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DeMarre Carroll Has Solid Summer League Showing

Luke ThompsonContributor IJuly 21, 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)

DeMarre Carroll showed the Memphis Grizzlies that his offensive skills could translate to the professional level, averaging 12.2 points in five games. It simply can’t be said enough how far Carroll has come since he transferred to Missouri.

A few weeks ago, I spoke briefly with Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings at the funeral for his Hall of Fame high school basketball coach. I almost wish I would have asked him whether he knew that his former role player could have blossomed into a lethal scorer, first in college and now in the NBA’s Summer League.

He probably wouldn’t ever admit it, but I think, three years ago, DeMarre would have dismissed the possibility of Carroll having great success in college basketball or the NBA.

Certainly, we shouldn’t get carried away and start believing he could challenge any of the top rookies (especially Blake Griffin, that man is a beast), but it appears he could be an effective contributor off the bench.

Carroll never scored less than nine points, and in the two games where he scored 16, he shot a combined 13-for-18. That will get it done at any level.

In the first game, the Junkyard Dog even did something displayed his recent progess, when he hit a jumper from beyond the NBA three-point line. He missed the only other long-range bomb he shot in Vegas, but give him credit for making three-point shooting a small part of his game.

Naturally, not all of Carroll’s numbers made him look like a quality NBA player. Playing 20-30 minutes as a small forward in a starting lineup with former Connecticut big men Jeff Adrien and Hasheem Thabeet, Carroll never pulled down more than five rebounds in a game and averaged less than one assist per game.

I didn’t see any of the games, but I would imagine he becomes a liability on defense from time to time. Although he can get steals, he gets by on his hustle more than everyone else (except Tyler Hansbrough, or so I’m told by every sports analyst ever).

While Carroll’s star was shining, Leo Lyons’s flickered a couple of times, but it’s unlikely he was impressive enough to make an NBA roster. Playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he scored 14 against the Lakers and 13 against Milwaukee while shooting an impressive 64 percent from the field.

But his low outputs in the other three games dropped his average to 7.6, and the 6'9" forward averaged only 3.4 rebounds per game. Even though he only played 14 minutes per game, that needs to be higher if he wants to play in a league that isn’t in Europe.

Former Missouri Tiger Thomas Gardner keeps showing sparks of talent, including a 15-point outburst for Portland in 74-73 loss to the D-League Select on Sunday.

It’s hard to believe that with a bit of help from Christian Moody, he basically beat Kansas all by himself a little over three years ago, isn’t it? Those were happier times for Gardner, who averaged 1.5 points in just over six minutes per game in 16 appearances for Atlanta last season.

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