``He seemed pretty happy for me, pretty excited. So I told him I hoped to see him there,'' Carr said of Bryant at a school news conference to announce his choice.
``He didn't, you know, give me any response,'' Carr added, with a soft laugh.
Carr, who averaged 25 points a game this season as he helped lead his team to the Catholic League championship, sat at a table in the cozy Roman library yesterday, underneath an old-fashioned wrought-iron balcony and a round mirror designed to let the librarian keep an eye on all corners. A half-dozen relatives joined him, along with his Roman coach, Dennis Seddon, and his eighth-grade coach, Jake Jordan of St. Charles.
Carr said he chose La Salle not out of promises of an all-star lineup but because it felt comfortable.
``La Salle University to me has all the same great qualities and traditions that I have come to respect and love here at Roman. These two great schools reflect what is best about the game of basketball in Philadelphia,'' he read carefully from a prepared statement.
Later, he said both Roman and La Salle share a special ``family atmosphere. They're both small. Everyone knows you.''
La Salle coach Speedy Morris is a Roman grad and former Roman coach. But Carr is Morris' first Roman recruit in his 10 years as Explorers coach, and the first top Division I recruit from Roman who has chosen La Salle since Chuck Storm in 1963, said Roman's president, Rev. Francis W. Beach.
``It has been too long since a Roman alum has picked La Salle for his college ball, but I'm ready to play,'' Carr said, facing the cameras in his school sweater and striped school tie.
Last year, Morris received an oral commitment from Roman star Lari Ketner, who then decided to sign with UMass.
Carr, who is still not Proposition 48-qualified, said part of the reason he decided between just two small local schools was because of the attention they gave him.
``All the big schools, I was just talking to the coaches' assistants and I wasn't really talking to the big coaches. And that really turned me off,'' he said. ``When they came in, they weren't really talking about what they could do for me. They were just talking about what I could do for their program.''
Carr called the decision between La Salle and St. Joe's ``one of my most difficult decisions in my life.'' He said he went back and forth all season, and might still have changed his mind if he hadn't decided to end all the fretting.
He is friends with La Salle's point guard, Shawn ``Reds'' Smith. They played AAU ball together and talk often, he said. But St. Joe's point guard Rashid Bey is Carr's cousin. The decision was ``too hard,'' Carr said. But he finally decided the Hawks were too guard-heavy.
Asked about La Salle's rocky season - the Explorers went 6-24, the worst record in school history - Carr appeared unfazed.
He said Morris told him not to expect much.
``I also looked at, you know, how many games they lost and how many games they were in, you know, with the players they had,'' he said. ``They were still in close games. They were losing games by three and four, not really having much. It says a lot about how good a coach he [Morris] is.''
Still, Carr made it clear he has higher hopes. ``If we get Kobe along with myself and Reds, I think we could be pretty good. I think we could make a run at the tournament next year,'' he said.