Austin Carr put a football landmark, the University of Notre Dame, on the basketball map. More than two decades after leaving school for the NBA, Carr still holds numerous collegiate records, including the highest scoring average in the history of the NCAA Tournament (41.3 points per game) and most points in a tournament game (61).
A stout 6'4", 200-pound guard, Carr had deep shooting range, extending well past the modern 3-point line. Not an exceptional ball-handler, he got most of his baskets on catch-and-shoot plays or fastbreaks. He had permission to cast off whenever he got the urge, and in his senior season he averaged 29 shots a game. Like all great scorers, he excelled in big games. In four outings against the University of Kentucky, he averaged 43 points and made more than 70 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Born March 10, 1948, in Washington, D.C., Carr grew up idolizing local legend Dave Bing. He considered following Bing to Syracuse University but chose Notre Dame because he had friends on the team. His sophomore season was interrupted by injuries, including a broken foot suffered in the NCAA Tournament, but over his final two seasons he scored at least 30 points 46 times and was never held under 20. In his junior season, he averaged 38.1 points, second in the nation to Pete Maravich's 44.5, and scored 61 against Ohio University in the NCAA Tournament. As a senior, he averaged 37.9 points and was a consensus All-American.
His NBA career was less rewarding. Carr joined the Cleveland Cavaliers as the top pick in the 1971 draft and scored more than 20 points a game his first three seasons, but he suffered nagging injuries and the indignity of playing with the perennially weak Cavaliers. He made the All-Star team in 1974 but waited five years to play in a playoff game. He retired in 1981, a year after moving to the Dallas Mavericks in the expansion draft. In 1980, he received the prestigious Walter Kennedy NBA Citizenship Award for community service.