Posted: Feb 25, 2014 6:16 PM by Corey Miller, KOMU 8 Sports Digital Producer
Updated: Mar 5, 2014 10:32 PM
ATLANTA, Ga. - DeMarre Carroll's heart and hustle during his playing days for the University of Missouri made him a fan-favorite among the Tiger faithful. That same rough and tough style has translated into a significant role as a professional with the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA.
The "Junkyard Dog", as Carroll is nicknamed, joined the Missouri Tigers basketball team back in 2007 after transferring from Vanderbilt. The move from Vanderbilt to Missouri allowed Carroll to play for his Uncle, former Tigers coach Mike Anderson.
During his time in Columbia, Carroll was one of the most popular, and productive players on the team. He averaged 14.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game as a Tiger, and totaled over 1,000 points in his Missouri career. The Missouri basketball team as a whole enjoyed success while Carroll was on the court as well. In his senior year, the Tigers won the Big-12 Tournament and advanced all the way to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. In that 2008-2009 senior season, Carroll was named to the All-Big 12 First Team, the Academic All-Big 12 Team and was the Big-12 Men's Basketball Tournament MVP.
Carroll was chosen 27th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2009 NBA draft despite some concerns over his health. DeMarre averaged 10.7 minutes per game with the Grizzlies, and after just 78 games played over two seasons with Memphis he was traded to Houston. Carroll played in only nine combined games for the Rockets, and his next team, the Denver Nuggets. DeMarre's next carrer move was to sign as a free agent with the Utah Jazz. It was there that Carroll started to establish himself as a legitimate NBA player.
Over 86 career games for the Jazz, DeMarre saw his minutes increase to an average of 16.7 per game. As his minutes rose, so did his production. Carroll ended his time with Utah averaging 5.7 points per game, and showed flashes of the same "fighter" mentality that endeared him to Missouri fans.
This 2013-2014 NBA season has been sort of a coming out party for the "Junkyard Dog" down in Atlanta. After signing there as a free agent, the small-forward has kept up his scrappy style of play and has become a key piece for the playoff-hopeful Hawks. He has started all 48 games he has appeared in and is averaging 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds a game. Fans might be surprised to learn that Carroll has already made 61 three-pointers this year and is shooting .367 from beyond the arc. Carroll's 61 made threes this season equals his number of three-point attempts during his career at Missouri, where he only converted on 19 of those 61 shots.
An improved shooting stroke accompanied by that go-getter attitude has Carroll playing the best basketball of his professional career. This past Saturday he totaled a career-high 24 points against the New York Knicks, and has helped the Hawks to a 26-30 record that has them clinging to the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The "Junkyard Dog" seems to have found his niche at the highest level of professional basketball.