H: 6' 9"|
W: 280 lbs
(27 Years Old)
|RSCI: 18||Agent: SELF ||
High School: Notre Dame Prep
Hometown: Fanwood, NJ
Drafted: Pick 58 in 2010 by Lakers
Best Case: Jackie Butler
Worst Case: Marcus Fizer
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2010||NBA Draft Combine||6' 8.25"||6' 9.5"||280||7' 0.25"||8' 11.25"||12.8||25.0||30.5|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2010||NBA Draft Combine||6' 8.25"||6' 9.5"||280||7' 0.25"||8' 11.25"||12.8||25.0||30.5|
Following a very tumultuous two seasons at Louisville that made many wonder if how much of a future he has in basketball, Derrick Caracter transferred to UTEP and sat out a year as required. Now he’s become a key contributor for a team that’s on a 13-game winning streak and just clinched the Conference USA title last night, all while being a model citizen throughout the season.
Plagued by weight, conditioning, and attitude issues at Louisville, Caracter appears to have figured things out for the most part at UTEP, even if he still has room for improvement in many areas. His offensive profile still reads very similarly to what it was two years, if only for the difference that he’s seeing a lot more time on the floor each game and not getting suspended multiple times per season.
In the post, Caracter has an extremely high skill level, excellent footwork and touch, and an incredibly high level of functional strength, making him a dominant force at this level. He can finish off either shoulder with ease, boasting effective hook shots with both hands, and he does an excellent job of establishing position without the ball and then backing his man down some more once he gets the ball. He reads his opponent very well when isolated, recognizing where the opening is and quickly and compactly going to whatever move and direction gives him the highest percentage opportunity.
Caracter uses a great combination of finesse and power when operating with his back to the basket, though there are some concerns projecting to the next level, as the release point on most of his moves is low, and he doesn’t do a great job getting separation, having well below average explosiveness for an NBA big man.
Also, while Caracter has a very good feel for the game in the post, he is pretty turnover prone, getting called for offensive fouls, three-second violations, and travels pretty frequently, turning the ball over on a very high 23% of his possessions. He doesn’t deal with double teams especially well either, and is prone to forcing his way through them, usually not making quick pass outs and only looking for them well after defenses collapse on him. While he clearly has the feel and skill-level to find the open man, as we’ve seen on a few occasions, he seems to elect not to at times, instead forcing his own offense.
Aside from his post game, Caracter has done an excellent job on the offensive glass, usually just out-willing opponents by throwing his body around and using his strength to pull down boards in a crowd, and he’s shown a very high motor on the offensive end in general. While his jumper is still very much a work in progress, he has hit 3-of-11 threes this year, boasting decent form in spite of a slow, deliberate release. He’s also mixed in jumpers from face-up positions in the 10-15 foot range, turning into his defender to shoot them with inconsistent results. This isn’t something anyone should expect to become a ripple of his game anytime soon, but for a player with question marks about how his game will translate to the pros, it’s good to see him working on skills that could help him down the road.
While Caracter has shown flashes of development in other areas of his game, he is still incredibly reliant on his post game, as 80 of his 142 charted offensive possessions on Synergy were of the post-up variety. Looking to the NBA, he will need to diversify his game some to find a long-term niche in all likelihood, and should probably look at fellow under-the-rim banger Craig Smith as a player to model himself after. Improving on his ability to finish off cuts and pick-and-rolls by using his massive body to seal out defenders and create angles is something that could help him contribute in multiple ways in the pros.
Defensively, Caracter has an improved effort level and focus this season, though there are still many things holding him back from being an effective defender. In the post, he actually shows decent fundamental in man-to-man situations, getting into his opponent and using his strength to hold position well. That said, with very little lift and a weak standing reach, he’s very prone to being shot over, and can be outmaneuvered by quicker opponents as well.
Things get worse on the perimeter, where his fundamentals aren’t great and he’s very slow of foot moving laterally, looking like a fish out of water when matched with someone resembling a stretch four. This is of great concern in projecting Caracter to the pros, given the makeup of the power forward position in the NBA, and could very well push him to the center spot instead, which he is clearly undersized for. Caracter also isn’t great as a help defender, not having the athleticism to really do much on the weakside, as evidenced by his low steals and blocks numbers.
