Tim Frazier fired away from 3-point range Monday at the Bryce Jordan Center, while Penn State point guard Tony Carr ran through a dribbling drill to warm up.
Talor Battle later joined the duo — along with other past stars and current players — for practice Monday as part of the “WE ARE Pros Camp.” Carr relished the opportunity after receiving advice from the past Nittany Lion guard standouts, which also included D.J. Newbill.
“They were all the leaders on their team,” Carr said. “So I’m just trying to pick their brains on how they spoke to some guys on their teams and how they handled different situations throughout this season, so I can just be a better leader.”
After starting all 33 games as a freshman, Carr is focused on improving as a leader this season. He showed his ability on the court during his rookie campaign, leading the team in scoring (13.3 points per game) and assists (4.2 per game) and earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors. He received more recognition this offseason after being invited to the Nike Basketball Academy skills development camp for the country’s top 20 players — something that will undoubtedly add to what he’s picked up from former Nittany Lion point guards like Frazier and Battle.
And Frazier plans to keep an eye on Carr. With the New Orleans Pelicans’ decision last month trade him to the Washington Wizards, Frazier noted he’ll be able to watch the Nittany Lions more often on the Big Ten Network.
From what he’s already seen of Penn State’s current point guard, Frazier said Carr doesn’t seem to get rattled or try to do too much. He said he’s looking forward to watching more games and texting Carr to tell him, “This is what I saw.”
Frazier, who finished his career as Penn State’s all-time leader in assists, also pointed out that Carr has more pressure and responsibility than he did at this point in his career.
“Being a freshman point guard, I started some of the games,” Frazier said, “but I had Talor Battle on my team — one of the best to do it.”
Battle and Frazier formed the starting backcourt of the last Penn State team to reach the NCAA tournament; Battle was a senior and Frazier was a sophomore on that team in 2010-2011. Battle started at point guard as a freshman like Carr and left Penn State as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,213 points.
Carr said Battle was one of the first college guards he watched on television growing up. Carr said he watched as much basketball as he could, from high school to college to the NBA, and Battle’s scoring ability caught his eye.
“One day, I just happen to come across the Penn State game, and I seen this little 6-foot, light-skinned guy getting 30 points a game,” Carr said.
Battle spoke with Carr last season about what to expect from being “thrown into that same fire.” Battle struggled at times and told Carr he’d experience ups and downs, too. Now, Battle and the program’s former players are trying to help Carr with his leadership skills heading into his sophomore year.
“If you go get a burger, call the rest of the guys, ask ’em to get a burger. If you stay to shoot, make sure somebody else stays to shoot,” Battle said of his advice. “He’s a captain. I was a captain as a sophomore. You got to be vocal. It can’t just be how you play on the court. You got to do the things behind the scenes.”
Carr will continue to focus on his leadership when he heads to Los Angeles, where he’ll train with former and current NBA players at the Nike Basketball Academy from Aug. 15-20. He’s also glad his invite to the elite camp will bring some national notoriety to the program and hopes high school players will notice and want to join him in Happy Valley.
He’s now Penn State’s leader at point guard, taking on the same role Battle and Frazier did in the past.
“That was my plan on coming here,” Carr said, “just to start something new and kind of just be the trailblazer for this program and kind of just take it to a level where it never has been.”