Gophers point guard Marcus Carr told the Star Tribune on Friday that he will remove his name from the NBA draft and return to school, a critical factor for the team’s success this season.
Carr initially declared for the draft in late March, but he left open the possibility of returning to college.
“I am dedicating this season to my brother, and I can’t wait to be out on the court with my teammates in front of Gopher nation,” Carr said via text.
His brother is Duane Notice, who recently suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon playing professionally in Canada.
The NCAA’s early entry withdrawal deadline changed Monday after the NBA draft was postponed until Oct. 16. Gophers coach Richard Pitino stayed in touch with Carr about testing the waters like Amir Coffey last year and Daniel Oturu this summer. Carr and other less high-profile prospects were hoping to work out for teams and get feedback during the draft process.
The pandemic made it harder to get on the NBA’s radar this summer.
“We are excited that Marcus is returning after testing the waters,” Pitino said in a news release. “I believe he is one of the best point guards in the country and is ready to have a terrific junior year. His leadership is vital in our program and in our locker room.”
When summer practice opened July 20, Carr was still at home in Toronto training. Pitino told him to focus on his decision and that practicing with the team right now is optional.
“We were just supporting Marcus with it,” Pitino said. “Staying in contact with him as much as we can. He’s been great about that.”
A 6-foot-2, 195-pound transfer from Pittsburgh, Carr averaged 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists in his first season playing for the Gophers, setting the school single-season record with 207 assists. He was named third-team all-conference in the spring by Big Ten media and was honorable mention by coaches.
Oturu, the program’s first All-America selection in 20 years, was the Gophers’ leading scorer and led the Big Ten in rebounding. He decided to leave school early after seeing his name on draft boards.
Carr wasn’t mentioned on any 2020 draft projections, so his announcement to declare for the draft was surprising on March 30.
The Gophers already lost three starters from a 15-16 team in 2019-20, including Alihan Demir to graduation and Payton Willis to transfer. Carr and Gabe Kalscheur are expected to be the only starters returning, but Minnesota added impact transfers Both Gach (Utah), Liam Robbins (Drake) and Brandon Johnson (Western Michigan) in the spring.
After losing Coffey and Oturu early to the draft the past two years, Pitino was hoping Carr would see the coming season as his best opportunity to follow in their footsteps.