Persistence will pay off for Carroll

On the top of Jaycee Carroll’s personal workout sheet reads the saying by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: ‘Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate you are sure to wake somebody.’
Right now, Carroll is banging on the NBA door, and in a couple of months from now he’s going to find out if someone is listening.
The two-time Honorable Mention Associated Press All-American isn’t stepping up to the door empty-handed, however.
He comes with a fist full of collegiate accolades which include Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, two-time WAC first-team selection, Big West Freshman of the Year, Big West Conference Tournament MVP, etc.
All those honors haven’t come without a price, and it’s a price he’s willingly paid and continues to pay to try and get to the next level.
‘Everybody I’ve talked to wants to send me to a training facility for the next four or five weeks to work on basketball every day, be with a nutritionist, be with a weight coach and live and breath basketball for the next few weeks and really try to help myself move up the draft board,’ he said.
Since returning from his LDS Church Mission in 2004, Carroll has fired up some 65,000 shots in personal workouts. That doesn’t include team practice, playing H-O-R-S-E with his friends, pick-up games, shooting in the driveway or shots in games.
Every one of the 65,000 were game shots, game spots at game speed. Generally, his father, mother, wife, brother, sister or anyone that was available would rebound for him.
Earlier this month I went to one of his workouts prior to his participation in a national three-point shooting contest on San Antonio.
His goal was to make 330 shots; Not shoot 330 shots, but make 330 shots: Form shots, Mikan drills, foul shots, spot-up three pointers, hooks shots, 10-foot jumpers, 22-foot three-pointers, etc.
He made 55 of his first 57 shots, and at the end of the 45-minute workout he shot 383 shots (with a reporter speaking to him) to make 330.
Remember, these were game shots, game spots at game speed.
Two days earlier, with an agent bending his ear, he needed 400 shots to complete his goal of 338 makes.
As I watched I remarked I had seen every one of those shots in a game. In four years of covering Carroll I don’t think I saw more than a handful of different shots that he didn’t practice that day.
He claims he never took a shot in a game that he never practiced, and after seeing his workout, I believe him.
‘I know what kind of shots I am going to get in games, so I practice them,’ he said.
Each Sunday night he writes his a new workout schedule or choses one he has used in the past. He has around 30 different workout programs, and all of them are based off the shots he gets from the plays Utah State basketball coach Stew Morrill has in the playbook specifically for him.
For the last two years, a play was called for Carroll every other time down the floor, and of the 50 or so plays in the book, just over half were for him.
For his four-year career in which he scored a school-record 2,522 points, Carroll shot the ball (two-pointers, three-points and foul shots) 2,177 times.
He finished 880-of-1,721 from the field (including 369-of-793 from the three-point line) and 393-of-456. This last year he missed just 12 from the charity stripe.
To put this a little more in perspective, he shot 1,200 shots in one day. (He missed several days of workouts while on his honeymoon last summer and tried to make up for it in one day).
He personal record for consecutive three-pointers made in one workout is 33, and from the foul line he’s hit 73 straight and 100-of-102.
He has the work ethic, he can shoot and score the ball, now Carroll needs someone to give him a chance.
‘The little that I have heard is that I definitely have a shot, given the right situation and the right time and the right team I could have a successful NBA career,’ he said. ‘Who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky and get blessed and that will happen right away. Then again it could happen in a few months or a year or two down the road.’
One thing is for sure, he will keep knocking until someone hears him.

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