Super sophomore Robby Carmody makes Mars a destination
January 17, 2016 12:00 AM
Mars sophomore Robby Carmody has a number of major colleges courting him.
Robby Carmody has the size, athleticism and skills to bring Top 25 basketball schools to Mars.
By Mike White / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Did you know they now make GPS units that can get you to Mars and back? Yep. Some major-college basketball coaches are using them.
In the past few months, coaches from Duquesne, West Virginia, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio State, Virginia, Purdue and Northwestern have all landed on Mars. They’ve found basketball life in the form of Robby Carmody.
Carmody is a sophomore basketball player at Mars High School. He’s a 6-foot-4, 190-pound guard who has loads of athletic ability and talent, and is having a sensational season, averaging 20 points a game and shooting an astonishing 71 percent from the field.
And it’s not an overstatement to say Carmody is likely one of the most heavily recruited sophomores ever in the WPIAL.
You’ll have a hard time coming up with many WPIAL players who had scholarship offers from three Top 25 teams by the middle of their sophomore year. But Pitt, Xavier and Purdue have already offered Carmody. So have Duquesne, Penn State and Cincinnati.
Dayton is interested along with Stanford, Ohio State and West Virginia. Syracuse and Michigan are showing more interest lately.
So, a kid from of all places, Mars, has attracted a number of big-time colleges. It is an unusual story. Those associated with Mars basketball believe the only other player in the history of the school known to have been a Division I scholarship player was 6-7 Josh Goetz, who is a sophomore at Navy. Tim Frye, a 2006 Mars graduate, was a walk-on player at Pitt.
“We’d go play in AAU tournaments out of state in the summer and I’d have a Mars T-shirt on,” said Rob Carmody Sr., Robby’s father and also Mars’ coach. “I would get some guys from scouting services or just people in general ask me where I was from and I would tell them Mars, like the planet. They were thinking I was messing around with them.
“Then I would tell them our nickname is the Fightin’ Planets and they would just say, ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”
Carmody the coach (he’s in his 18th season) has put Mars basketball on the WPIAL map, going to the WPIAL semifinals for the first time three years ago and being ranked the No. 4 Class AAA team in the state this year. And the son, Robert John Carmody IV, has put himself on the college basketball recruiting map.
The scholarship offers to Carmody started coming last summer while playing AAU basketball for the Ohio Basketball Club, a highly regarded AAU club stationed near Cleveland.
“I was never expecting this [college recruiting] this early,” said Robby Carmody. “I was ‘hoping’ it would maybe happen at the end of maybe my junior year or senior year.”
What makes Robby Carmody’s story even more unusual is that he turned away from a promising football career to concentrate on basketball. Many times in Western Pennsylvania, it is the opposite with high school kids. Robby Carmody started in football and basketball as a freshman at Mars. He played receiver and safety in football and opened the eyes of some colleges. But shortly before the start of football practice this past August, Carmody gave up the sport.
“It was tough because I kind of felt like I let the football team down by not playing,” said Carmody. “A lot of people thought I did it because I didn’t want to get hurt. That wasn’t it. I just wanted to put a lot of time into basketball to keep getting better and maybe keep the colleges coming. I’m glad I did.”
There is plenty to like about Carmody. First, his size. But he also is very athletic. He has 14 dunks in nine games (he missed six games with a hyperextended knee). But he also is a skilled athlete, a model of athleticism and efficiency on the court. He is averaging 20 points while taking only 10 shots a game. His 71 percent shooting includes 43 percent (9 of 21) from 3-point range. He also averages 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.
Carmody is a coach’s son, a student of the game who is also studious off the court with a 4.1 grade-point average. He is quick with a smile and soft-spoken off the court (“Good luck getting many comments from him,” said his father), a teenager who often prefers staying home and reading a novel rather than going out with friends. He just finished “The Catcher in the Rye” and before that it was “Lord of the Flies.”
But let him step on the basketball court — and toughness and grit show.
“Most people think I’m kind of a [jerk] on the court, which I am,” Carmody said with a smile. “Away from it, I’m not like that at all.”
But there is a strong work ethic and will to succeed. Wednesday night, a half hour after practice, Mars’ gym was empty, except for Robby and his father. It was workout No. 2, but this is routine.
“I usually try to get up 300 3-pointers after every practice,” said Robby Carmody.
His father said, “I don’t know if he’s about proving anything to anyone. I think it’s just reminding people that there is still some really good basketball being played in Western Pennsylvania.”
Mike White: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1975 and Twitter @mwhiteburgh.
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