29 Th11 2021 | 08:18
Growing up in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Isaiah Carr went to three New Mexico State basketball games … when the Aggies played Grand Canyon.
Carr did not know much about GCU at the time, but the Lopes made a fast impression with spirited fans that filed into the Pan American Center first. That feeling carried on when Carr, a 6-foot-11 Las Cruces High School center, made an unofficial visit this summer and committed to Lopes head coach Bryce Drew before the day was done.
Carr signed his letter of intent at his school Friday, when he was surrounded by purple balloons and family in GCU shirts.
“I’m looking to put on a show for everyone,” Carr said. “I want to do my best in front of all those Lope fans. I want to work hard. I want to show them what I can do.
“My game is to run the floor fast. I can block shots. My timing is very good. I have touch around the rim. I like the post hook and the outside shots. I may look skinny but I’m pretty strong when it comes to the post and I’m going to get stronger when I come to GCU.”
Carr is at 210 pounds as he tried to catch up with his growth, working out seven hours a day in the gym after winning a state championship as a sophomore.
He was in Phoenix this summer for a basketball tournament when the GCU coaches invited him to make an unofficial visit. As Drew made him an offer, Carr said he already was ready to accept after what he had seen of the campus and heard from the coaches.
“In the car, I told my family, ‘Nobody say anything. I don’t know what anybody thinks right now. This is just incredible,’ ” Carr said. “I talked to my dad when I got back to the hotel and said, “I really wanted to tell Coach Drew yes.’ He said, ‘Why didn’t you?’ ”
And the call was made that night that will bring Carr to campus next season after he averaged 14.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.9 blocked shots for Las Cruces last season.
“Isaiah is a great fit for the university as a student with a 4.0 GPA and our program as a player,” Drew said. “He is almost 7 feet tall, but he has the ability to run and shoot. He is a good person with a great personality and a work ethic that will allow him to develop with our staff.”
Carr’s decision in GCU rival territory drew mixed reactions but his summer coach, former New Mexico State player Justin Hawkins, even told him, “I think GCU would be a perfect place for you to be.”
On his summer visit to a quiet campus, Carr already said he was blown away by how much campus life he could foresee.
His official visit to Midnight Madness last month confirmed that. Carr saw Camp Elliott with hundreds of students living on the Quad outside the arena for several nights and then sat inside as they entered.
“When we saw it for the first time, we were like, ‘Oh my goodness,’ ” said Carr, whose mother recently received a GCU degree. “People were so energetic and so welcoming. Smiles everywhere. Everyone wanted to shake your hand. Those are my type of people. When I saw the GCU Havocs, let me tell you, I’ve never seen people run down for seats ever in my life. I thought that was incredible.
“They were flooding in and I was like, ‘Oh my word.’ I asked the Lord, ‘Please do not let this feeling ever go away from me,’ because that is something I want to keep with me always. That feeling of enjoyment and excitement to have fans.”