The Dagger - NCAAB

Chances are, you didn't, unless you've got a particular affinity for ultra-talented bench players who can only play about 17 minutes a game because they're lazy. But if you were able to catch some of the rare minutes Derrick Caracter got with Louisville, I hope they were good for you, because I doubt you'll hear his name much from this point on.

And many of you are asking yourself right now, "Who the hell is Derrick Caracter?" And yeah, that's kind of the point. Once upon a time, Derrick Caracter was the name in basketball. He was a 6'8" high schooler with an inside/outside game, 3-point range, and unlimited athleticism. He once schooled a fellow named Greg Oden at an ABCD camp, and, along with Oden, was one of the top 2 prospects in basketball.

And still ... who the hell is Derrick Caracter?

The nickname I assigned him in the headline might be a clue. In his freshman season last year, Caracter had major struggles with his weight, missed a couple of games for unspecified violations, and eventually Rick Pitino sent him home for a couple of months because he was such a mess.

He eventually came back to the team, and things were supposed to be different. He said they would be, but it was same old, same old. He still coasted, still wasn't in shape, and was still thought to be a lazy, selfish player. 

He did contribute off the bench this year, and yes, there were flashes when he seemed like the dominant force he should have been. But in terms of raw talent, this guy's in the Michael Beasley/OJ Mayo category. He shouldn't have been a bench contributor any more than Luciano Pavarotti should have been the tenor in your local barbershop quartet. 

So now, without ever having proven that he could even be a starter at the college level, he's leaving for the NBA. If Rick Pitino is at all sad about this, it's not because he'll miss Caracter the player, it's because he couldn't do more to help Caracter pull his head out of his ass.

This summer, Caracter might be a 2nd-round draft pick. His stock's going to have to improve to get there. I hope to God I'm wrong, but I just can't believe that he's going to get to the NBA, and then develop a work ethic. And if he doesn't, considering he had a hard time adapting to life at Louisville, I doubt he'll adjust seamlessly to international basketball. I've got a terrible feeling that we've heard the last of him.

Damn shame.

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