The Saint John Mill Rats have cut a player who was the stuff of local legend on the basketball court at his Baltimore high school.
Aquille Carr was described as a freakishly talented player when he was 17-years-old. At 21, his contract this year with the Mill Rats, was supposed to be his big professional break. Personal problems seemed to spill over into Carr’s game and the team let him go.
Carr played high school basketball in East Baltimore where fans called him the Crime Stopper.
Freelance writer Sam Riches has covered Carr’s career from early on.
“And for those two hours he was on the court, crime reportedly fell in the neighbourhood,” he said.
Riches describes Carr's career as trapped in the shadow of the past.
Carr was arrested in 2012 for assaulting his girlfriend. Those charges were dropped, but last month he received a call from home that has thrown him off his game according to Mill Rats general manager Ian McCarthy.
“His cousin had been murdered by a gunshot to the head,” McCarthy explained.
McCarthy says he had to let Carr go, along with three other rookies so he could re-tool the team.
“It's the hardest part of my job is to tell a player he is being let go,” he said. “But I think the situation with Aquille where there had been things occurring in the past, and then, everyone could see the results going on, on the court weren't good.”
McCarthy says most of the Mill Rats do come from challenging neighbourhoods, but on the team, they are expected to be positive role models.
Fan Brendan Kilfoil says the Mill Rats have done wonders for the game, boosting interest and enrollment, with their trips around the province to promote the sport.
He says he's sorry the five foot six point guard is gone.
“I'm disappointed, because on a selfish side, I wanted to see him play,” he said. “He's so exciting and I think he'd be great for the kids. The kids would love a player like that, because they can relate to the size, I guess. But he'll be back. I think we'll see him in the NBL again.”
Calls to Carr were not returned