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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Key matchup: Heralded transfer Marcus Carr driving No. 5 Texas into matchup with No. 1 Gonzaga

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 12, 2021

Marcus Carr grew up in hockey country and spent the majority of his childhood with a basketball in his hands. But it’s possible a third sport helped give Texas’ senior point guard his edge.

“I think he played football at one point, so he has that mentality, that tough mentality, football mentality,” said Claude Nembhard, the father of Gonzaga point guard Andrew Nembhard and one of Carr’s first youth league coaches in the suburbs of Toronto. “But he’s a great kid, tough kid, warrior kind of kid. A guy you want on your team.”

With six players who all scored in double figures during the 2020-21 college basketball season – albeit only one of them while wearing burnt orange – Gonzaga’s coaching staff may be hard-pressed to know which Texas player should warrant the most attention Saturday when the top-ranked Bulldogs host the fifth-ranked Longhorns.

At this early stage, the honors probably belong to Carr, a fifth-year senior who’s playing at his third high-major school after stints at Pittsburgh and Minnesota. The Ontario native has averaged double figures in the ACC and Big Ten, posting 10.0 points per game at Pitt and 17.4 in two seasons at Minnesota. Now Carr, considered by most websites to be the nation’s top transfer, looks to do the same in the Big-12.

“He’s been a good scorer his whole life,” Claude Nembhard said. “He’s probably been more of a two his whole life and he’s grown into that. He’s a scorer, he’s very, very tough.”

Carr’s liable to hurt a team with more than his scoring, though. In 93 college games, he’s scored 1,361 points, but almost as impressive are his 5.1 assists per game, not to mention the 4.1 rebounds he’s pulled down as a 6-foot-2 point guard. There’s a good chance he’ll match up with Nembhard, his former youth league, Canadian U-16 and Montverde Academy teammate.

“I think the thing college basketball will enjoy this year with Marcus is he’s just a great leader, too. He leads on the court by the way he plays, he’s got a pro poise to him,” Texas coach Chris Beard said. “He doesn’t get rattled much, has got a great demeanor. He’s a guy that wants to be in the big moments. He’s a talented guy. Very similar to Nembhard and Bolton, he plays his best when the brightest lights are on.”

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