Texas Longhorns point guard Marcus Carr said so himself during his inaugural press conference Tuesday; “I’m a basketball junkie.”
What else can we expect from a player who was consistently ranked No. 1 overall available transfer at the end of last season? ESPN, CBSSports.com and WatchStadium.com all had Carr ranked in the top, while most credible sites had him in at least the top five.
It was a rare opportunity for Texas and head coach Chris Beard to acquire this type of talent, but it came at the perfect time. When Carr had to declare the NBA draft again next offseason, the goal for his senior season could not be clearer.
“(Beard) knows what I have to do to get to the next level, but not only that, we are single in line with this one goal that we are trying to win a championship,” Carr said.
Beard was honest with Carr during the recruitment process, and a solid relationship between the two was established early on. The new head coach saw a maturity in Carr that set him apart from other talented transfers.
“There’s a real consistency and a real confidence factor,” Beard said. “The very first conversation I had with Marcus … it just started with great respect.”
It’s one thing to have a talented and experienced team, but it’s another to have a group that is completely recruited. The championship mindset shared by Beard and the team drove Carr to commit to Austin for one last trip of his senior season.
“When it came down to the thread, it was just us who were together as an older group and just stressed that this was a goal, it was huge for me,” Carr said.
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As a native of Toronto, it may come down to the heat of South Texas as a head scraper, but Carr has always had a quiet desire to be a Longhorn. When Beard was first hired in the spring, the decision became much easier.
“(Beard) is in Texas, it’s Texas,” Carr said with emphasis. “Kind of a no-brainer. Coming here, especially as a kid from Toronto and former guys and pointguards who’ve been here … it’s definitely an honor to play here.”
Carr admitted he has kept a close eye on Canadian talent for growing the roasted orange since he was a young boy with little ambition. Former Texas point guard Cory Joseph (2010-2011) is a native of Toronto and one of Carr’s earliest connections to Longhorn’s basketball.
“Just grew up watching Cory, even before he came to Texas, when he got here, and of course on,” Carr said. “He was playing with my big brother, so I got to know him over there.”
Carr’s older brother, Duane Notice, played professionally with Joseph in Canada, while also making his mark on college basketball. The announcement was a crucial piece for a South Carolina Gamecocks team that reached all the way to the Final Four in 2017.
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The family ties and Canadian connections are just a few of the reasons Carr is ready to make it to his time in Texas. Getting ahead in the tournament than his brother certainly also adds some extra motivation.
“He was the reason I started playing basketball myself, and he’s just knocked so many doors down for me,” Carr said. “I’ve seen him do some amazing things and he’s been to the Final Four. Now I’m trying to get him to raise a raise.”
These hopes work in vain for a Texas program accustomed to early endings in the tournament. But with the addition of Beard, Carr and a whole host of talented transfers, a Final Four appearance in 2022 is far from a long shot.
“I’m looking forward to you getting to know (Carr) more,” Beard said. “Because he’s special.”
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