DeAndre Craig’s growth as player, leader key for Mount Carmel
By Kyle Williams
Mount Carmel’s poise and shooting paced it to a 61-51 win against Westinghouse at the Team Rose Classic, which the Caravan hosted.
It was a sluggish start for Mount Carmel, which played its third game in as many days. At halftime, the game was deadlocked at 24.
“We’ve played three games in three days, so we had some really tired legs out there,” head coach Phil Sergroves said. “We just willed a win. Our guys are gutting things out and not wanting to give in.”
In particular, it was a slow start for Mount Carmel’s dynamic junior guard DeAndre Craig. The much-ballyhooed playmaker scored just six points in the first half.
“I found my rhythm in the second half,” Craig said. “In the first half, my shots weren’t falling, so I came out taking my time and playing my game.”
Craig’s teammate, junior guard Anthony Ciaravino, scored 12 points in the first half to keep Mount Carmel afloat.
With Craig garnering the attention of opposing defenses, he’s adapted his game to let the game come to him and have faith in his teammates.
“Teams are coming out face guarding off the rip,” Craig said. “I got to trust my teammates to do it if I can’t get it going.”
Craig took off in the second half, finishing with 20 points. The junior guard is explosive getting to the basket, in the half-court or transition, and his jumper started falling in the second-half. Sergroves spoke highly about Craig’s improvement as a shooter and his overall game.
“He’s really worked on his shot, Sergroves said. “He knocked down a ton of threes today. He also changes speed really well. Some guys are fast all the time or slow all the time. He can lull you to sleep and blow by you.”
Craig’s maturation as a leader was a focal point for the junior guard this past summer. Craig is soft-spoken, but he speaks up when he needs to.
“It starts in practice,” Craig said. “When I see guys goofing around or not giving 100 percent, I’ll get on them. I’m not trying to be mean, but the season is starting, and we gotta get going.”
Craig has played a significant role in Mount Carmel’s 10-0 start to the season, which includes victories over Marist and De La Salle.
“We expected a lot out of DeAndre since the moment he walked in the building as a freshman,” Sergroves said. “He was up on varsity towards the end of the year, so expectations are always high for him. He’s a great leader, he’s a quiet leader. He’s put in a lot of work in the off-season, a lot of work in the weight room.”