On Sunday evening in Hagan Arena, Pat Carroll consciously cherished the second BALL showcase game, knowing all the while that this would be the last time he’d ever lace up his high-tops professionally. A truly remarkable career came full circle as Pat Carroll played his final minutes as a pro exactly where he played his first as a college player, on the campus of Saint Joe’s.
“The best basketball memories I have are on Hawk Hill, I think it just brings it all together,” said Carroll, who scored 12 points in seven minutes of action. “I’m 29 now, and seeing Philly basketball, it’s a connection. When you play overseas for a while you kind of lose touch with Philly basketball. Coming back together, having a chance to play with these guys again instead of being rivals.”
Throughout the evening, Carroll took his time, making sure he spoke with every player, every coach and every fan possible before the final buzzer sounded.
“I had to lace them up one more time,” he said.
Carroll enjoyed one of the most successful basketball careers ever to be posted from Hawk Hill. His achievements and accolades are abundant; Carroll is the all-time Saint Joe’s leader in 3-point field goals made (294), 3-point percentage (44.5), and 3-point attempts (661). He became the all-time Atlantic 10 leader in three-point percentage while compiling an impressive 96-32 record in a Hawks uniform. As an integral part of the Phil Martelli’s squad for four years, Carroll helped his team to four consecutive postseason appearances.
Even with all of these accomplishments, it is Carroll’s work ethic that will always be remembered by his former coach.
“This memory will last with me forever,” Martelli said at halftime of Sunday’s game. “There are a lot of players who are pampered. And in our side gym it’s not wood [floors]; it’s a synthetic surface that most guys wouldn’t play on. I would see him twice a day getting up extra shots. … It was the moments that he was alone that I’ll always remember.”
Throughout Carroll’s career at Saint Joe’s he has enjoyed unmatched highs, but he remembers the lows as well. The most painstaking of hard times being the 2004 loss to Oklahoma State in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, when John Lucas III hit the game-winning three-pointer to bring the magical Saint Joe’s season to a screeching halt.
“I hate to go back to that but obviously you can tell I’ve thought about it a lot,” said Carroll, who came within inches of stealing the pass to Lucas. “But I think with every player in here though, the things that hurt the most, throughout your career, that kind of made you. There hasn’t been much stuff as painful as that in basketball, and it’s those painful times you went through, it’s like, ‘I can get through whatever.’”
Before putting his professional playing days behind him to move on to his new career in pharmaceutical sales, Carroll departed some veteran wisdom on his younger Philadelphia teammates.
“Going forward, every one of us here is going to have that passion for basketball, no matter if you’re still playing professionally, you’re always going to still have the passion,” Carroll said. “The next challenge… how do you put that passion of basketball into your next step? That’s going to be the thing everybody will go through at some point. I think everybody here has some good stuff to offer; now it’s about what we’re going to put that passion into next.”
-Related post: Carroll never has watched the replay of John Lucas III’s game-winning shot in the Elite Eight, writes Aaron Bracy in Philahoops’ Backdoor Cut blog. Also can see video of the play if you’ve never seen it.
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