Many new faces on CSUN’s campus may not know about our men’s basketball team’s magical run to the NCAA tournament in 2000, the same and only year we ever beat UCLA in men’s basketball. On a team full of stars none shined as bright as point guard, Markus Carr.
Only a junior at the time, Carr would lead the Matadors for one more season completing four years of eligibility. He is currently the all-time leader in assists, and steals and fifth on the all-time scoring list. He also holds a number of CSUN basketball records.
This season the Matadors will travel to Pauley Pavilion (Dec. 17) to face UCLA for the first time in eight years since Carr and the Matadors beat them 78-74. They lost four of five games before their win in 2000.
‘ ‘We came in prepared. Coach Braswell didn’t have to say much, we had it in ourselves we wanted to win that game.’
The Matadors finished that magical season beating Eastern Washington for the conference title. They were a thorn in the Matadors side being the only team to beat them at home two years in a row. Winning the title led to the Matadors hosting the Big Sky conference tournament that year. They automatically earned a bid to the NCAA tournament, but lost to Kansas in the first round, Carr had ten assists.
Looking back at his junior year Carr said they knew they were good and expected to beat UCLA.
The Matadors then went on to break UC Irvine’s 28 game winning streak. Carr scored a career-high of 31 points that game but that was not important to him.’ ‘ ‘ ‘
‘That (game) was one of my most memorable moments because I got to see the look in the eyes of the young guys. They were excited, it was something new for them to play basketball at the Division one level and be able to go in and beat one of the top teams in our league,’ said Carr.
Carr said the way coach Braswell managed the program is what brought him to CSUN. ‘Coach Braswell explained everything clear to me, he understood me at a point in my life when I was a young kid with no direction. When I didn’t really know what school to choose, he understood that and he made me feel most comfortable,’ said Carr.
With many NBA players considering wealthy offers from European Basketball teams, Carr made his way overseas in 2003 playing in over six different European countries. Carr is currently the starting point guard for Gornik Walbrzych a professional basketball team in South Poland.
For American basketball players the benefits for playing on a European team are rewarding. Not only is the euro to dollar ratio significant’ but the player’s can enjoy perks that include housing, transportation and food.
‘I don’t have to pay taxes, I’m able to save more and plan for the future,’ said Carr. He joined Gornik at the end of’ last season, endearing himself to polish fans by scoring the winning basket in the second game of a three game series in front of 6,000 home fans.
‘That was my coming out game. A very special moment for me, I scored the final seven points in the last minute and also hit the game winner. It was a game we had to have,’ said Carr.
During his travels overseas’ ‘ Carr has crossed paths with fellow Matador basketball players. In 2003 a few stars from that magical 2000 men’s basketball season found themselves in close proximity to each other.
‘ Carr remembers playing with Jeff Parris where Parris ended up defending him. ‘It was a fun experience. I remember one particular play where I had a fast break lay-up and Jeff was trailing me. In any normal situation Jeff would block my shot for sure, but this time he just let me go. He said go ahead. And that’s what overseas is like when you play against your friends at times.’ Carr said.
The list of Matadors that continue their professional basketball careers continues to grow and Carr is happy to continue to see some new faces overseas. ‘I trained with Ian Boylan’s team last year when my team ended in the playoffs. I went to Austria for about a month and stayed at his house.’ Carr said. ‘Ian is playing in this (Poland) league this year, so I will be able to get to play against him. Our teams will play each other the third game of the season. Which is really cool. I’m loving this European experience.’
When Carr does get a chance to visit Southern California during the European off-season, many times he can be found at one of the many CSUN gym’s working out.
‘Every time I’m home I go there (CSUN) to workout and train. I talk to the young players, see what’s new, what’s different. I just like to be around there (CSUN).’ Said Carr.’ ‘When I’m home, Coach Bras and I will find a way to meet and talk. Whether the time is long or short we always find a way to get time in.’