CJ Carr is a 23 year old 173cm guard from Rock Island, Illinois that is playing his rookie season in Germany with BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga). He began his basketball career with Rock Island HS and in 2014-2015 started to play at SIU Edwardsville (NCAA) playing 28 games averaging 6.2ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.2apg, FGP: 38.1%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 82.5%. In his second year at SIU Edwardsville (NCAA) he played 28 games averaging 7.5ppg, 2.7rpg, 3.1apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 39.2%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 75.6%. In 2016-2017 he moved to Missouri So. (NCAA2) playing 27 games averaging 18.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 5.1apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 48.5%, 3PT: 29.7%, FT: 82.0%. In his senior year at Missouri So. (NCAA2) he played 29 games averaging 18.4ppg, 4.4rpg, 6.0apg, 2.2spg, FGP: 44.0%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 80.5%. He spoke to germanhoops.com recently about basketball.
CJ thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how did you come into 2019?
I am now back at home in Davenport, Iowa. I was fortunate enough to bring in 2019 with my family and friends.
Your playing your professional rookie season with BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga). What has been the coolist thing about being a professional player and being able to do what you love most?
The coolest thing would probably be being able to win and doing it with these guys! My teammates have been great in welcoming me and made this transition a lot easier.
Two stand out players from Missouri Southern Skyler Bowlin and Jordan Talbert have had great professional career’s. Have you ever met them and are they like role models for you and where you want to head in the future?
I have not spoken with Jordan Talbert, but I have with Skylar Bowlin a good amount of times. Skylar has offered a lot of information about what to expect and how things are going to be. He’s playing in the top league so there are definitely things I would love to pick his mind about, because my goal is to be in the top league.
BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga) belong to the top teams in the Regionalliga. What has been the secret to the success of the team?
Our club has been doing great so far. Our secret is that we have good guys that play extremely hard and together. When you have that it makes the game easier.
The club has shown a lot of versatility winning shoot outs, defending great against teams and even winning massive defensive battles. How much potential does this club have?
This club has a lot of potential! We can defend, score, whatever it takes to win. This club is on the rise. We have great fans and people running the club as well.
Let’s talk about your teammates. Even though you are a young guy you have special experience having played in the NCAA, but how important is a guy like Emmanuel Richter from Slovenia not only for the team, but for you this season who has had 5 years experience in Germany making the whole transition easier?
My teammates have been great in helping me adapt to the culture and style of play. We’re lucky to have a guy like Emmanuel Richter on our team. He’s experienced and it shows. He’s a good player and leader.
Big man Bernhard Benke is one of many many young talented Germans in Germany. He started his career with top youth program Ratiopharm Ulm, but took a step back and is playing his second season with BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Regionalliga) putting up very good stats. How much potential does he have and do you see him moving up the basketball ladder again in the future?
Bernhard Benke is very talented. He has been doing great this season so far and you can expect big things from him in the future. The sky’s the limit for him and he can take his career as far as he wants to.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a small 173cm guard that knows how to score the ball. If you had to describe your game to an NBA player who would best fit that description? Possibly a type of a Nate Robinson?
I would say being able to score the ball pretty well I would compare myself to Isiah Thomas.
You’re a guy that can really score the ball well. Would you say that the German Regionalliga is around the same skill level as the NCAA 2 or what is higher?
I would say the levels are pretty similar. Regionalliga is about the same as NCAA2.
How tough has your height been for you in general in your basketball career? What has been the most positive remark you have heard concerning your height and basketball abilities?
My height has no negative impact on my game. I feel like I can play and compete against anyone no matter how tall they are and I feel like I have proved that and will continue to prove that. The only negative thing is that people see me and think I’m not skilled because of my height. My job is to prove I am skilled and that height is not a factor.
You had really high assist rates in the NCAA 2. Do you feel that you could up that as a professional in Germany once you get an even better feel for the style?
Yes. I feel that I pass the ball pretty well. I can score the ball at a pretty high rate but I can also get my teammates involved and put up high assist numbers.
You were near a triple double against Jena 2 with 35 points, 8 assists and 11 boards. How enticing is it getting that triple double? You also were close last season against Pittsburg State and Truman State. Is it something you feel you are capable of achieving at the Regionalliga level?
Yes I have been pretty close many times and it is something that I think is possible and will happen during my career. I just try to do whatever I can to help my team win.
You’re an offensive force being able to score from anywhere and can shoot the three. Is shooting the three more consistent one of your big goals of developing even more as a professional?
Definitely! I want to continue to improve every part of my game, but shooting the three is definitely a priority. As a guard I must be able to stretch the floor and hit an open shot.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away?
I think me trying to improve everyone’s game is a thing that most people don’t see. My goal is to make everyone better.
You began your basketball career at Rock Island HS. You went to a school that developed top players like Chasson Randle and Pete Mickeal. Did you already have the drive to want to become a professional player in high school?
Yes I’ve always wanted to play basketball at the professional level. And those two guys are guys I have watched growing up. My high school does a very good job in developing their players.
You played your first two seasons with SIU Edwardsville (NCAA). You played a total of 56 games putting up solid, but not overwhelming stats. What kind of an experience was it playing in the NCAA and what were your highs and lows there?
There were many highs and lows. I played a lot of minutes and was close to being freshman of the year my first year. We then had a coaching change and I started most of the year. Overall it was a good experience. I was able to compete and play at the highest level but I felt I was restricted as a player.
You had some very good NCAA games against schools like Butler and Murray State. What was your most memorable game there?
My most memorable game would probably be at Butler University. They were ranked in the nation at the time and we came in competing but they end up pulling away in the game late.
You picked up your game some more as a sophomore at but then decided to transfer to Missouri Southern. Why did you choose to take a step back at that moment in your basketball career?
I wouldn’t say I took a step back in my career. Missouri southern is one of the top programs in the country, and their level of play is about the same, if not better than siu Edwardsville.
You then played two years at Missouri Southern (NCAA2). When you look back at your career there, would you say you made the right decision leaving SIU Edwardsville (NCAA)? Do you ever wonder where you might be now had you remained at SIU Edwardsville (NCAA).
I would say I made the right decision to transfer schools because I was able to finish off my collegiate career in a good place and putting up good numbers. I think about where I would be if I did not transfer sometimes but I honestly do not know if I would be where I am today if I had stayed.
You had many great games at Missouri Southern (NCAA2), but where does your 33 point game in the win against NW Missouri State?
That game might one of the most memorable games I’ve played there. At the time NW Missouri St was top in the country and had never lost on their home court. I also was able to accomplish my 1,000th point that night.
How did head coach Jeff Boschee groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Boschee is a great coach and we have many conversations about what I can do better to be the player I want to be and I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity he gave me.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Braelon Walker?
I won the one on ones haha. He’s a great player though and they’re having a great year this year.
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?
I would say Kris Davis (Phoenix Hagen) Burak Eslik (turkey) Elyjah Clark (Missouri Southern) Jalen Henry (France)& Enis memic (Missouri Southern)
If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?
Lebron James is the best I’ve seen and from what I’ve seen Mike was great but Lebron just does so much on the floor and it’s hard to compete against that.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Training Day.
Thanks CJ for the chat.