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Wheeling- Jack George Carmel drives to the hoop. Boys basketball. Its the 35th Annual Hardwood Classic at Wheeling High School. Carmel vs. Notre Dame at Wheeling holiday tournament. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media.
A pair of giants play in Mundelein.
The giants are very big, as giants usually are. Their legs and arms are lean and elongated, and their hands are equally massive. But this isn’t a fable; it’s real life. The giants are the Carmel boys basketball team’s Jack George and Cullen Barr.
“When we’re both on, I think we’re really hard to beat,” said George, a senior.
Carmel (4-7) has had a frustrating and inconsistent season so far. But when George and Barr are ruling the paint with a gigantic fist, the Corsairs have been almost impossible to top. In a 77-53 loss to St. Viator Friday, the tandem combined for 26 of the team’s 53 points.
When they’re on the floor, the game can become a glorified layup line for Carmel. The problem is keeping them out there.
“They work well together,” coach Tim Bowen said. “If we could get a more consistent perimeter presence, you’d see those two on the floor a lot more. Some of the things they do in practice are really fun to watch, and I’d like to see it in the games.”
The senior duo is, quite literally, long on potential. George is 6-foot-9, Barr is 6-6, and watching them peruse the court is like watching a couple of giraffes grazing in the Serengeti.
True to form, everything they do is larger than life. The strides they take are expansive; the blocks they make are thunderous. When they walk into an opposing arena, hushed silence is their entrance music.
Unfortunately, being a giant also has its pitfalls.
“Beds are an issue,” said Barr, a senior. “My parents just bought me a new bed; I used to have to sleep in a twin, and it would kind of go to my shins.”
For George, the puniness of an average-sized world has been an even bigger inconvenience.
“I’ve been tall my whole life, and when I was younger people would think it was a problem when my mom would tell them I couldn’t read,” George said.” They thought because I was so big I must have been so much older. My mom would be like, ‘No he’s only four’.”
Such is life as a giant. The beds are too small, the ceilings are too low, and everyone else looks up and wonders how anything could be so big. But at least George and Barr have each other.
“It’s really nice having him around,” Barr said. “He helps me with learning to get a shot off against taller defenders and using my body to fend them off around the basket. We go up against each other in practice, and it’s nice having a guy that’s bigger than me.” ~.