Get ready to root for this Toronto basketball player during March Madness this month

Marcus Carr on making a name for himself below the border 

Family is important to Marcus Carr. When the University of Texas at Austin basketball player and March Madness star is asked what he misses most about Toronto, his reflex is to ask, “Other than my family?” This instinct has been with him from the beginning of his basketball career, going to his brother’s games. “I ended up picking up a ball and was always shooting around on the side, and I really just wanted to be like [him].”

Carr played extensively in Toronto and eventually went to St. Michael’s College for high school, following in his brother’s footsteps. “He would always be going to his games when I was younger, and they were super lit. I didn’t really understand that it was an all-boys private Catholic high school. My mom was happy when she found out I wanted to go there,” he says. “Because, obviously, it’s a great school, great education, networking connections for life.”

“I was fortunate enough to have good influences growing up, whether it was basketball or just life.” He names his high school coach, Vidal Massiah, as having a significant impact on him. “[He] helped me develop my game and become the person that I am.” 

Carr also cites his trainer who he’s been working with for 10 years as another person who has played a massive role in his career. He excelled for his first two years in high school, gaining the attention of Montverde Academy, a high-profile prep school in Florida whose alumni include Scottie Barnes, Precious Achiuwa and Joel Embiid. 

“I was already in a good school, but I wanted to take the next steps to ensure that I had the best possible chance to go to the next level.” 

Once he transferred to Montverde, Carr saw an immediate difference in the infrastructure. “We were playing games on ESPN,” he says, with massive audience turnouts for the top teams in the country facing off.

While playing in Montverde, Carr made a name for himself and landed a spot on the University of Pittsburgh roster. He eventually transferred to the University of Minnesota before finding his place at UT Austin. 

Ahead of the March Madness Selection Sunday on March 12, the 23-year-old has been added to multiple watch lists for national awards in the U.S. this year, including the Oscar Robertson Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award for Player of the Year. 

This month offers him another opportunity to shine — March Madness. With high hopes for the Longhorns and reports labeling Carr one of the team’s “three-point threats,” it would be understandable to feel pressure to perform on such a big stage. 

“I don’t really look at it in terms of pressure. It’s basketball. It’s fun to me,” he says. “It’s what you dream about as a kid when you’re playing in your driveway. Whenever the moment comes, it’s definitely surreal, but I like to just be in the moment.” 

Along with his college career, Carr has played for Team Canada twice, in 2015 for the U16 championship and again last year for the U23 team. 

“Even if you get a chance to play for Team Canada, it’s not usually on Canadian soil, much less in Toronto, giving my family and friends a chance to see me play when they haven’t seen me play in a while,” Carr says. “Whenever you get to represent your country, it’s an honour. I’m definitely blessed to have been able to do it a couple of times.”

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO