Small School Star Hoping To Hit The Big Time

Edward Bell guard Damien Carr talks about playing in the Final Four in Birmingham and his goal of playing college basketball.

Camp Hill, Ala.--Tuesday will be a moment reminiscent of the film 'Hoosiers' when the Final 48 kicks off in Birmingham's Jefferson County Coliseum as tiny Edward Bell will play Parkway Christian in the semi-finals of the Class 1A Boys Championships. With an enrollment of 44 students, Edward Bell is one of the smallest schools in Alabama and will be making its first trip ever to the Final Four.

The Bears aren't limping in though as they enter the contest 25-2 and ranked in the Top 10. Like most good basketball teams Edward Bell has a go-to player and without question that is 5-10, 175 guard Damien Carr.

Averaging 20 points, six assists, and five rebounds per game this season, Carr is deadly from the perimeter and can also take the ball to the basket and finish. With over 2,200 career points, he has shown the ability to score in bunches when he gets hot.

A starter since his freshman season, Carr averaged 25 points per game as a junior and 29 as a sophomore with multiple 40-point games, but a veteran team around him has allowed Carr to hand off some of his scoring duties to teammates and that has meant a more powerful team down the stretch.

"I'm a slasher," Carr said. "I like to drive. I like to shoot. I like to rebound. I'm an all-around player. I love to get assists. I love to see my boys happy."

Carr can still fill it up as evidenced by last week's Regional at Alabama State. Held to two points in the first round because of foul trouble, Carr scored 18 in the second half to secure a spot in the finals. He then went off with 18 points in the first half, including 4-5 from three-point range, as Edward Bell raced to a big lead against Holy Spirit from Tuscaloosa and never looked back on its road to Birmingham.

"It's very big," Carr said. "I think we're the first team to go to Birmingham from Edward Bell. It's so big for this community and for the team. This is what we've wanted. We're not satisfied until we win two more games.

"It has been special," Carr added. "This is what we've dreamed about since the sixth and seventh grade. We've always talked about our senior year and it's finally here. Our dream is coming true. Two more games. This is what we want. We're going to go out there and hustle and fight until we win. We never give up."

With the ability to score from anywhere on the court, Carr is a player that could play on the next level, but at the moment he's getting very little attention. That's not surprising considering Edward Bell doesn't play football and people rarely venture to Camp Hill to watch the basketball team in action.

That makes Tuesday such a big day not only for the Bears and the entire Camp Hill community, but for Carr individually. Getting another chance to play on a big stage, Carr said he's just looking for someone to give him a chance to live out his dream of playing basketball in college.

"I've heard from a few schools, but I don't know where I want to go," Carr said. "I just want to play basketball somewhere. I've heard from AUM and a lot of community colleges. That's about it. Nobody has offered me yet.

"I just want a chance to play," he said. "I'm a hard worker. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to work in the classroom and on the court. I think I'm a good person. All I want to do is to keep playing. It means the world to me."

A solid student with a 3.1 GPA and a 15 on the ACT, Carr said that having the chance to bring a state championship back to Camp Hill is something he's dreamed about since he started playing the game. The little guard on the small team playing for a title in the big city. It's the stuff movies are made of.

Tip off for Tuesday's game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at the BJCC.

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