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As the final major piece, transfer Marcus Carr could make Texas a top-five preseason pick

Minnesota's Marcus Carr, the second-best player available in the transfer portal, is coming to Texas.

Thanks to Texas coach Chris Beard’s aggressive activity in the transfer portal, the Longhorns now have all kinds of new pieces to launch themselves into Big 12 title contention. The only thing missing was a point guard.

The Horns fixed that problem Saturday by landing the most coveted point guard on the transfer market.

Minnesota’s Marcus Carr, the second-best player available in the portal, announced Saturday on Instagram that he will join the Longhorns. National recruiting outlets had reported this week that he was weighing Texas and an offer to play professional basketball in Australia.

Carr (6 feet 2, 195 pounds) averaged a career-high 19.4 points last season with the Gophers. He played one season at Pittsburgh (2017-18) and then transferred to Minnesota, sitting out the 2018-19 season and playing two more.

Carr, a third-team All-Big Ten pick last season, has career averages of 14.8 points and 5.1 assists and a .336 shooting percentage from 3-point range. ESPN listed him as the No. 2 player in its transfer rankings for the 2021-22 season. 

With the addition of Carr, the Horns are likely to become a preseason top-five pick. The roster is loaded with all-conference transfers Timmy Allen (Utah) and Tre Mitchell (Massachusetts) as well as versatile big men Christian Bishop (Creighton) and Dylan Disu (Vanderbilt). 

Devin Askew (Kentucky) is another guard who might benefit from a fresh start at a new school. Avery Benson (Texas Tech) was known as the Energizer bunny and was a fan favorite in Lubbock.

Returning lettermen Andrew Jones, Courtney Ramey, Jase Febres and Brock Cunningham are expected to guide the newcomers throughout Cooley Pavilion. Jaylon Tyson is another incoming freshman who first signed with Beard at Tech but followed the coach to Austin.

Carr’s decision certainly won’t be celebrated news in the Hub City. 

Spurned Texas Tech fans, now on eagle-eyed alert waiting for Beard to slip up, went wild on social media when a photo circulated this week showing Carr with Texas players. Several recruiting sites reported that he was scheduled to visit Texas on Tuesday, and thus it made sense he’d be photographed with UT players. 

A team spokesman said UT compliance determined that the visit was not a recruiting violation even though it happened during an NCAA-mandated dead period.

According to the NCAA bylaw 13.7.2.1, no recruit can make an unofficial visit during July “unless he has signed a National Letter of Intent or the institution’s written offer of admission and/or financial aid.” Essentially, Carr’s visit would have been acceptable only if he had already signed Texas’ scholarship paperwork.

Asked when Carr signed an athletic scholarship agreement, a Texas spokesman had no comment. 

Unlike a national letter of intent, there is no limit to how many ASAs an athlete can sign. There’s nothing wrong with an athlete signing an ASA at one school and then choosing to go elsewhere. For the recruit, signing an ASA is harmless.

Carr’s addition to the Horns’ roster will be a lightning bolt. He’s an athletic scorer who can distribute the ball, and he is veteran enough to handle just about anything thrown his way. 

These Horns now bear little resemblance to coach Shaka Smart’s last team, which went 19-8 last season and won the Big 12 Tournament. Beard has assembled a team to win now — and win big. Texas has not won an NCAA Tournament game since 2014.

The Horns will find out quickly just what they have. Texas is scheduled to play Gonzaga, a preseason top-three team, in November.

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.