Looking forward, while this season has been a revelation for Caracter in terms of where he was two years ago, he still has much work to do if he wants to find a long-term home in the NBA, beyond just maintaining the physical and mental makeover he’s undergone in El Paso. Shedding some more unnecessary weight, working hard on his explosiveness around the rim, putting in considerable work to become respectable as a perimeter defender, and diversifying his offensive game are all things that need to be priorities for him, though they’re all well within his reach if he puts in the work.
For all the areas in his game that could use some work, his skill level and strength in the post are things that very few players have, and other undersized 4’s in the pros have proven this can be a potent weapon in the NBA.
Caracter is rumored to have one foot out the door already in El-Paso and has apparently already decided that he’ll be declaring for this year’s draft. Considering the numerous question marks teams have about his background, combined with the fact that he’s hardly a can’t miss-talent, it’s not out of the question that he goes undrafted.
While there will always be a lucrative market for his services in Asia (China and Korea) and in some parts of Europe, Caracter might want to at least consider the possibility of returning to UTEP, as another year of keeping his nose clean and improving his weaknesses could get him a lot closer to carving out a career in the NBA.
In Short: Strong, fluid, immensely talented big man who can create shots for himself with his back to the basket as well anyone else in this draft. Has quick feet, great hands, soft touch, and the ability to score in a variety of ways around the basket. An excellent offensive rebounder. A terrible defender who will likely struggle translating his skill-level to the pros due to his poor conditioning, below average size, and inability to face the basket, find the open man or hit mid-range jumpers the way a true power forward should. A troubled young man who has been given every opportunity to change his ways and has proven himself incapable of discipline. Rejects being coached, does not abide by rules, cannot stay in shape, and thus will likely be deemed as being far more trouble than he’s worth by NBA teams.
Chances of returning to school: 0%. The question here is more “will Louisville want him back” rather than will he have any type of choice. “I have never seen anyone so far behind in the game of life,” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino about him.
Most college athletes have things like “enjoys playing chess,” and “feeds homeless children in his free time” on their college bio--Caracter has “Missed 16 games as a freshman due to off the court issues, playing in 18 games overall…missed five days in late December when he was given an indefinite leave of absence by Pitino so he could address personal issues…missed six games in Jan./Feb. after breaking the contract he had signed to remain on the team” and “Lost more than 50 pounds, down from 318 pounds when he arrived on campus as a freshman, to his playing weight of 265 with less than 10 percent body fat” on his.
Caracter likely made a fool of Rick Pitino one time too many, with Samardo Samuels coming in, there doesn’t appear to be any real need for him. He played a stopgap role out of convenience for both parties this season when David Padgett was injured or needed a blow on the bench, but it was pretty obvious that he won’t be welcomed back. He was suspended numerous times over the past few years, and after being brought back to the team under the urging of his teammates, and signing a contract, broke his curfew not once, but twice in the same night. Here is a full transcript of a press conference Rick Pitino had on the subject, which goes into a lot more depth.
For Caracter to even be on this list while his team is still alive in the NCAA tournament tells us all we need to know basically—he could have waited until the season is over as is the norm before announcing the inevitable, but in typical fashion, decided to march to his own drum.
Some team might take a gamble on him in the 2nd round—certain teams who don’t mind cutting corners will take anyone with a pulse if they think they have talent, regardless of chemistry issues or distractions it might cause—but how long he sticks in the NBA is anyone’s guess. He could also just as easily go undrafted. Luckily for him, there will always be an overseas market for back to the basket centers who can score, but he’ll never play at as high a level or make as much money as he should if he doesn’t change his ways dramatically. Then again…he could always mature at some point…but that’s a big maybe if history is any indication.
One of the most high-risk, high-reward draft prospects to evaluate anywhere in the NCAA, it’s easy to envision scenarios where someone looks back Derrick Caracter’s placing on this list in 3-4 years and wonders either: “how in the world was he ranked so low?” or “how was he ranked so high?” It’s really that up in the air at this point regarding how his professional career will turn out.
