Tony Barbee confirmed Thursday to CBSSports.com that Derrick Caracter is enrolled at UTEP, paying his own way and on track to play for the Miners in December of next season.
"He started classes Monday," said Barbee, the UTEP coach who was making his first public comments on the subject.
Caracter is best-known as the highly touted prodigy who signed with Louisville out of high school but never reached his potential for a variety of reasons spanning from his weight to constant run-ins with Rick Pitino. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds at Louisville last season, but grade issues and a nudge from Pitino paved the way for an exit from the team that now looks like a Big East contender.
How did UTEP get involved?
Barbee recruited Caracter out of high school while he was an assistant at Memphis. So the former aid to John Calipari has long been familiar with Caracter, and he had him come in for a visit in December. Once all the financial aid requirements were met, Barbee said he decided to offer Caracter a chance to restart his once-promising career.
"Every 17 year-old and 18 year-old has made mistakes, and when you're a high-profile recruit those mistakes get magnified on the national scene," Barbee said. "But just like any other 17 year-old or 18 year-old kid, he deserves a second chance, and I think he wants to do the right things."