Oak Park multi-sport star Maliq Carr will have a big decision to make in several months on his college future.
It’s a great problem to have for Carr, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior who just finished a strong season in football as a big-play receiver while starting his basketball season in impressive fashion.
Carr had 21 receptions for 615 yards and nine touchdowns to help Oak Park win the Oakland Activities Association White Division championship, receiving multiple offers in a two-week period in November, including Notre Dame after attending the Irish’s win over Florida State on Nov. 10.
Carr has helped Oak Park get off to a 5-2 start in basketball, averaging 16 points and 14.5 rebounds, including a pair of 20-rebound games.
“That’s going to be tough, real tough,” said Carr of that future decision. “I’d love to play both. The last couple of months it blew up in football out of nowhere, went from seven offers to 27 offers. In two weeks, it went from Purdue, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan and Indiana. It’s like I used to watch those teams on TV and now they want to talk to me. It’s just crazy.”
And, of basketball?
“Basketball is just fun to me, really become natural because I really don’t have the time to work on it because of football,” Carr said. “I’ll run track this spring and play AAU ball for The Family, too.”
Carr hopes to narrow the field for football this spring.
“I hope to narrow the field to top seven by track season, cut it down to top five by the end of track season, and then take my officials,” Carr said.
Carr comes from a basketball family where his mother, Peggy (Evans) Carr is one of the top players to ever come out of Michigan, earning the title of Miss Basketball in 1989 while playing for Frank Orlando at Detroit Country Day where she still owns the record for most points (47, Class C title game win over Saginaw Valley Lutheran) in a state championship game. She helped Tennessee win the national title in 1991 and coached Inkster to a Class A state title in 2011.
Carr’s mother is definitely his top cheerleader, sitting in the front row at Bloomfield Hills last Thursday night while cheering him and Oak Park to a victory.
Carr’s father is Cornell Mann, who played basketball at Akron and was an assistant coach at Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Dayton, Iowa State and now at Missouri.
It just so happens that Carr’s last offer in basketball came from Missouri this past October. He also has offers from Cleveland State, LIU-Brooklyn — which played in the NCAA tournament last season — Oakland and Robert Morris.
“(My father is) just another coach and I’d just go home with him, so I don’t see any difference,” Carr said about possibly playing for his father.
Carr looked like a man among boys at times in the 49-43 win over Bloomfield Hills. In the first half, he grabbed a rebound, dribbled between his legs near the left sideline, then delivered a behind-the-back pass while driving to the basket.
In the second half, Carr scored off of consecutive putbacks to start a 12-0 run to wipe out a 26-17 halftime deficit for a 29-26 lead. Carr made an outstanding defensive play by rejecting a breakaway layup in the opening seconds of the final quarter, leading to a transition basket at the other end.
“His strength is going to the hole, crashing the boards, hitting the mid-range shot and he has great floor vision,” Oak Park coach Bobby Thompson said. “I have him handling the ball a little more, too. He told me he wants to shoot 3s, and I told him the only way he shoot 3s is that he gets seven rebounds for every 3, so he’s crashing the boards more than ever.
“I think he could play both sports in college; told him it would be hard, though. Really, he’s going to have to figure out which one he wants to play and put his all into it.”
Peggy Carr credits Oak Park football coach Greg Carter for Maliq’s growth both physically and on the field.
Carter talked about Carr’s development.
“I think strength is a big factor because he’s always had a lot of individual talent as far as football was concerned,” Carter said. “He has great hands and is a hard worker, and I think that’s a credit to him, but him getting stronger has taken him to another level in both sports. You can just see that he’s a man among boys sometimes out there. I think it just really showed up this year in football because that last summer was real important for him, worked real hard and got his body strong. You know, sophomore year a lot of kids are still young and their bodies haven’t filled out, but he started filling out this past summer."
“I don’t know what his best sport is, but he’s definitely a mismatch in football. He might be a tight end at the college level because he’s such a mismatch for linebackers and strong safeties.”
For now, Carr is enjoying his basketball and he'll worry about the future this spring.
U-D Jesuit to be at full strength later this month
U-D Jesuit was The News' preseason No. 1 team before 6-10 senior Jalen Thomas suffered a broken foot in the season opener.
Still, U-D Jesuit is off to a solid 6-2 start, which includes a loss to Romeo Weems and New Haven in the second game of the season, then to Chicago Morgan Park in the Windy City on Saturday.
Now, U-D Jesuit hopes to improve its Catholic League record to 3-0 when it plays Tuesday night at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
“I think Jalen will be out another week, and then we’re hoping to get him back next week and then (Caleb) Hunter the week after that,” said U-D Jesuit coach Pat Donnelly, who guided U-D Jesuit to six straight Catholic League titles and the Class A state championship in 2016.
Thomas could be back in the lineup for the Jan. 15 game against Detroit Catholic Central at U-D Jesuit.
Mumford’s girls get big test Monday
Defending PSL champion Detroit Mumford will get a big test Monday afternoon when it hosts Detroit Renaissance and star sophomore point guard Kailee Davis.
“We’re looking good, 5-1 right now,” Mumford 10th-year head coach Kareem Hogan said. “We returned four starters from last year’s team and Adoyeya Williams, our senior point guard is playing really well. The Jackson twins, Sequoia and Jaquioa are playing well, to,o and so are my post player Shanea Dinwiddie and Tiaira Earnest, our other senior guard.”
Williams is averaging 15 points and eight assists.