MHS’ Carr verbally commits to K-State

By Maria McIlwain

Christianna Carr found a home this year on Manhattan High’s girls basketball team.

Now she gets to stay in town for a few more years.

The junior guard picked Kansas State on Sunday over Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

“At first, I was like, ‘What is K-State?’” Carr said. “I just fell in love with the school after I came here.”

She said she enjoys the family atmosphere and the support for the women’s basketball program as well as the team and its passion for the game.

“I just love how so many people stand behind the Wildcats, in whatever sport it is,” Carr said. “The coaching staff is great; they really took the time to get to know me and get to know me outside of basketball.

“Me just being comfortable and knowing what I’m going into helps. I don’t really like jumping into something when I don’t really know many people.”

Carr, who is the No. 9 guard in the class of 2018 and No. 23 player overall, per ESPN HoopGurlz, moved to Manhattan from Minnetonka, Minnesota, after her father, Chris Carr, took a job as the director of student-athlete development for the women’s basketball team. Chris played for six NBA teams from 1995 to 2001 and averaged 6.7 points per game.

Having her dad as a coach isn’t anything new, but this will be a bit different.

“It’s going to be weird playing on a college court and having him sit there, because I never imagined that in making my college decision, but I’m excited for it,” Carr said.

It was not an easy choice.

“Calling Mississippi State (Sunday) and telling them I was closing my recruiting really hurt my heart because it was good to get to know such amazing coaches throughout the country, and I was blessed to get that option, because most kids don’t to do that,” Carr said.

Manhattan head coach Scott Mall is always happy to see his players continue with basketball in college.

“Especially the last few years, we’ve had some girls who wanted to go and play,” Mall said. “It’s good to know that other programs want them to come and play. Hopefully, between their talents and our program, coaches feel confident that girls from here can help them and be a part of their program.”

Carr is relieved to have made her decision already.

“This year, I can just play knowing what Coach Mittie wants and work toward that,” Carr said. “Coach Mall will help me improve with that.”

She wasn’t always set on K-State and said it took a long time for her to decide. She said she started playing basketball in seventh grade and was getting attention from colleges by eighth grade.
“When I got my offer from South Carolina my freshman year, I was very headstrong on, ‘South Carolina it is,’” Carr said. “I just loved the school. I visited there.”

But something her dad said made her think.

“Every girl’s dream is to play for UConn and play for Geno Auriemma and win another national championship,” she said, “but really, that eye-opener was my sophomore year, my dad told me, ‘Do you want to be a part of a program that’s great, or do you want to make a program great?’ … You want to speed (the recruiting process) up as much as you can, but you’ve really got to take the time because you’re going to be there your next four years, and you want to make sure you love where you are.”

Getting recruited isn’t always easy, she said.

“Even when the phone calls get hefty, and the letters get hefty and you’re just sick of talking to college coaches, you’ve just got to look back and say you’re blessed because not many people make it to where they are at that point,” Carr said.

Even after she started getting recruited, she knew she had to keep working.

“Probably getting stronger, getting quicker on defense and being able to catch it and be confident enough to make it,” Carr said. “Looking at the girls who play in college, they’re so confident when they shoot the ball.”

Mall said the 6-foot Carr is another threat for the already-deep Indians.

“When she hit 3s against Garden City that second game, people rotate, like, ‘Boy, you’ve got to get on her,’” Mall said. “Well, that just opens other people up.”

The move to Manhattan was sudden, but Carr has bonded with her teammates, especially Gigi McAtee, Josie Hilgers and Megan Worthington, who also moved before this year.

“It was kind of hard to leave my best friend and know that it was our last AAU game playing together when we really didn’t expect it,” Carr said.

But the move helped her experience K-State better.

“For you to be able to just sit there and actually live it and be able to see it and witness it actually all come true, it was just something that I enjoyed a lot,” Carr said.

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