Pittsburgh transfer Marcus Carr spent Tuesday night’s opener on the bench not in uniform because the NCAA still hasn’t made a decision on his waiver request to play for the Gophers this season.

Coach Richard Pitino still seems confident Carr’s waiver will be granted, but the waiting game continues for the sophomore guard’s immediate eligibility.

“We’re going to assume that something is going to happen soon,” Pitino said after Tuesday’s 104-76 victory against Omaha. “We’re optimistic that he should get the waiver. I’m not saying it’s the NCAA’s fault, but they need to find a way to make a decision soon.”

The Toronto native averaged 10 points and a team-high four assists and started 27 games for Pittsburgh in 2017-18. Carr was also an All-ACC academic team selection as a freshman.

Pitino said the U’s compliance department has taken care of its end of the waiver process, but the holdup is on Pittsburgh’s side right now. So what happens if Carr isn’t able to play this season and joins Vanderbilt transfer Payton Willis sitting out?

“I came here because of the environment, coach, and I believe in this team,” Carr said recently. “I believe they have a good chance to compete for a Big Ten title and make it to the NCAA tournament. If I’m not able to play this year, I just hope to get better, work on my craft and just get these guys better every day, because I want to see them succeed.”

Local freshmen debut

Pitino has made it clear how much he wants to keep the top Minnesota high school players from leaving the state. Yet there’s no better recruiting tool than seeing those players on the court.

Daniel Oturu (Cretin-Derham Hall), Gabe Kalscheur (DeLaSalle) and Jarvis Omersa (Orono) made their Gophers debut Tuesday night. Oturu and Kalscheur started and scored their first collegiate points in the first half.

The 6-10 Oturu opened the game with a foul and got his first shot blocked while trying to slam off a baseline spin move. But the four-star recruit played the next 13 minutes foul-free while making his presence felt with 10 of his 14 points and all of his eight rebounds by halftime.

Kalscheur and Omersa scored eight points apiece. Omersa had all of his points in the second half, including two highlight-reel slams. Newcomers Brock Stull and Matz Stockman also combined for 17 points off the bench.

“All three freshmen, I think, are going to be terrific,” Pitino said. “I almost didn’t play Gabe as much, because I look at him as a veteran out there. Daniel is really, really talented. And Jarvis, you saw his athleticism.”