By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
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Three-time ABA All-Star Darel Carrier relives what basketball was like in the 1960s and 70s. Darel tells us about choosing the industrial league’s Phillips 66ers over the NBA, being one of the first great three-point shooters and playing for the Kentucky Colonels.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
01:00 – Darel’s first basketball and goal outside of his childhood house, being inspired by his older brother to play the game;
04:00 – His recruitment which went down to a decision between the Western Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky;
06:25 – Averaging 29 points per game on the freshmen team, helping coach E.A. Diddle recruit Clem Haskins and Dwight Smith, the first black athletes on the WKU basketball program;
8:10 – WKU’s successful year in 1961-62, Bobby Rascoe being an All-American, the team’s record suffering as some graduated and coach Diddle became sick, Darel learning to score while being the focal point of a bad team;
12:20 – Having little contact with the St. Louis Hawks after the 1964 NBA Draft, requesting a no-cut contract while knowing that he’d like to play for the Phillips 66ers;
14:00 – The benefits of playing for the 66ers – getting to play abroad, making the USA national team, having a job in place after his career and the competition the industrial league’s 66ers played against;
18:30 – Darel playing in the 1967 Pan American Games with Jo Jo White and Wes Unseld, Unseld helping Darel reach 32 points against Cuba (a single-game record which still stands) with his passing, getting on the team thanks to Cazzie Russell turning pro;
22:40 – The importance of having a mental advantage, Darel’s confidence about having never seen anyone who could out-score or out-shoot him, regularly making at least 27 out of 30 three-pointers in Ed Macauley‘s basketball clinics;
26:20 – Working on his long range shooting at high school, being dedicated at practicing, becoming pioneers of the three-pointer with Kentucky’s back-court mate Louie Dampier;
33:35 – Darel’s best individual performances, 48 points against the Minnesota Muskies, an important steal on Bob Verga versus the Carolina Cougars, 53 points and 7 straight threes against the Miami Floridians and Jerry Harkness‘s disbelief over his long range;
35:30 – The 1970-71 ABA Finals between the Kentucky Colonels and the Utah Stars, coach Frank Ramsey not having Darel on Glen Combs during a crucial time in Game 7;
40:10 – Having back surgery before Kentucky’s 68-win season in 1971-72, Rick Mount coming in to replace him, Adolph Rupp getting Darel to come to play for the Memphis Tams where didn’t have much fun;
45:20 – Darel’s memories of Johnny Neumann, him taking Darel to Elvis’s house, Neumann and Pete Maravich shooting more than Darel did in college;
48:00 – Family being the most important thing to him, having seen no footage of his ABA playing days.
Notable snippets of the interview:
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Thanks to Darel for coming on the podcast and offering an insightful look on his career and the basketball of his day and age.
Super interview with Darel Carrier. When I think of great three-point shooting tandems, Carrier and Dampier are right at the top. Thanks, Reinis, for your outstanding interviews with these brilliant players of the past.
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Thank you for the kind comment, Mark.
Carrier and Dampier really are at the top and what’s crazy is that they were so ahead of their time. Not only were they making more of them than anyone else but the both of them would also be over 37% for a particular season, a percentage which is still very good in the 3-point era we are living in now.
Thanks, Reinis! I have really enjoyed this about Darel Carrier.
Darel never received the recognition he deserves. I can remember watching him individually warming up an hour before Kentucky Colonels games and it seemed that he never missed a shot. After many games he would come back and shoot on his own for another hour after games. There was a reason that he was the greatest shooter that I ever saw during the time that he was playing……..he had a fundamentally perfect shot, a quick release, and he put in more time than anyone else. Steph Curry is currently the best that I’ve ever seen, but right behind him in my opinion is Darel Carrier.
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There you go, folks. A great account on Darel from a peer of his.
Thank you for that write-up, Bill!