In terms of pure talent, it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider Caracter even the top NBA draft prospect in the Big East. His combination of size, strength, fluidity, athleticism and skill is simply unheard of these days from a college player his age, and even in the limited amount of possessions we had to evaluate (somewhere around 120 on the offensive end), it was incredibly obvious that we’re dealing with a player possessing lottery plus potential.
Starting with his physical attributes, Caracter has an NBA frame, with solid length and very nice athletic ability. He is extremely strong, but at the same time possesses incredibly nimble feet, making for a devastating combination when evaluating his back to the basket game. Caracter uses his great base to carve out space and establish position deep in the paint, often backing down his defender around mercilessly in the process—Shaq-style.
More than just a brute force, though, Caracter has some nice finesse to his game as well, looking extremely comfortable operating in the post with the ball in his hands. He’s a natural scorer, fluid and highly coordinated, showing great hands to catch anything thrown his way and the touch to convert baskets in the toughest of situations, sometimes just throwing the ball up on the rim and seeing it drop softly. He can score with either hand (although he obviously favors his right), with his go-to move clearly being a lethal jump-hook shot, with range out to about 8 feet. The most impressive part of Caracter’s post game might be his sheer quickness, though; he has a lightning quick first step that often just overwhelms his flat-footed defender, and the ability to spin to either shoulder unconventionally to catch his man off guard, possibly to finish with a reverse high off the glass. He has all kinds of nifty jukes and fakes he can execute even in small spaces, making him a magnet for drawing fouls— ranking him 5th amongst returning draft prospects per 40 minutes in that category, at 9.3.
In terms of the rest of his offense, we’re still somewhat in wait and see mode. Caracter took very few jump-shots in the 240 total minutes he played last season, but the few he did take looked pretty good coming out of his hands. He seems to have the ability to knock down the 15 footer comfortably if left open, but on the other hand, only shot 52% from the free throw line—meaning he’s obviously not quite there yet. Caracter never put the ball on the floor and generally did not look very comfortable with the ball in his hands out on the perimeter. He’s also a poor passer—his 0.17 assist to turnover ratio ranks amongst the worst amongst all draft prospects, and you regularly got the feeling that once the ball went inside the post, there was a slim chance that it was ever going to come out. He has plenty of work to do on learning how to read defenses and not being single-minded about the plays he’s about to execute.
Defensively, Caracter is clearly lacking fundamentals, both in his positioning as well as his defensive rebounding. He was incredibly foul prone as a freshman (his 8.7 fouls per 40 minutes ranks 3rd amongst all draft prospects, and that wasn’t a fluke judging by the way he bites on pump fakes, gives up space in the post, moves his feet poorly on the perimeter, and uses his hands excessively. He looks a little bit more low-energy in his body language than you might prefer, even though probably not quite as bad as his exceedingly lazy reputation would indicate coming out of high school. That obviously has everything to do with the coaching staff at Louisville, which has absolutely done the right thing keeping him on a short leash and holding him fully accountable for his actions, for probably the first time in his life.
By all accounts, Caracter is actually a very smart and personable kid who has a lot to say for himself. With that said, he’s struggled with weight and academic issues for years now and bounced around constantly from high school to high school. He was in and out of Rick Pitino’s doghouse last year, and was suspended for the start of the season for accepting improper benefits from a family friend. His ties with agent/runner Eddie Lau have also been well documented. NBA teams have known to shy away from drafting players with questionable characters (at least high in the first round) in the past, so any more off the court incidents could prove fatal for Caracter’s draft stock. A monster season, though—with not a peep in the papers coming from off the court--would have the exact opposite effect.
Heaping any type of praise on Derrick Caracter is a seemingly dangerous proposition considering that he’s been hanging by the thinnest of threads all season long due to his immaturity and unacceptable behavior, but who can ignore the potential he flashes? If he can somehow get himself together, he has NBA written all over him. We won’t hold our breath, but it will certainly be interesting to follow in 2007-2008.[Read Full Article]
DraftExpress: Derrick, can you tell me a little about what happened to you at Notre Dame Prep? Why were you off the team at the mid season point?
