DeMarre Carroll capped one of the most well-rounded seasons in Missouri Basketball history by being selected in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft (#27 overall) by the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.
Carroll became Missouri's 13th all-time first round draft pick and was the first Tiger selected in the NBA Draft since Linas Kleiza in 2005. Kleiza was also drafted #27 overall by the Portland Trailblazers and was traded to the Denver Nuggets on draft night.
“It’s a whirlwind right now,” Carroll said. “I’ve done about a million interviews so far, but this has been an amazing night. I’m so excited to be headed to Memphis. It’s a young, improving organization and it’s one I’m honored to be apart of.
“I have a lot of people I want to thank. Of course I want to thank my family. They have supported me from the very beginning. Obviously I can’t thank my coaches, teammates and the fans enough. Having a chance to play for my uncle in college was an amazing experience and I want to thank him, his staff and my teammates for helping me to reach my potential. Some great things are happening at Missouri, this past season was just the beginning. But now I can’t wait to get to Memphis and begin working for that franchise.”
Carroll enjoyed a remarkable senior season in Columbia, leading Mizzou to a school record 31 wins and a berth into the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight. A first team All-Big 12 pick on the hardwood, Carroll averaged 16.6 points and 7.2 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 1.55 steals per game. He was also named the Most Valuable Player at the 2009 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City, where he led Mizzou to its first-ever Big 12 Championship.
Carroll also got the job done off the court at Mizzou. A 2008 graduate of Missouri, the Birmingham, Ala., native was named a first team Academic All-Big 12 pick and began his Masters work in Human Development & Family Studies during the 2008-09 season.
“I’m happy DeMarre is having an opportunity to realize his dream,” Head Coach Mike Anderson said. “All the work he’s put in is paying off. He was obviously very instrumental in the resurgence of Tiger Basketball and I thought he had an outstanding season during a special year.
“I would also like to congratulate the Memphis Grizzlies and the city of Memphis,” Anderson said. “They are getting an outstanding individual into their community and someone who plays to win. That’s probably the biggest thing I can say, Memphis got a winner. I’m happy for the organization, the city of Memphis and of course DeMarre.”
Records wise the 2009 Portsmouth Invitational MVP is littered throughout the Tiger annals. He topped the 1,000-point plateau at Mizzou in just two seasons and his 59 steals last year were the 10th most in single-season history. He also started all-38 games in 2008-09, tying fellow teammate J.T. Tiller for the most starts in single-season history.
As a university, Missouri also made some history with the first-round selection of Carroll. Missouri became just the third team in the history of the Big 12 to have players selected in the first round of the NBA, National Football League and Major League Baseball drafts in the same year. In addition to Carroll, gridiron standouts Jeremy Maclin, WR (#19 to Philadelphia) and Ziggy Hood, DL (#32 to Pittsburgh) went in the NFL Draft this year, while Tiger pitchers Aaron Crow, RHP (#12 to Kansas City) and Kyle Gibson, RHP (#22 to Minnesota) went in June's MLB player draft.
Only Texas in 2006 and Oklahoma State in 2004 can boast that claim.
Carroll becomes the 40th Tiger drafted into the NBA. Bill Stauffer was Missouri's first NBA draftee by the Boston Celtics in 1952.
### MIZZOU BASKETBALL – THE FASTEST 40 MINUTES IN BASKETBALL ##