CJ Carr is a 23 year old 173cm guard from Rock Island, Illinois that completed his rookie season in Germany with BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga) averaging 26,0ppg, 4,8rpg, 4,2apg, 2,5spg FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 81.8%. 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 about his basketball rookie season in Germany.
CJ thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thanks for the interview! I am now back home in Iowa working out and trying to improve my game.
You recently played your rookie season with BG Topstar Leitershofen/Stadtbergen (Germany-Regionalliga) leading the club to a second place finish and leading the league in scoring 26.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 4.2apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 81.8%. What was your general summary of your first basketball experience in Germany?
Overall, it was a great experience. We ended up finishing in second place and that was tough but I played some good basketball and met some really great people so it was an amazing experience.
How competitive and exciting was it playing in the Regionalliga South division? You were in a fierce battle with Oberhaching, Breitengussbach and Treuchtlingen.
It was great. All those teams played really well this season and challenged us to the best of their ability. It was great for me because I’m a competitor and love competing. In the end Oberhaching won the championship, so congratulations to them.
You came up short at the end finishing in second place behind Oberhaching that moved up to the Pro B. What do you feel was the difference not getting by Oberhaching?
I think we had a lot of injuries and setbacks in the middle of the season that led us to drop to second place, and from there we couldn’t catch up.
Do you feel like losing four of five games in February cost you the season or was losing two of the last three games that did it?
Definitely those games in February. They really set the tone for the rest of the season. We had some setbacks during that time, but our guys did a great job on bouncing back and competing.
Let’s talk about your game. You dominated the German Regionalliga averaging 26.0ppg, 4.8rpg, 4.2apg, 2.5spg, FGP: 54.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 81.8%. What was your personal summary of your own performance?
I think I played pretty well. I shot the basketball better than I ever have and that’s just a testament to my love for the game and work ethic. I also believe I could’ve handed out more assists and that is something I am working on this summer.
You stated in the last interview that despite your height that you can play against anyone, but it bothers you when people think you can’t play because of your height. Do you feel like you got the proper respect in Germany concerning your height and skills?
I do not think I am respected. I proved myself and that I could play against anyone and so far no one has recognized that. I just need one coach to believe in me.
How do you feel did you develop further on the defensive end? On what area’s do you feel did you see the most growth in your rookie season?
I feel like I played really well defensively. A lot of coaches concern is with me is that I will get posted up. If you watch film you’ll find that is very hard to do.
When looking at your stats there really wasn’t more to criticize or are you the type of guy that could have had more rebounds and assists per game?
I always feel there are areas in my game I can improve on. I’d like to focus on handing out more assists and do whatever I can to win a championship.
Before coming to Germany you never averaged more than 18,0ppg in college. You suddenly totally upped your scoring to 26,0ppg. What were the main reasons for you being able to become a real pure scorer. Did you become more aggressive or picked your spots better than in school?
I just continued to get better. And I plan on doing that this summer as well. Finding different ways to put the ball in a basket has always been a goal of mine. I can also be a skilled passer when need be.
You made huge strides with your outside shot shooting 39% the highest in your career. You had some miserable shooting nights, but overall shot the ball very well. What was your secret to almost hitting the 40% mark?
Just staying consistent. I’ve had a lot of time in the gym with my trainer Jordan Delp and he’s helped me a ton. I look to improve that percentage next season.
You had many great games as a rookie, but which was most memorable? Possibly your stat filling games against Vilisbiburg or Schwabing?
My most memorable game was actually the one against Hellenen. I shot the ball terribly that game but I stayed confident and ended up knocking down the game winning shot. That just showed the trust my teammates had in me and I’m thankful.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the Regionalliga in your rookie season?
I don’t think I can pick out one player the toughest team was actually Oberhaching.
This summer you played with Team Philadelphia (Eurobasket Summer League in Las Vegas) playing 4 games averaging 12.0ppg, 2.5rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 55.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT-3 (90.9%). What kind of experience was this for you and did you make some valuable basketball connections there?
That experience was a good one. I wasn’t 100% healthy at the camp because of an ankle injury but I played to the best of my ability.
There was a lot of talent at the Eurobasket Summer League. Was there any player that really impressed you? Possibly your teammate Frank Bartley?
Yeah! Frank played really well and there was a lot of talent there.
On what things are you working on this summer so your game will be ready for your second professional season?
I’ll be working on a little bit of everything. A lot of decision making and playmaking work.
What is the next step for you? There are guys who have averaged a lot less points than you in the Regionalliga and then without problems got a Pro B job. Have you had ample offers and are still weighing your options or has the summer transfer period been a tough one for you?
Yeah it’s been pretty tough. I haven’t heard from many people. I think a lot of people don’t know about me, but once they do my career will take off. I just need an opportunity to show what I can do on a big stage.
The summer is winding down and teams are getting filled up. If you had to describe in a few sentences why you could help any team now what would you say?
I want to win. I will come to work every day willing to whatever I can to help the team. I just need someone to take a chance on me.
You lived in the suburbs of Augsburg. How did you learn to appreciate the German culture and what did you enjoy most off the court?
I loved it! I met so many great people and built many relationships. The people were definitely the best part.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was the Lion king.
Thanks CJ for the chat.