defined position for Carroll in the NBA.

Perhaps NBA teams were worried about his health being a factor. Liver issues and a bad history of ankle injuries may have scared some people off. Carroll sustained a gunshot wound to his ankle while trying to break up a fight outside a Columbia bar, and it took until this past season for the injury to heal.

As the 27th pick, Carroll was drafted around the same time many thought he may go, but instead of a contender, Carroll will be heading south to Memphis. Coincidentally, Carroll’s uncle and former coach, Missouri coach Mike Anderson, is recruiting the city of Memphis very hard. Perhaps that could be used as a recruiting tool in the future.

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With Carroll being drafted, Missouri is one of two schools to have a player drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL, MLB, and NBA drafts. North Carolina is the other school.

Concerns over a liver disease posed a threat to Carroll’s draft status, but fears subsided when it was revealed that he had had the issue and had gotten treatment at Washington University in St. Louis. He may one day need a liver transplant, but that would not become an issue until long after his playing career is over.  

If Carroll can have success in the NBA, even if it is in a limited role as many project, he will help further Mizzou’s success as a recruiting tool and can leave his alma mater’s mark on the NBA.