By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
In just more than a year’s time, Stillwater High School junior Carson Teel has gone from virtually unknown to one of the Pioneers’ most dangerous weapons.
After scoring 29 points in the 77-62 win over Ada Friday in the semifinals of the East Central Oklahoma Classic, the junior sharp-shooter has become a marked man across the state.
“The growth between last year and this year has been huge,” Stillwater coach Michael Davis said. “He’s our team captain and he’s doing what we asked him to do — lead.”
Teel has been known to make teams pay with by shooting 33 percent from beyond the arc prior to Tuesday’s game against Enid, but he didn’t make any 3-pointers against Ada. Instead he used a newly developed inside game in the win over the Cougars.
“I feel like I’m making my progress there more and more as I come along,” Teel said. “I feel like I have my 3-point game down, but I still need to work on it. But then I also have my inside game down to where I can be trusted on either occasion.
Much like his transition to the varsity level last season, getting used to playing in the post hasn’t always been easy for Teel. It took some time for Teel to understand Davis’ philosophy but now that they’re on the same page, Teel’s stock continues to rise along with his confidence.
“Carson and I just had to get on the same sheet of music,” Davis said. “He also had to realize that I believe in him as a player and he didn’t have to worry about me. I just wanted him to go play and right now he’s doing that for us.”
“I’ve seen some pretty good players come through here over the past few years,” Teel said. “Jordan Pound being one of them and Dylan (Murrell) being another. Connor Lamb and Alex Budke — all these guys came in and they were in my position as sophomores. Seeing them had the success they had, it helped me out because I knew that I could be like them and do everything they did. By buying into Coach D, I knew that I could have a successful career as well.”
Buying into a system can only go so far, though. For Teel, that 29-point performance was the product of countless hours in the gym perfecting his shot.
“He understands the concept of putting your time in so he’s willing to get in the gym and work at it,” Davis said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with Carson and the success he’s having because I know he’s put the time in there to do this.”
All that time has finally paid off for Teel, who said the game has slowed down drastically since he first stepped on the floor as a sophomore. But with a season and a half still to go in his Pioneer career, don’t expect Teel to slow down any time soon.
“I’m trying to get better at my ball handling,” Teel said. “I’ve kind of slacked off in that area a little bit. Every day we try to work on that with coach (Kyle) Love, who coaches our guards. That’s the one area that I still feel like I need to improve my game.
“Knowing the improvements I’ve made from my sophomore year to my junior year, it was quite a jump. I have started to get used to the game even more, so I’m excited to see what next year has for me.”
One thing that Davis does expect — Teel will become an even more dominant force by the time he’s a senior.
“I think Carson can be whatever he wants to be,” Davis said. “He’s already a captain and a leader. He’s just going to continue to get better. I’d much rather have 10 guys like Carson — guys that are full of potential but still humble enough to work hard — than 10 guys who just want to play for themselves. Guys like Carson Teel, Caleb Watkins, Rico (Thompson) and Brett (Budke), those guys and their work ethic in practice are the reason that we have been so successful this season.”
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