Tarpon basketball

SUN PHOTO BY JENNIFER BRUNO Charlotte's Tre Carroll was part of last year's Tarpons district champion team. Here he fights through the Clearwater defense toward the basket.

By BENJAMIN BAUGH

Sports Writer

This is part two in a two part series on Charlotte High School basketball player Tre Carroll.

The Tarpons won the 2018-19 district title and Carroll was a key variable in the equation.

“I remember before the first team practice that we had, I told Makai (Reaves) and Ahmad (Johnson), I promise you, I’m going to help you get that first district title, I’m going to make sure it happens,” said Carroll.

The victory against Port Charlotte left an indelible impression, one that will resonate with Carroll for the rest of his life.

“Makai came up to me before I shot one of the game winning free throws, and he said, ‘Remember what you promised me.’ And I said, ‘Don’t worry I’m going to make this.’ And I made it, and we won the district championship. And he came up to me and he said, ‘I love you little bro.’ And I was like, ‘I got you.’ He’s going off to college in Cali. I’m really happy for him and his family. I know he’s going to do great these next four years playing basketball.”

Carroll has come a long way from his nascent stages, from when he was a chubby little guy shooting on the pull-up bars evolving into a six-foot eight-inch, long, lean, lefty shooting basketball player, said Tom Massolio, Charlotte boys basketball coach.

“He’s grown as a person,” said Massolio.

“He’s still a huge kid. But he’s grown and he’s really respected by his peers and the community. The teachers here really enjoy him being around. He’s just a wonderful individual and young man. It has a lot to do with the way his mother and his grandparents have raised him. They’ve done a tremendous job with him. If you go around and ask anybody, it’s always something positive about the young man.”

Carroll places an emphasis on improving his play, said Massolio.

Even when he makes mistakes, he learns from them, recognizing what he should’ve done, and makes the adjustments to his game, so he won’t make those mistakes again. But it’s his selflessness that stands out.

“That’s a lot for a 16 or 17-year-old kid, in high school especially,” said Massolio.

“I’ve never seen a guy, who’s such a star that cares about people so much. I’ve never seen that quite so much at his age. We’ve had some great players that cared about guys, but you kind of had to teach it to them, and tell them that you need those other guys. The best thing about him is that he knows he needs other guys, and he’s still that guy. He wants to learn.”

However, it always seems to come back to Carroll’s indefatigable work ethic and tireless spirit.

“One of the biggest things that coaches say is that he has a great motor,” said Massolio.

“And he does. It could be better We’ve preached about that We’ve talked about that. For his age, his height and what he does on the floor constantly. He gets up and down the floor. I think our senior class this year has brought him in and wanted him to thrive and be even better than what he is.”

Carroll possesses so many intangibles and is a leader on the floor, always willing to teach the younger players. At the Tarpons youth camps, many of the younger players look at Carroll as a role model, and his ability to reach the players who are participating in the program by working with them one-on-one provides an inspirational influence, said Massolio.

Massolio describes Carroll as a team-oriented player.

“As far as basketball, I think he has a tremendous upside,” said Massolio. “He has great game now, he gets in the gym and works on it. I’m constantly talking to him about things he has to get better at...I’ve never looked at him as a stats guy. I think he’s about wins and losses. He has a chance to eclipse the most wins by any Charlotte High basketball player in school history. And if you asked me about any record you would want to break, that would be the one. If you look at the definition of a star, it’s making other guys around him better. He does a good job at that.”

Carroll’s trajectory has been phenomenal and his first AAU game this summer left his coach speechless. He’s a vocal leader on the floor as well as a powerful presence leading by example. Carroll is also fiercely competitive and hates to lose, said Massolio.

“I couldn’t believe the numbers he put up (in the first AAU game this summer),” said Massolio.

Carroll scored 36 points and pulled down 24 rebounds. “He’s only going to get better. He’s probably going to play the point guard position for us this year. I don’t think down the line he’ll be a point guard, but it will make him a more attractive college basketball player because he’s going to be in that situation a lot more.”

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