He has been impressive! He could be a force off the bench.
ESPN: Derrick Caracter is used to being the biggest and baddest person in the room for quite some time.
Ever since he was a 6-8 eighth grader, when he was proclaimed a basketball prodigy by The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) — a regular “Boy Wonder,” the headline read — Caracter approached life like it owed something to him. Like his behemoth size was a guarantee he would achieve even bigger things.
That all changed in the last couple years of his 22-year-old life. His fast track came to a screeching halt at age 19 when, after two tumultuous years at Louisville with Rick Pitino, he left school as an overweight disappointment.
He fled the spotlight in Louisville that the Big East provided for the relative anonymity of Conference USA at the University of Texas El Paso, lucky that any program would take a chance on him after so thoroughly soiling his reputation that came from being ranked the No. 1 prospect in his high school class.
“It was pretty much starting all over from scratch and going out there like I was in seventh grade again,” Caracter said at the Lakers practice facility last month, specifically pointing to a time before he was bestowed with the fame that made him a household name in basketball circles for nearly the last half of his life.
His transfer to UTEP came at a time when his first name Derrick was being replaced by “Has No” or “Lacks” by critics, and his last name Caracter was being followed by an additional surname of “Issues.
“I know there was a lot of character issues people were concerned with, as far as off the court, but I’m going to show them that’s not a problem,” said Caracter, uttering the homonym that’s caused him so much grief.