By Jim Fenton, The Enterprise (Brockton)
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- He became the 15th boys basketball player at Oliver Ames High School to score 1,000 points on Jan. 6, 2015.
Ryan Carney accomplished that feat with a layup in the third quarter during a Hockomock League victory over Canton High.
Four years later, the Easton resident is on the verge of joining another 1,000-point club.
The Bridgewater State University junior needs only 20 points to reach 1,000 at the collegiate level and will become the 29th player to achieve that for the Bears.
Carney was a scorer in high school, compiling 1,400 points and earning Enterprise All-Scholastic honors twice, and he's a scorer in college.
"He's got that scorer's mentality," said Bridgewater State coach Joe Farroba of the guard. "He's one of those guys, he might miss four in a row, but then he might make his next four in a row.
"He's done exactly what I thought he'd do when we recruited him. I knew he was a scorer. I think he fits what we do. I think he picked the right program to come to. He's just what we need."
The next chance Carney will have to add to his career point total is Tuesday night when the Bears open the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament with a home game. A victory would send BSU into the semifinal round on Thursday night.
Carney said what helped him develop as a scorer was playing with older brother, Tim, and his friends when he was a youngster.
"My brother is four years older than me, so when I was younger, I would always play with him and I would have to score against kids who were much bigger than me and all that," said Carney. "That made it much easier for me when I would play kids my age to be able to get the shot I wanted and be able to score and have that mentality that I know I could score when I wanted to and when my team needed me to."
Carney has increased his scoring average from 12.3 points last season when BSU made the NCAA Division 3 tournament to 16.8 points this season, trailing only Rayshon Ward.
In addition to scoring more, Carney is leading the team with 3.8 assists and is third with 4.3 rebounds while serving as a captain with Ward.
"This year's definitely different," said Carney. "This is actually the first time I've been a captain of any team. It's definitely a different role for me. We've had our struggles (going 1-9 to start the season), but we have a good chance to win our league and have a good season in the end.
"I would say I'm more a lead-by-example captain. I'm not the most vocal guy and I would rather people follow my example. This year, I've taken more of a responsibility to score and more to have assists after losing Rocky (DeAndrade, the all-conference point guard who graduated)."
DeAndrade, who also played in the Hockomock League at Mansfield High, is one of the reasons why Carney was interested in enrolling at Bridgewater State.
"I knew a couple of kids on the team and I met with them, especially Rocky," said Carney. "He was one of my friends in high school after playing against him. After I talked to him and visiting here, it was just the best fit for me of all the schools I went to."
As a freshman in the 2015-16 season, Carney came off the bench in 22 of 25 games and scored 8.6 points in 17 minutes, shooting 45 percent from the field.
It was an adjustment for Carney after being on the floor in such a prominent role at Oliver Ames.
"It was definitely a change," he said. "The beginning of the year was kind of tough coming off the bench. It was definitely different for me. But once I started to get into the flow and the different type of game, it was definitely nice to get some time. I started knowing my role better on the team."
Carney then sat out the 2016-17 season before returning last season and became a starter on a team that won the MASCAC tournament before losing to Williams College in the NCAA Division 3 tourney.
He averaged 12.3 points playing alongside DeAndrade in the backcourt, shooting 44 percent from the field.
"Sitting out that year was tough," said Carney. "That was probably my first year without basketball in my whole life. It was definitely a change. It was tough to stay in shape. I'd find pickup games, played in men's leagues, just anywhere I could play.
"I was definitely really hungry. It was tough to get back at the start and be in live games again, but once I got into the rhythm again, I was definitely ready to go and it was nice to win a championship last year."
With a full season still to go at BSU, Carney can be even more productive, according to Farroba.
The 3-point shooting of Carney is something that will be worked on before the 2019-20 season to make him more effective from the outside.
"He takes the ball to the hoop as strong as anybody," said Farroba. "He gets downhill real good. He's not shooting the percentage on 3-pointers he should. He's around 30 percent and I think he could be a 40 percenter if he put more time and effort into it. He's got another year to do it.
"I tell him all the time, 'Why be satisfied?' I challenge him to get into the gym and get extra shots up. He's got a lot of confidence in himself and he can do it."
Said Carney: "That would be one of the things I'd like to work on, the 3-pointer and my mid-range game. That could really help take my game to the next level."
With another full season remaining, Carney could very well wind up in the top 10 on the program's all-time scoring list.
The 1,000-point club awaits for Carney as he figures to be a member at two levels.
"That's definitely one of the accomplishments I wanted to do," said Carney. "It was definitely a good one to get in high school, but it would be much better to get in college, especially if I could get it at the end of this year and not have to worry about it next year."