DEXTER -- The last few years, Dexter's Chris Carr has played in the shadows while teammates Shawn Guethle, Scott Mattingly, Brett Hale and Shannon Wright have stood in the spotlight and grabbed all the headlines for 21-5, 24-2 and 24-4 seasons.
But all those guys are gone now, and it's Carr's turn to carry the torch.
"I loved playing with those guys," said Carr. "My game has changed though, because I always relied on them. They were the leaders and I was just another pawn. Now though, it's our team and some of us have to be willing to step up and take over."
The 6-foot-7 center has done exactly that through six games, averaging 17 points and 13 rebounds per game. He has guided the Bearcats to a 5-1 record, earning the No. 1 seed in this year's Bloomfield Tournament.
Along with fellow captain Chad Gill, Carr is hoping Dexter can continue its string of successful seasons.
"I think that we are better this season because we don't have the huge names," he explained. "We are just a bunch of nobodies that are playing as a team. It doesn't take big stars to win. It doesn't hurt if you have some, but it takes more of a team effort than anything."
Here is a look at one of the most dominant high school players in Southeast Missouri -- Dexter's Chris Carr:
Carr has been a lifelong resident of the Big D.
"I always loved playing here," he said. "We have great fans. We have always had a good coaching staff and I think we have the depth to play with anyone around. I don't think I would ever want to play anywhere else."
"I think one of the things that has made the transition easy this year is coach Eric Sitze," he said. "He was our jayvee coach and our assistant coach last year and I love to play for him."
When asked about the difference in playing for Paul Hale and Coach Sitze, Carr remarked, "Just as they aren't the same person, they don't have the same style."
"Coach Hale is a unique man. He will be yelling at you one minute, telling you to go put on your dress. The next minute he will be shaking your hand telling you that you are doing a great job. He always kept you on the edge of your seat."
Carr also talked about his current coach: "I think they call him the Fiery Italian. He keeps on you and he keeps me on my toes. He's a great coach and you can tell that he puts all his heart into it and that is a good thing."
Carr seems to be a player that loves challenges. One of his favorite opponents over the years has been Doniphan.
"I love to play against Doniphan," he said. "I always wanted to take on a guy with Adam Crader's size (6-11) and ability and I think its good for me, to test myself. Crader did some great things while in high school and I expected even more out of him in college."
Also, Carr mentioned New Madrid County Central.
"I think that is my own personal rivalry because I want to beat them so bad," he said. "I don't know what it is, but I want to win. Last year I wasn't leading the team, but I still wanted to beat the Eagles. This year I am going to do whatever I can do just to go out and beat those guys. They are a great team. We've got to step up two levels just to compete with them."
Finally, Carr spoke of Sikeston.
"Sikeston has always been tough," he said. "It's a big, personal challenge for me to play those guys. Like last year we had to try to break a record by beating them at the Field House. Also, I just love to play against Justin Freeman. He's a great player that is going to play his heart out every night. We became traveling buddies last year during AAU ball and it's great to be able to play with him and to realize all his potential, and then to play against him and watch him run his team."
"Its always fun for me to be able to play my friends, just because it is more fun. To me, is more like a pickup game where you we just pick sides outside somewhere and play."
Carr sites his grandmother, Mrs. Glenda Barber, as his biggest influence.
"She is one of my main influences," he explained. "She's always been there for me, ever since I will little. She always kept me in church and she kept me straight. She wouldn't let me run wild. If I tried to she would yank me in and straighten me out. She's a strict woman and she was a teacher for 32 years. You know how they are."
"It's so easy not to be good. It's so hard to be good, but I try everyday to be the best person I can be; if not for me, then for my grandma. I had a good upraising and I'm proud of who I am."
"Obviously everything this year means a little bit more to me because I'm a senior," said Carr. "I expect us to come out and win the Bloomfield Christmas Tournament this season. We won it last year, but we had great leadership. I think this year we are just as good of a team, if not better. But we are going to have to play as a team to win."
If the Bearcats win it this year, they will be the only team in the history of the Bloomfield Tournament to win it in four consecutive years.
"I'm also looking forward to districts," said Carr. "If we make it to the championship of our district tournament, then that will be the biggest game of my career."
Carr on "The Sickness"
When asked about preparing for a game Carr said, "I have to listen to 'Down with the sickness' by Disturbed. I don't know why, but that song really gets me pumped."
While "Down with the Sickness" one time in a junior varsity game, Carr decided to spike a basketball and, "It resulted in my first technical," he explained. "That wouldn't be very significant, but our new preacher at the Dexter Church of Christ, Kevin Lawrence, is the one who gave it to me. I don't hold it against him though, I probably would have thrown myself out of the game."
"I think it would be great to play in a place where there is a huge stadium with thousands of people watching a little court in the middle," said Carr. "That would be awesome. That's what I love about the Christmas Tournament. The crowd gets me so pumped up. There are all these faces everywhere, and they are all there to watch us play. That makes me feel good. Even if they are booing for me, I know that they are acknowledging that we are a sound ballclub and that we have a chance to win every time we step on the floor."
Carr went on to say how happy he is with the fans support that the Bearcats receive.
"The crowd is like our sixth man," he said. "We all gain energy from our crowd and the bigger the crowd the better we are going to be."
"That word kind of scares me," said Carr. "There is a part of me that wants to leave, but there is a part of me that knows things will never be this way again. I am hoping to go and play for SEMO this coming fall, but we will have to wait and see. If I don't make it there, I will go pretty much any place that will offer me a scholarship."
Carr, who carries a strong B average in the classroom, says that he would go to just about any college that would give him a good education and the chance to play ball."
He will graduate in May from Dexter and has said that he would like to sign his letter of intent before then. Carr, no matter what school picks him up, should be a major player in some university's program in the years to come.