Aquille Carr, DaQuan Cook lead Under Armour AAU program.
by Kye Stephenson
Sports apparel company Under Armour is looking to make big waves this summer with the introduction of their new AAU squad the B’More Under Armour Panthers. Tapping into their talent-rich hometown (Under Armour is based in Baltimore); one of the world’s fastest rising brands has assembled some of the most talented kids not only in the city, but in the nation.
For their first season in Charm City, anchoring their 16-and-under team will be the 5-7 whirlwind Aquille Carr. One of the hottest prospects in his age group, Carr lead Patterson High School to their first ever State Title game last season, averaging 32 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds — all while dazzling crowds with his insane dribbling and speed. And not to mention his hops. Carr’s dunk over Maryland-bound 6-3 shooting guard Nick Faust last year is still talked about in B’more hoop circles.
Considered one of the most explosive and dynamic players in the country, regardless of class, Carr put up a 58-point game this season, was named the Baltimore Sun Boys Basketball Player of the Year as a sophomore, and will undoubtedly make lots of noise this summer with the Panthers.
Also a notable addition to the Panthers is 2012-class guard DaQuan Cook. Cook led B’More Nike Elite last year to a 16-and-under championship at the Orlando Super Showcase and is getting comparisons to Baltimore legend Sam Cassell and current NBA-er Brandon Jennings.
Just turning 16, Cook was named Most Outstanding Player while taking his high school team, the Digital Harbor Rams, to a State Title. Cook was a second-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection and will play the point for the 17-and-under squad, which will be coached by former Mt. Zion Academy (Tracy McGrady, Amar’e Stoudemire) coach Mike White.
With both Carr and Cook, the Under Armour Panthers have built a foundation which will only continue to get stronger, according to Director of Basketball Operations Dwayne Wise.
“When you can start off a new program with two of the best guards in the nation with a quickly rising brand behind them, it becomes reality that a takeover is in view,” said Wise.
Wise’s development of the program will be aided by his cousin, Program President Mark Karcher. Karcher is a former McDonald’s All-American, Temple University star and 76ers draft pick. Together, they plan on building from the middle school and having every top kid in B’More sporting the brand at some point.
“We’re doing big things,” Wise said. “If you look at our 15-and-under team, we have a future stud in 6-4 freshman Allen Costly from St. Frances. So we will make noise from day one.
“Both Mark and I are dedicated to bringing the best kids together and taking Under Armour and Baltimore basketball to new heights. With the swagger of an Aquille Carr and DaQuan Cook representing, the next generation will follow in their footsteps.”