Welcome to A10 Talk’s Preseason Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2018-19 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article counting down our best 25 players for the coming season, as voted on by our staff of writers. Today, we feature #24 Carl Pierre of Massachusetts.
What He’s Done
You’d be hard-pressed to find a thinner college basketball roster than that of Massachusetts last season. At times throughout the year, Matt McCall’s rotation ran just 7 men deep, including walk-on Rayshawn Miller and true freshmen Khalea Turner-Morris and Carl Pierre. The latter is the 24th player on our top 25 countdown, as he filled massive shoes in his first season as a Minuteman. Not to mention, it was a season where Massachusetts could use all the help it could get. Pierre did exactly that — and more.
Pierre made appearances in every game for the Minutemen last season and earned a starting role on December 22nd that would last the rest of the season. It was in his 2nd start of the season against Maine where he’d drop 25 points on 7-9 shooting from long range — a career-high for the freshman. He’d go on to match that 25 point performance in an overtime win against La Salle later in the season. Pierre stood out as a freshman due to his shooting. Firing 7-9 from range against Maine was no fluke. Carl Pierre scorched the nets all season long, shooting 47.2% from three, good enough for 13th in the entire nation. Even more impressive, Carl Pierre hit 3+ three pointers in 21 of his 31 contests last season.
What impressed me most about Pierre’s shooting was that he combined volume and accuracy in a year where he was one of the only options. Carl Pierre had to take a lot of shots by virtue of Massachusetts’ thin roster, but that didn’t stop him from ranking top 15 in the nation in shooting percentage as a freshman. Now the Minutemen add more shooters on the wing — like Curtis Cobb — who will take some of the scoring pressure off Massachusetts’ rising sophomore. However, if Pierre is firing close to a 50% clip again next year, I don’t know why coach McCall would want anyone else shooting the basketball…
What He’ll Do
Carl Pierre has a chance to be a deadly threat in tandem with rising junior Luwane Pipkins. The two showcased their talents last year, helping Massachusetts win some unexpected games like those over Dayton and Duquesne. Now, the Minutemen have a roster that’s jam-packed with talent and depth. 4 impact transfers gain eligibility under Matt McCall, and the Minutemen also add talented freshmen in Tre’ Wood and Samba Diallo. Expect Carl Pierre to be one of Massachusetts’ most seasoned and developed players by the time the 2018-19 season gets into full swing. Pierre has incredible poise — he had the 2nd best turnover rate in the conference last season. He doesn’t get to the line often, but he makes his free throws, and Pierre excelled in a year where he was required to play a lot of league-play minutes. I’d look for Carl Pierre to make a massive jump as a leader next season, and he should have quite the collegiate basketball career with the Minutemen.
Previously: #25 De’Riante Jenkins