“When he got the steal and started zooming towards the rim, I saw that Nick was gonna go up and try to block the shot,” says Allen Jr. “When I saw Aquille’s approach, I was like, ‘Aw man! He’s getting ready to try and dunk it!'”
Not only did he ram it, but he threw it down with such force that the game had to be halted due to the ensuing spill-out of fans onto the court.
After the dunk, Carr’s box office appeal skyrocketed. Policemen in East Baltimore began noticing a sharp negative spike in area crime statistics during the times that Patterson played. Hence, one of the most delicious nicknames and organic marketing slogans in recent hoops memory was born: “The Crime Stopper.”
“The Crime Stopper nickname came directly from law enforcement,” says friend Dyrell Garrett. “The police noticed that all of the corners were empty at certain times, and they would be wondering, ‘Where did everybody go?'”
“From a police standpoint, it’s a good thing when Aquille is in the gym,” says Rodney Coffield, a city police officer who’s also the head coach at Douglass High School. “He’s a pretty nifty player, and everybody in East Baltimore wants to see him play, including the guys involved with the drugs, the guns and the violence. The crime goes down, and everybody wins when he’s playing, including the Eastern and Southeastern Police Districts.”
Off the court, away from the packed gyms and a fawning local media, Carr was also making some less publicized strides.
“Coming out of middle school, he didn’t know how to study properly, how to take notes and those types of things,” says Martin. “We told him it was a four-year marathon. He’s sitting there with a 2.5 GPA, attends all of his classes and he’s putting forth the effort because there’s a willingness to succeed.”
During his majestic sophomore campaign, Carr averaged 31 points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals in leading Patterson to a 25-2 record. On December 29th, he dropped 57 dizzying points on a very good Forest Park High School team, breaking the individual-game scoring record that stood at Patterson for over 50 years.
In front of a raucous crowd at Coppin State University on Feb. 11 that included Washington Wizards rookie point guard John Wall, Carr scored 29 points, despite playing sparingly in the fourth quarter while battling severe leg cramps, propelling Patterson into the city’s Division I championship game.
With the lathered crowd on their feet and the score knotted at 67, Carr gathered the ball at half court with 10 seconds left in the game. He jab-stepped, took two hard dribbles right, executed a razor-sharp, step-back crossover and launched a three that softly swished through the net.