The more I read about Derrick Caracter, the more excited I get about his prospects. Let's look at the facts:
Was once rated the number one basketball player in high school
At one point outplayed a dominant Greg Oden at ABCD camp (Oden admitted as much)
20 points, 9 rebounds against Butler (who ended up in the championship game) in the NCAA tournament
12.8% bodyfat at the NBA draft combine (compared to 16.4% on Demarcus Cousins)
30 inch vertical (while not a spectacular figure, its 2.5 inches higher than demarcus cousins)
via draftexpress: "Strong, fluid, immensely talented big man who can create shots for himself with his back to the basket as well as 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."
First of all, it needs to be said that the only reason he fell to the 58th pick in the draft, was reservations about his character. He has no injury history. It's already been established that he has NBA strength. The only reason no team wanted to touch him was because he was essentially black listed as a "bad guy".
Don't get me wrong, he has quite a record of screwing up. He took handouts in high school that led to a suspension while in college. He was constantly overweight. He had academic issues. He once told his high school basketball coach (who was also his math teacher) "Why i gotta learn math when im gonna be in the NBA."
However, if we purge away from our memories a 4 year period in his life (junior year HS to when he was kicked out of Louisville), we get a pretty good picture of what this guy is capable of, not only on the court but off of it. This is a guy, that went from number one ranked in the nations, to his grandmother handing him a Dunkin Donuts job application after he was kicked out of college. He has had his humble pie. Over, and over. And he knows it:
Figuring it was time to send him a message, Caracter's mother and grandmother left a Dunkin' Donuts employment application where he couldn't miss it.
"I was just trying to figure out how I was going to get things together over there at the time and they had an application waiting for me on my bed," Caracter, 22, recalled during a recent phone interview. "Dunkin' Donuts was down the street from my house.
"At first, I just kind of laughed but then I knew where they were coming from. The outside looking in, things weren't looking good, and I knew I needed to get together."
So he went to UTEP, sat out a year (rules), and came in and made an immediate impact. Granted, he was still vastly overweight (315 pounds at his last game), but he led his team to the Conference USA Championship game as well as an NCAA tournament berth. In addition, his numbers for the season weren't so far off what overall number 5 pick Demarcus Cousins achieved:
Derrick Caracter: min: 26.7 points: 14.1 rebounds: 8.1 FG% 56.7%
Demarcus Cousins: min: 23.5 points: 15.1 rebounds: 9.8 FG% 55.8%
Obviously, there are a lot of factors that go into the stats, but this guy showed he could perform. In fact, against the eventual NCAA tournament runner-up, Butler, he posted 20 points and 9 rebounds. In his final words as an NCAA player, he shows maturity and a will to win:
"I was frustrated [because] I felt that we should have been winning," Caracter said. "We weren't executing as well as we could have defensively. (That) was mostly my fault, just me not coming out. I was just frustrated, because I know we were better than we showed today."
There's no doubt he has all the talent in the world. The only question was his character. And as he's shown in his last year in college, one where he was never suspended or disciplined, he's ready for the big leagues.
Who else is excited?!