Nov. 29, 2005
Cullowhee, N.C. -
November 29, 1980 is a date that marked a change in the way basketball on the collegiate level is played. And none other than Western Carolina's Ronnie Carr was the man who got it all started 25 years ago today. Although it was not used as much back then, from that day on, the collegiate game of basketball started evolving with the advent of the 3-point shot.
Carr's historic shot came in Western's 77-70 victory over Middle Tennessee State and the ball he used is still on display at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. The shot was a 23-footer from the left wing of Reid Gym -- Western's facility at the time -- with 16:09 left in the first half (7:06 pm).
Ironically, Carr wore number 22 and the 3-point arc that first year was 22 feet from the center of the basket, instead of the now 19-feet, nine-inches. Carr had the number 22 his freshman season and the 3-point shot did not debut until his sophomore year. Another interesting side note, while Carr made the first 3-pointer in NCAA history, Western Carolina actually played a game one day prior (Nov. 28), defeating the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 88-77, in Atlanta. However, Carr's historic shot had to wait one until the following day since the Southern Conference was one of only two leagues sanctioned by the NCAA to use the 3-point shot.
Carr only took 39 3-pointers during the 1980-81 season, making 15 and earning first team All-Southern Conference honors. The following year, Carr only took 11 treys, making eight. However, the 1981-82 season, which would be his final year at Western, Carr still led the SoCon in scoring and earned first team All-SoCon honors for a second time. While Carr did not utilize the 3-point shot much, Western led the SoCon in 3-pointers made and attempted during the four-year NCAA/SoCon experiment, making 182-of-450 treys (.404) over the time span.
Carr would not be able to play his senior year after having a serious car accident prior to the season's start. However, Carr served as a student assistant coach that season and would go on to receive "Most Courageous Athlete" award, given by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Despite the accident, Carr was still selected in the 10th round of the NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
Carr finished his 3-year career at Western with 1,455 points, which ranks 13th on the school's all-time list.