Caracter: The situation at Notre Dame was a controversial one. I was coming one of the top high schools in the country, where the basketball situation was legit. I went to a coach where he gets a lot of talent, and doesn’t know what he’s doing. I’m just going to try to make it the best for the rest of the year and get out of there as fast as I can.
DraftExpress: Many question your current academic standing. Are you going to be eligible to play next year at Louisville?
Caracter: Oh yeah, definitely. I’ve already qualified for college. All I have to do now is stay in school and get my diploma.
DraftExpress: What do you see your role being next year at Louisville?
Caracter: Umm…Just coming in and being an inside presence and giving them the physical toughness that they didn’t have this year.
DraftExpress: Are there any specific goals that you have set for yourself for next season?
Caracter: As a team, or for myself?
DraftExpress: For yourself.
Caracter: Probably to be Big East Player of the Year. For us to go as far in the tournament as we can, and average a double-double.
DraftExpress: With the NBA putting it’s age limit in, it held back many players from your calls from entering the NBA Draft this season. What are your personal thoughts on the rule?
Caracter: I don’t think it’s fair to put an age limit on what you can do and when you can get paid for something you do well. A rule is a rule, and nobody is going to change it.
DraftExpress: If the rule wouldn’t have been put in, would you have considered entering the draft out of high school?
Caracter: I’m not even sure. The rule is in effect, so I can’t even tell you what I’d do. I feel that I was rated a little lower then I should have been by a lot of people though.
DraftExpress: What areas of your game are you looking to work on before you hit campus at Louisville?
Caracter: Running. Running and trying to get in the best shape as I possibly can.
DraftExpress: Do you have a set weight that you’d like to reach?
Caracter: 265. 265 or 270 lbs.
DraftExpress: Now you played much better in the second half of the Roundball game. Was there anything different for you in half two?
Caracter: I think it was just building confidence and stuff like that. I just told myself “I can do this”.
DraftExpress: What happened with your omission from the McDonald’s game? Did you ever receive any explanation as to why you weren’t selected?
Caracter: (laughs) A couple of people felt my game wasn’t…felt I was a bad kid and didn’t fit the image of that game. As far as that, I’ve just turned all the negatives into positives and made the best of things.
DraftExpress: Thanks a lot Derrick and congratulations on your MVP award.
Caracter: Thank you.
The New Jersey native showed off his polished post game in the second half of the Roundball, after a mediocre at best first half. The nimble big man is much more athletic then people give him credit for, and is just as skilled as any power forward in the country. Caracter’s ball handling and shooting skills are definitely above average for a post player, and he can really score once he receives the ball down low. The downside however, is that his game is somewhat reminiscent of Eddy Curry’s in that he is extremely talented offensively, but doesn’t play much one on one defense and is a poor rebounder, although he is a better shot blocker because of his great wingspan and quick leaping ability.
The coaches at Louisville must keep Caracter motivated in order for him to reach his fullest potential. How they will do that is the great question. Derrick’s coaches all throughout high school have had problems with his desire, and it’s just a shame to see such a skilled and talented big man just go through the motions when out on the floor. Hopefully Coach Pitino can make him play hard, because if that happens, we are looking at a definite NBA player.
If everything were based on talent and skills alone, Caracter would be right there next to Greg Oden as one of the two or three best in the nation. Unfortunately however it is not, and the New Jersey big man has come to realize that the hard way. The previous issues with Derrick’s lack of motivation and desire that have plagued him in the past were not present on Friday, as he came out looking to show everyone that he is one of the very elite players in the country. The Louisville recruit showed incredibly quick moves in the post, and even stepped out and knocked down a three pointer. He looks like he has lost some weight and gained some explosiveness since we last saw him in late July, but unfortunately that hasn’t helped him become any better of a rebounder. Although Derrick has great hands and a massive frame, he wasn’t able to rebound the ball at quite the clip you’d hope for a player of his stature. Rebounding aside however, it was a great practice for a player looking to show off his immense skills.[Read Full Article]