MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Carnegie fits the Wrangler way
Feb 11, 2013 (Odessa American - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
With only one season to play at Odessa College, it would be easy for Ladon Carnegie to only care about himself and try to score every time he touches the ball.
And he has the skills to probably be successful in doing so.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore guard has already impressed Division I scouts and signed to play basketball next season at South Alabama, well on his way to achieving his goals on the court.
But Carnegie's main concern is winning, and while making the most of his short time at Odessa College, he's helping his team do just that.
The Wranglers (19-5 overall, 9-2 Western Junior College Athletic Conference) host rival Midland College tonight at the OC Sports Center, sitting half a game behind first place New Mexico Junior College in the WJCAC standings.
"I think we just bonded and come together," said Carnegie, who is averaging 10.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. "Everybody is going to have their night. We have 30 games to play. Everybody is going to get a chance to get their shine on.
"We just let the chips fall where they may and go out there and ball. Whoever's night it is, that is whose night it's going to be, and that's working for us."
Some nights have belonged to Carnegie, who has scored 20 or more points on six different occasions. On other nights, he is perfectly content leading the team in rebounding, dishing off to his teammates or harassing the opposition on the defensive end.
"Our guys just want to win. That's what it comes down to," said OC head coach Tra Arnold. "A certain guy may have a big game on a certain night, and some nights they won't. But you can always bring energy, effort and play defense. And that's what they have bought into."
Arnold was at Blinn Junior College last season and coached against Carnegie, who transferred to Odessa College from Paris Junior College.
"We were fortunate to get him," Arnold said. "He's a good athlete, he's real long and he's a good shooter and continues to get better. Ladon is one of our toughest kids. He plays hard all the time and he has from day one. He's really bought into what we're trying to do and I'm really happy he's on our team."
Arnold said Carnegie's skill set, combined with his attitude, will bode well for South Alabama next season and he expects him to make an impact at the Division I level.
"The most important thing is he wants to win," Arnold said. "He wants to win for his teammates and he wants to win for himself. He'll continue to get better over the rest of the season and during the summer and will be a good player for them next year."
But for now, Carnegie is content at Odessa College, playing the game that he loves and helping his Wrangler teammates reach their maximum potential.
That is evidenced not only by his effort on the court, but the fun-loving smile that is present whenever he's on it.
"Basketball is always fun," he said. "I love the game and I love being out there playing with my teammates."
--Follow Mike Whitson on Twitter at @OAWhitson
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