The quiet persona Khadeen Carrington came to the Hall with has served him well, but as a junior guard on a team needing leadership, he has changed.
Speaking up has not always been easy for Carrington. Associate head coach Shaheen Holloway recalled a time where he was practically silent.
“He came a long way since a freshman. When he first got here he didn’t talk at all. Now he won’t shut up,” Holloway joked. “He’s doing a great job of getting guys comfortable. He’s doing a great job of getting the young guys to understand what it is to come every day at practice and have a great practice and come ready to play. He’s been doing a great job. Khadeen’s been very steady for us.”
That steadiness is rooted in Carrington’s lead by example personality, which enforces the strongest facet of his brand of leadership.
Freshman guard Eron Gordon noted that Carrington is one to put more stock in his actions than his words.
“He’s the type of guy that shows everyone by being first in line and making sure that everything in practice is ran fluently,” Gordon said. “He’s been a lead by example type of guy.”
Although this is Carrington’s strong suit, complacency does not keep him satisfied. He intends to be more vocal before this season.
“I plan to talk more during games,” Carringotn said “It starts in practice so that’s why I start it now.”
Kevin Willard understands how vital Carrington’s voice is to the team’s success, especially with extended time at the point guard position. The coach can already tell he’s been working towards progressing as a vocal leader.
“I think that’s something that he’s really working on – understanding his voice is the most important voice,” Willard said. “When you bring the ball up, everybody’s looking at you, so they’re gonna feed off of your body language, they’re gonna feed off of your voice. When you’re defending the ball, everybody’s looking at you.”
Carrington’s efforts to becoming a more vocal leader are not going unheard. Holloway has enjoyed seeing Carrington grow and flourish.
“It’s been great seeing him blossom,” Holloway said. “Like I said he came in, didn’t really talk that much. Now he’s a vocal leader. So just things like that – things outside of basketball I’m more proud of. His grades are great, his attitude has always been good, but now he’s talking now. Now people are following behind him and that’s the thing I’m most proud of with him.”
As Carrington adjusts to his new role of team leader, he is also being asked to take on point guard duties. He will play off the ball plenty, but there will be times where the junior has to steer the Pirates’ offense.
Holloway does not expect Carrington to struggle while spending more time as a floor general.
“It’s been the same since he’s been a freshman because he’s been a part of playing point guard last year, and playing point guard as a freshman,” Holloway said. “So it’s just the same thing basically. Getting him comfortable at that position, making sure he understands who to look for, how to look for them, the guys that need to score.”
The position is nothing new to Carrington, but he may see more minutes in the role than in years past. Willard expects the same style and flare that Carrington has provided during his first two seasons.
“He’s a natural scorer. So just getting him to understand what we need to do on each play – but we’re not trying to change who Khadeen is,” Willard noted.
Last season, Carrington played the secondary scoring option to Isaiah Whitehead, averaging 14.1 points per game. He showed his versatility by canning more than 1.5 threes per game, dishing out 2.5 assists per game and sneakily forcing more than a steal per contest.
Carrington continues to grow into more than just a scorer. The team considers him a playmaker, the kind of guard that can be active on both sides of the ball – especially with creating offense.
“Just being the alpha dog. Having energy on both sides of the floor,” Carrington described his expanding role. “Everybody looks to me for that energy so that’s what I’m working on this year.”
Carrington knows all eyes will be on him as he takes hold of the SHU offense, but he’s ready to do anything the Pirates need to win.
“We see him as a guy just to make plays. Whether you’re making plays for yourself or your teammates just go out there, make plays, make the right reads,” Holloway said. “Be comfortable and also making sure we’re getting into the sets. Because at the end of the day, you’re going to get yours and he understands that because of the way our team is structured, the guards play a big, big part.”
Kyle Kasharian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ItsKyleKash.