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Local HBCU Star Gets A Chance To Fulfill Career Ambition

Demetrius Dillard | 10/12/2018, 6 a.m.
A former Morgan State basketball standout is the most recent athlete from an HBCU to get an opportunity to achieve ...
Phil Carr makes a jump shot over a Florida A&M defender. The former Morgan State University forward signed a contract with the New York Knicks on October 2, 2018. Morgan State University Athletics

A former Morgan State basketball standout is the most recent athlete from an HBCU to get an opportunity to achieve a lifelong dream in the world’s premier professional basketball league.

The New York Knicks signed former Morgan State forward Phil Carr and waived former Morehouse star Tyrius Walker on Oct. 2, according to reports from The Athletic and HBCU Gameday.

“All I ever needed was a chance and I’m thankful for this one. Thank you to the @nyknicks and @wcknicks Organization for believing in me. It’s up to me how far I go from here,” said Carr in a Twitter post after signing his pact at the team’s training facility.

Carr, a lanky 6-foot-9 forward, is expected to sign what is called an Exhibit 10 deal, which the is NBA’s most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement that indicates that one-year contracts are worth the minimum NBA salary.

According to Steven Gaither of HBCU Gameday, Carr said he’ll likely end-up on the Westchester Knicks, the New York Knicks’ G-League affiliate. Also, he made it known to the New York Post he expects to play with the G-League team this year.

The Exhibit 10 deal for Carr does not include any compensation protection. However, it can include an optional bonus ranging from $5,000 to $50,000, assuming he decides to play in the G League for Westchester and remains with the club for at least 60 days.

The famed New York Knicks have a storied history of highlighting HBCU talent, including Indiana Pacers forward Kyle O’Quinn (Norfolk State), Morgan State alum Marvin Webster, Winston-Salem State legend Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Virginia State’s Charles Oakley.

Carr, a Brooklyn, New York, native, was a standout at Transit Tech High School, Mohawk Valley Community College and Williston State before transferring to Morgan State at the start of the 2015-16 season.

He was an integral piece in each of the three seasons he played at Morgan, all of which were under the tutelage of 13th-year head coach Todd Bozeman. In addition to being named the 2017-18 MEAC Preseason Player of The Year, Carr averaged 13.4 points and 9.3 rebounds for the Bears last season.

Carr went from being an unknown at a junior college to being a top two-way player at the Division I level, and is the latest of a string of HBCU athletes striving to get a well-established career in professional sports.

Although Carr went undrafted, and didn’t have the opportunity to play in the NBA Summer League, he trained hard and posted impressive workouts, prompting the Knicks to make an offer.

Besides Carr and Webster, there is only one other basketball player to emerge from Morgan to play in the NBA— Tiwian Kendley, Carr’s former teammate who had a breakout senior season with the Bears (averaged 26 points per game) and showed relentless scoring ability on the Washington Wizards summer league squad.

Kendley, who went undrafted in the 2018 NBA Draft, also agreed to an Exhibition 10 deal with the Wizards on September 10, and he is currently listed on the team’s roster.

A 6-foot-5 guard from Harlem, N.Y., Kendley became the fastest to reach 1,000 career points in the MSU’s Division I history, including a career-high 41 points against Bethune-Cookman on February 19.

Despite missing seven games due to injury his junior season and being suspended 10 games his senior season, Kendley earned numerous honors throughout his brief stint at MSU, clearly distinguishing himself as an elite Division I talent. Kendley also recorded more than 1,000 points in two seasons at Lamar Community College before coming to Baltimore to team up with Carr in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

The 23-year-old averaged nine points, 2.5 rebounds and two assists in four summer league games with Washington.

It appears that HBCU basketball talent is slowly on the rise in the professional ranks, and it is worthy to note that the NBA’s most recent black college talent has emerged from Baltimore.