Warrior has ‘knack for learning’Published 8:22pm Saturday, February 9, 2013
Nansemond River junior point guard Khalil Carroll has a very important role to fill for the Warriors and he has been peaking at the best possible time. He strung together what head coach Ed Young said were his best performances as the season neared its conclusion last week, earning a nomination for the Suffolk News Herald’s Player of the Week.
In a fierce voting battle with King’s Fork senior forward Donte’ Ralph, Carroll emerged victorious, receiving 756 votes to Ralph’s 749.
Though most will remember the Senior Night game against Western Branch because it was a last-second overtime loss, it should also be noted that Carroll came up big, scoring 20 points on 62-percent shooting with six assists and three steals.
“I don’t (usually) score like I scored that Western Branch game,” Carroll said. “I usually get assists, because I’ve got players that can score, but I guess they were keying on my other scorers so much that it just left me open, and I took advantage of what I had.”
He led the team in scoring against Great Bridge with 11 points and had another solid game against Oscar Smith later in the week with 10 points, five assists and three steals
“It felt like the season was getting pretty tight there,” Carroll said. “I had to step up so my team could be successful, and my teammates made my job easier so that we could be successful.”
Coach Young places special importance on Carroll because of how important his position is as a leader on the floor.
“I really think the big thing with him is he’s shown progress throughout the season in running our system,” Young said. “Not that we’re complicated, but I’m on my point guard a lot for so much, probably more so than any other position player we have.”
Carroll started playing basketball at the age of 10.
“Actually, my dad and my brother got me into basketball,” Carroll said. “My family plays sports. My uncle played here. He won a state championship in ’95 with Nansemond River. So, I’m around it. It’s in our genes.”
His father, Richard Carroll Sr., recalled his son’s history with the sport.
“He wanted to play for this team, and the guy told him that he wasn’t good enough,” he said.
When Khalil came home and tearfully reported the news, his father made him a promise — if Khalil would be willing to listen and learn, his father could teach him how to become a player that teams would beg to have.
“I moved all the furniture out of the living room and worked with him in the living room without even a basketball in his hand,” Richard Carroll said.
As time progressed, Khalil improved and had the opportunity to play on more than one team. In high school, he originally went to Lakeland, where he played some, but made the switch to Nansemond River last year.
Warriors head coach Ed Young has a reputation as being a tough coach, but one who can really help develop young players if they’re willing to work hard.
“When I transferred over here, I knew he was a hard coach,” Carroll said. “So I kept hearing, ‘Yeah, man, you’re going over there, you’ll have to tighten up.’ So, I tightened up… I listened to what Coach Young said, did what I was supposed to do, and here I am.”
As proud as Carroll’s father is of his son’s basketball prowess, there is something that trumps it.
“You know what I brag about?” he said. “His 3.7 grade point average.”
“He has a knack for learning that if somebody in the class gets a better grade than him, oh, he’ll tell that person, ‘I bet you the next time my grade will be higher than you,’” Richard Carroll said.
This manifests a zeal that could take Khalil Carroll far both on and off the court.
“My goal is to keep my grades up and take my team as far as I can take them,” Khalil Carroll said. “We’ve been working too hard to lose early. Got to go as far as we can.”
Following are this week’s Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week nominees:
- Macy Mears, junior guard for Nansemond-Suffolk — She emerged this past week as a real force on offense with three three-pointers in a win against Norfolk Academy, three more against Norfolk Collegiate, against which she led her team with 13 points, and 12 points in a narrow defeat to Collegiate School on Friday.
- Rod Parrett, senior guard for King’s Fork basketball — He was one of only two Bulldogs in double figures in a win against cross-town rival Lakeland, scoring 10 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals. He helped his team put away Grassfield in the first game of the district tournament with 18 points and strong defense on the Grizzlies’ Trey Fayton.
- Kendric Washington, senior forward for Nansemond River basketball — He mostly leaves the scoring to his teammates while coming up big for his team on the boards and on defense, but against Hickory he had 16 points to go with his 10 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. In the first round of district tourney play, Coach Ed Young credited him with getting the defense in order during the blowout win against Indian River. He had nine boards and four blocks in that game.
- Markese Wright, junior guard for Lakeland basketball — He blanketed the Marcell Moss of Oscar Smith with suffocating defense which was one of the biggest reasons that the Cavaliers enjoyed their first district playoff berth since 2010. Then against Great Bridge in the district quarterfinal, he exploded on the offensive end, leading his team with 20 points.
Vote by 7 p.m. Wednesday by sending an email with the subject “Player of the Week” to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also vote on our Facebook page and on the Suffolk News-Herald homepage.
Next Sunday, we’ll feature the readers’ choice in a story on the sports page.
Spread the word.