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Hall of Fame 26: Joe Barry Carroll


Joe Barry Carroll’s arrival in Milano was the product of lucky circumstances. The number 1 pick of the number1980 NBA draft, he was part of an historic trade, when Robert Parish and the number 3 pick (used to select the great Kevin McHale) were moved from Golden State to Boston in exchange of the number1. Carroll, as a fact. JB did well enough with the Warriors to establish himself as one of the most skilled, elegant and offensively efficient center in the league. A 20 point-per game scorer (20.5 the season before coming to Milano, 24.1 the previous one), in 1984 he was a free -agent but still under the Warriors control. The contractual crisis became very nasty, Carroll did not report and in the end to force the issue accepted Milano’s offer. It was clear that a player of his caliber couldn’t stay more than one year but in that specific season Milano watched the player America never saw. Thanks to the fantastic atmosphere inside the team, Carroll showed not just skills and class but also physicality and heart. In the brutal Premier’s hugging at the end of the title game in Pesaro there was the essence of his season. Anchored by Carroll, Olimpia became the first ever team to stay perfect in the playoff. It also won the Korac Cup and unfortunately couldn’t play in the Champion’s Cup. Carroll came to replace Wally Walker, a small forward, savvy NBA veteran. In reality he was meant to replace the young Russ Schoene but at the last minute he raised his game and convinced Peterson to keep him at the 3 position. It was a courageous move. To insert Carroll, Peterson had to basically play with two centers, two inside guys and moreover Meneghin, who was scoring more than 20 points per game, had to adjust to a secondary offensive role. It was changed a team working very well but with Carroll, it became almost unplayable in Italy. And Carroll completed his first and only winning season.