For most of his basketball career, people have looked past Lehman senior point guard DeAndre Carson. With relatively small stature, many believed his success on the hardwood was hard to believe.
Yet, the way Carson persevered beyond the doubts of his detractors and naysayers is a testament to his inner character and strength. After a stellar four-year career in a Lobo uniform, which saw Carson average 15.7 points per game, score nearly 2,000 points and set numerous Lehman scoring records, he was rewarded with a dream which many hoopsters dream of: A full-ride scholarship to play collegiate basketball.
This dream was realized on April 26, as Carson signed his national letter of intent to play for the Texas A&M Commerce Lions in Fall 2013.
“It feels really great to work this hard to get this opportunity, to have the ability to play the next level,” Carson said. “I really like the idea of playing for (A&M Commerce).”
The camaraderie of the Lion basketball team members helped Carson choose the school.
“I had the chance to play against some of the current (A&M Commerce) players during a campus visit,” said Carson. “I met them and they were cool; they welcomed me as if I were already a part of their team.”
He also enjoyed the sprawl of the campus, saying its future expansion will enrich his college experience.
“I think the campus was cool; they are making new stuff out there,” said Carson. “They are making it better for everyone that attends.”
Perhaps the proudest people in the Lobo Den were Carson’s parents, Nikki and Charlie Carson. Both displayed beaming, ear-to-ear smiles, their eyes brimming with tears.
They noted the progress and determination DeAndre exhibited from his days in Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball to the high school ranks.
“Because of his stature, the fact that he feels the need to prove something to people, it always makes him work even harder,” said Nikki Carson. “The ability to adapt, face adversity and the character building it creates is also important. Every year he has transitioned to getting better, just by doing that. His work ethic allows him to play his way on the court.”
His work ethic off the court paid off as well. The four year Academic All-District will receive a near full ride scholarship, with his sophomore, junior and senior years fully paid.
“We are blessed that he is on scholarship at a great school,” said Nikki, who said DeAndre did not qualify for any financial aid. “Every year that he gets to attend school and re-up his scholarship – it is a blessing.”
DeAndre’s parents hope he will earn a quality education – that is their goal.
“The most important part for both of us is that (DeAndre) can go to school for four more years and get a quality education,” said Charlie Carson, who was a basketball player for Austin Bowie in the mid-1990’s.
On the court, Carson excelled as a scorer from all over the floor. He scored 30 or more points in eight career games, made a total of 175 three-point shots in a Lobo uniform and averaged 27 points per game in the second half of district this past season.
His selflessness made an impression with Lobo head coach Thomas Acker.
“DeAndre has done everything we have asked him to do. He has gone above and beyond,” said Acker. “He is tremendously talented and he works really hard. He is committed to his program and teammates; playing the right way and doing whatever he could do to help us.”
Opponents also understood the impact Carson brought to the floor, as he played 127 of a total 129 games in his four-year high school career, starting in 126 of them.
“Everyone knew who he was; he always had a target on his chest the last two years. Even so, he was able to perform every night,” said Acker, who complimented the skill Carson brings to the table. “People do not realize how well he handles the ball. We’ve played against teams that had kids that are going to Division I colleges that could not stop him.”
Acker also praised Carson’s ability to be a regular contributor.
“The best thing about DeAndre is that he does not need the ball to make an impact,” he said. “When I talked to other coaches, they always ask about his ability to score. I made them understand that he does not need the ball to be effective.”
Carson completed his career with 442 total assists.
The Lobos head coach understands that Carson has a lot of work ahead of him at the next level. Still, they say his humbleness, and the opportunity to play with top tier athletes, will give him a chance to grow further.
“When he gets in the college world, when he is challenged on a daily basis and spending time with more skilled players around him, he is going to quickly improve,” said Acker, who added, “I’m not sure Commerce knows what they are getting; I think a lot of schools will regret not recruiting him.
Commerce is getting a good one; he will fit in just fine.”
Carson now awaits his chance to play with Commerce, whose up-tempo style of play suits the young point guard. His ultimate goal is to help the Lion program attain the pinnacle of success in Division II basketball, saying, “Before I leave, I aim to bring a title to this school.”
In addition to Academic All-District honors, Carson also was named as District 27-4A’s Co-Offensive MVP in 2012, named to the All-Centex Team (Third Team) by the Austin American Statesman and was First Team All-District in 27-4A for all four years.
Read more at the Hays Free Press http://haysfreepress.com/2013/05/02/54112/#ixzz2VqBGZYdU