The national awards aren't ignoring Marcus Carr any longer to be a candidate among the top players in college basketball.
The Gophers junior point guard was named Tuesday to the John R. Wooden preseason top 50 watch list, one of the two most distinguished awards for NCAA player of the year. The other is the Naismith Award, which included Carr among the candidates last week.
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Toronto native is off to scorching start to the 2020-21 season. Carr's averaging 29.7 points (third in the NCAA), 5.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 54.4 percent shooting from the field (31 for 57) and 45 percent from three-point range (9 for 20).
The Gophers (3-0) remain undefeated after escaping the second straight game against Loyola Marymount 67-64 on Carr's three-pointer with 2.9 seconds left Monday night. He finished with 21 of his 26 points in the second half.
In last week's 99-69 opening win against Wisconsin-Green Bay, Carr made it know to everyone he was a different player this season. He tied his career high with 35 points on 12-for-22 shooting. It was the highest scoring opening performance for the Gophers since Jordan Murphy had 35 points vs. USC Upstate in 2017-18.
Going into this season, Carr trained all summer in Toronto as he tested the NBA Draft process. After deciding to return to college, he was Gophers coach Richard Pitino's first guard to be picked to the All-Big Ten preseason team since Amir Coffey and Nate Mason in 2018-19.
Last season, the former Pittsburgh transfer averaged 15.4 points, ranked second in the Big Ten with 6.7 assists per game and set the school single-season record with 207 total assists. He earned All-Big Ten third team honors.
Despite having the most assists per game returning for any power conference player, Carr was left off the preseason watch list for the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation's point guard. That mistake will likely be corrected on the next list this season.
The Big Ten players on the top 50 Wooden Award preseason watch list are Carr, Iowa's Luka Garza and Joe Wieskamp, Illinois' Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn, Indiana's Trayce Jackson-Davis, Rutgers' Ron Harper Jr., Michigan State's Joey Hauser and Michigan's Isaiah Livers.
The 6-11 Garza, the nation's leading scorer this season (33.5 ppg), won the Wooden Award last season as a junior.