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Cameron Carr always belonged at Tennessee despite obstacles

Cameron Carr always belonged at Tennessee despite obstacles
Cameron Carr committed to Tennessee on Nov. 8.. (Credit: Nathan Papes/Springfield News-Leader/USA TODAY Sports)

BRANSON, Mo. (BVM) – Cameron Carr just wrapped up his high school basketball career. And what better way to do it than by winning a national championship.

Link Academy was led by Carr, Ja’Kobe Walter, and others in a 73-55 win over AZ Compass Prep on April 1, to win a national title in the program’s second year of existence.

One of the prep school’s best players, Carr is ranked No. 48 in the nation according to 247 Sports. The 6-foot-4, 160-pound guard has a bright future ahead of him, a future that was shaped early on.

He grew up around basketball in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, with his father Chris being a six-year NBA veteran and his sister Chrissy, who just finished her collegiate career at Arkansas.

“I was always around people that loved the game,” Carr said. “It was brought to my attention that this was the path I should take.”

When he was in sixth grade, the family moved to Manhattan, Kansas, as his dad accepted a position with the Kansas State women’s basketball program.

He spent the first half of his prep career at Manhattan High School where he averaged 10.9 points and four rebounds as a sophomore. Prior to his junior year, he made the switch to the powerhouse Link Academy program in Branson, Missouri. 

He suffered a major knee injury the summer before his first season with the Lions, but he did not let that stop him from getting to where he wanted to go.

After a full recovery, Carr started to blossom and receive attention from colleges leading into his senior season. 

Within the span of just a few years, he went from standing at 5-foot-9 with no offers to shooting up to his current height and being a coveted prospect at the next level.

“I had some points in time, where I thought, ‘I don’t know if basketball is for me,’” Carr said. “It really clicked over the last year.”

Despite all obstacles, he announced his commitment to the Tennessee Volunteers on Nov 8. Fellow teammate, Cade Phillips, will be joining him in Knoxville.

“It felt like home when I was there,” Carr said. “I wanted to have a connection with the coaches, and feel like I was not wanted, but somewhere I belonged.”

As Carr played out his final season at the high school level, he was seen for what he now was: a top-50 player in the country committed to a top program in the SEC. All of a sudden, there was a newfound spotlight every time he touched the court.

“I do like the pressure, honestly,” Carr said. “It’s gonna mold me to who I’m gonna be and push me to be a better player.”

The pressure itself is rewarding for Carr. 

For years, he did not receive attention on the recruiting trail, so just to know that all of the effort he put in paid off, goes a long way for him personally. 

“I’d say my biggest accomplishment is not even the ranking aspect, but just that I’m being seen,” Carr said. “I just want to know that at least someone sees that I’m working.”

After making a lasting impact on the Link Academy program, he now has eyes set on doing something similar at Tennessee.

“I want to impact winning as much as possible,” Carr said. “I’ll do whatever to win.”