Pelicans select ‘talented scorer’ in Penn State’s Tony Carr with pick No. 51

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Less than an hour after being selected Thursday by New Orleans in the NBA draft, No. 51 overall pick Tony Carr was asked which NBA players he’s been compared to, in terms of style of play. The point guard didn’t hesitate, quickly mentioning someone he’ll soon become very acquainted with in the Crescent City.

“A player on the Pelicans,” Carr responded. “Jrue Holiday. A player who can play both ends of the floor, score the basketball but also facilitate. A guy like Chris Paul, who’s not the most athletic, but still is highly effective on the court.”

Statistically, Carr was an impressive performer during his two-year college tenure at Penn State. Few if any NBA second-round picks approach averages of 20/5/5 in college, but en route to leading the Nittany Lions to an NIT title in 2017-18, he put up numbers of 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists. ESPN’s draft analysis of Carr focused primarily on his offensive ability – his 725 total points last season ranks second on Penn State’s all-time single-season scoring list – but he was a well-rounded contributor.


“He’s a talented scorer,” ESPN broadcaster Jay Bilas said on-air of Carr. “He’s not the most efficient player, shot about 41 percent from the field. But he’s got good size for a guard. Doesn’t really have that blow-by ability, but shoots it well, shot 80 percent from the (foul line). A volume shooter. A good passer, but tended to turn it over – he was fifth in the Big Ten in turnovers. But he had 12 games of 25 points or more (during the 2017-18 season). So Tony Carr can really score; it just takes him a number of shots to do it.”

The 6-foot-5, 204-pounder described being drafted as the fulfillment of a lifelong goal.

“It’s a dream come true,” Carr told the Big Ten Network during an interview at Barclays Center, where Thursday’s draft was held in Brooklyn. “When you pick up a basketball at the age of 7, every kid says they want to go to the NBA. Just to be able to hear my name called in the NBA draft, it’s just a dream come true. It’s the greatest feeling of my life.”

Carr shared similar sentiments during a press conference by phone with New Orleans media members. When asked about coming to the Pelicans, the Philadelphia native said, “It’s great. It’s a dream come true, something I always used to dream about coming up. For it to come to reality for me, it’s mind-blowing. It hasn’t really hit me yet. I’m just blessed to be able to come to a great place like New Orleans and play for a great organization like the Pelicans.”