I met Matt Carroll in the summer of 2007 at a Sixers youth basketball camp. For those who weren’t fortunate enough to attend a week of the fabled Sixers Camps, when an NBA player or coach stopped by, he would present something. Usually, he would present a drill that would help improve a particular fundamental skill. Then the entire camp would proceed to work on it throughout the remainder of the morning prior to lunch. In the afternoon, we would scrimmage the hell out of each other, either in the daily 1-on-1 tournament or the weeklong 5-on-5 league.
Carroll’s presentation was about shooting. It made sense. He was coming off a 2006-07 campaign with the Charlotte Bobcats in which he drilled 41.6 percent of his shots from three. Before he began to demonstrate the drill, Carroll somehow called me out of the crowd of 250 campers to help him perform the routine practice.
That made sense too. I was a budding eighth grader, one of the oldest kids at camp, and it was just a few months before I would be named co-captain of my middle school basketball team. I had just won the three-point shootout that morning, so the camp director—I can only remember his first name was Malcolm—recommended I have the once-in-a-life-time opportunity to practice my jumper with the Hatboro-Horsham High and Notre Dame product.
The drill was a standard youth basketball competition. Carroll stood on the left elbow as I stood on the right and we traded 15-foot jumpers. We both started at 0 points, with each made shot worth 1 point and each miss worth -1 point. We played until the first person reached 5 points or someone was winning by a 5-point margin. Unfortunately, Carroll protected his NBA ego and didn’t let himself lose to an usually hairy middle schooler.
Turns out, that’s not a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In fact, the Sixers might be able to practice their shooting with Carroll every day this season, reports Tom Moore of the Intelligencer.
Carroll, who recently retired, reportedly reached out to new Sixers head coach Brett Brown before the team’s training camp opened. Brown was kind enough to invite the 10-year NBA vet to help out.
"I’ve been enjoying it," Carroll told Moore during camp. "It’s been a great experience with the Sixers and having a chance to work with a lot of young players (including former Temple standout Khalif Wyatt) and learning from Brett and the rest of his coaching staff."
Carroll did not travel with the team to Europe for their two-game preseason trip, but he did tell Moore, "there’s a chance I could be back."
With an abundance of young players on the Sixers’ preseason roster that have been labeled "Guys That Could Be Great If They Can Find Just A Semblance Of A Jumper," Carroll would be an excellent addition to Brown’s motley staff of player developers—even if he's simply just a part-time consultant to the team's young guys, as a source suggested to Liberty Ballers.
Brown knows what dividends could come for an NBA team with a shooting specialist on its coaching staff. In San Antonio, Chip Engelland, who’s been with the club since 2005-06, has been heralded as the man to vastly improve the strokes of Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. Legend has it Grant Hill also sought out the sage shot doctor.
Could Carroll be the Engelland to the Sixers’ Spurs?
From personal experience, I can say the career-38.4 percent three-point shooter knows how to teach the skill pretty damn well.