Rookie Alex Carson hit 5/6 three-point shots for a game-high 18 points in the first AUS regular season game of his career.
In 2014, Carson was named a second team all-star in the under-17 men’s basketball nationals, helping Nova Scotia earn bronze. In the same tournament a year later, he was named a first team all-star and scored 28 points in the gold medal game to help Nova Scotia defeat Ontario at Saint Mary’s University. He also won two metro high school boys MVP awards in grade 11 and 12 for Sackville High.
“He’s just a big time player,” said his 2015 under-17 and Sackville High coach Jarred Timmons. “I can honestly say in three years of coaching Alex, I can’t count on one hand how many times I have said wow he had a bad game.”
Carson’s talent caught the attention of universities from Carleton to Princeton. His father, Bruce Carson, estimated that 25 to 30 teams were interested in his son. He said Dalhousie was one of the first teams to show interest.
Rick Plato, the Tiger’s head coach, contacted Carson at the end of his grade ten year. Plato had multiple dinners with Carson and his family and organized a tour of the university. He also arranged for Carson to work at Dal’s summer basketball camp with current players such as Sven Stammberger, Ritchie Kanza Mata and Matt McVeigh, allowing Carson to get to know some of his potential teammates.
Plato watched Carson play an estimated 30 or 40 times prior to Carson becoming a Tiger. The coach gave advice to Carson at the end of games even though he had not yet committed to playing for Dalhousie.
“He really cared about my personal goals,” Carson said. “He just wanted to see me grow as a player before he even knew I was going to be a Tiger.”
Carson is working towards a Bachelor of Science and a management degree from Dal’s recreation management program. He also believes Dalhousie is the best school for him to grow as a player
“Basketball-wise it came down to where I thought the best fit was for me as a player and where I could grow as a player,” said Carson. “Defensively is where I could make a lot of improvements…and I felt this would be the best fit.”
The opportunity to play at home in front of family and friends was important to Carson. If he moved away from Nova Scotia, his family and friends would have to watch him play online.
The opportunity to possibly win a national championship at home for a hometown team was also too good to pass up. This season, Dalhousie is hosting the U Sports Men’s Basketball Final Eight at the Scotiabank Centre, which means a guaranteed entry for the Tigers.
“Winning it in your home city, it just sounded great to me and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Carson.
His final decision was between the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie.
“It was so hard for him because everyone was nice. There were pros to every program, every school. It was difficult,” said his mother, Lisa.
The Tigers are going to lose four players next season and Plato hopes Carson’s recruitment allows for more top Atlantic Canadian talent to come to Dalhousie.
“I’m hoping by getting Alex, it will open the flood gates.”