10. Caracter Improvement
From as early as middle school Derrick Caracter was labeled a future NBA superstar. But with that sort of hype came a sense of entitlement and Caracter stopped putting in the necessary work to achieve his goals.
Caracter bounced around to three different high schools and dealt with immaturity and weight issues. Both of these problems plagued him at Louisville as well. The potential was there but Coach Rick Pitino was not willing to put up with Caracter’s lack of work ethic. He was declared academically ineligible in 2008 and Pitino announced, “He just has too many issues to overcome, academically and otherwise, to be a Louisville Cardinal … The best thing for him would be to go to a different place.”
Caracter now reflects and realizes his dismissal was entirely his fault. “None of it was his (Pitino's) fault. It was just me being able to get away with things I could get away with my whole life. I knew if I wanted to grow up and eventually play in the NBA I had to look at myself in the mirror.”
He was all set to head to Long Beach State when University of Texas at El Paso came calling and convinced him to change his plans. Caracter had to pay his own way for the first two semesters because he wasn’t yet on scholarship. Caracter slimmed down and has been able to stay eligible and helped the Miners win the Conference USA regular season title and earn a bid to the tournament.
If Caracter declares for the draft this year, he’s no lock to get picked. But he has made great progress and will certainly be able to play professional ball somewhere if not in the NBA.