Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 12:47 pm
Remember my Knucklehead Rule?
It's rooted in the "once a knucklehead, always a knucklehead" theory, a cynical view of the world that suggests people with issues almost always remain people with issues. I wrote about it while doing a column on former Ohio guard Armon Bassett last year. I mention it today because the Knucklehead Rule just had a helluva weekend.
It started with actress Lindsey Lohan (Queen Knucklehead) returning to jail Friday for a probation violation. Then Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall (Hall of Fame knucklehead) was involved in a domestic dispute that led to him being hospitalized with a stab wound. Meantime, Lakers rookie Derrick Caracter (knucklehead for most of the past decade) was arrested in New Orleans. And Florida football player Janoris Jenkins was hit with a marijuana charge for the second time this year. And former Major Leaguer Elijah Dukes was arrested for the second time in less than two months. And former NFL player Keith McCants was charged with felony possession of cocaine and resisting arrest.
The headline at ProFootballTalk.com about McCants read, "Former top-five pick in trouble again."
Again is the key word.
The Knucklehead Rule -- still undefeated.
Posted on: March 29, 2010 3:51 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2010 3:52 pm
It remains unclear who will be UTEP's next coach.
But this much is clear: He won't coach Derrick Caracter.
A source close to the UTEP program told CBSSports.com on Monday that Caracter informed the staff he was entering the NBA Draft even before Tony Barbee left for Auburn last week. There is no timetable for a formal announcement, the source said. But Caracter's imminent exit ensures the UTEP team that won C-USA without any seniors won't return intact. The more important question is whether the new coach -- whom most believe will eventually be either former USC coach Tim Floyd, Texas assistant Rodney Terry, UTEP assistant Randall Dickey, or former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie -- can keep Arnett Moultrie and Randy Culpepper from transferring or pursuing professional opportunities. A source said that's one of the reasons Dickey is now being considered, because school officials believe he has the best chance of keeping everybody except Caracter on campus.
Caracter averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds this season.
UTEP finished 26-7 after losing to Butler in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Posted on: December 12, 2009 2:49 pm
Derrick Caracter, once considered among the best high school players in the country, has been cleared to play at UTEP, Miners coach Tony Barbee told CBSSports.com on Saturday.
Caracter will debut Sunday against New Mexico State.
The 6-foot-9 forward spent his first two years of college at Louisville, but never met the standards set forth by Rick Pitino. After his sophomore season, Caracter was essentially asked to leave the program. After a period of uncertainty, he landed at UTEP primarily because of Barbee, who had recruited the New Jersey native while serving as an assistant at Memphis under John Calipari.
UTEP is 5-0 heading into Sunday's matchup with New Mexico State. Caracter averaged 8.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in 16.9 minutes per game during his final season at Louisville. He is officially listed as a junior who should be eligible the rest of this season and all of next season.
Posted on: January 22, 2009 3:36 pm
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."
Posted on: August 27, 2008 10:29 am
Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I find the Derrick Caracter story very sad. I think it is good that he is still going to be going to a university, but sad that he did not have great success at the (high-major) level. I want the best for him, but at this point the odds of him making a comeback are slim. ... If I one day hear that he is playing professional basketball in the Euroleague or something, that would be great.
You know, that's what he should be trying to do now.
In fact, Rick Pitino told me he tried to push Caracter that way.
Pitino helped get Caracter into the NBA PreDraft Camp, you see. But Caracter (for reasons that remain unclear) declined the invitation and pleaded with Pitino to let him rejoin the Louisville program. Problem is, by that time Caracter had already lost his eligibility because of academics. And even though he said he wanted to sit out this season and play for the Cardinals in 2009-10, it was always unrealistic to believe he'd be capable of meeting the requirements to make that happen set forth by Pitino. That's what led to Caracter presumably transferring to an NAIA school.
For the record, I think it's a mistake.
If there's one thing Caracter has proved over the years it's that he's not a fan of school. Thus, I find it confusing that he'd want to enroll in another school instead of just taking a shot at signing with a professional team, acting straight and trying to trick an NBA franchise into offering a contract over the next two or three years. At this point, that's a much more sensible approach. But Caracter hasn't always done the sensible thing, which is why I'm not surprised by this or any other move he ever makes.
That said, I honestly hope it works out.
For his sake.
Posted on: August 25, 2008 1:06 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2008 1:07 pm
Derrick Caracter, the subject of my Monday column, is recognized as the first eighth-grader to attend the Nike Camp.
That's true, of course.
But there was another eighth-grader at that 2002 event with him.
Do you remember the player's name?
(I'll give you 10 seconds)
Answer: Demond Carter.
These days, Demond Carter goes by the name of Tweety Carter and he was the fifth-leading scorer for Baylor last season. That doesn't quite classify him as a college star, so it's fair to point out that neither of the two heralded eighth-graders from back in 2002 -- Caracter and Carter -- have developed the way some probably expected at the time. Sure, they were still good enough to earn scholarships at high-major institutions, and we should all be so lucky. But relative to what they were once considered, the falloff was drastic, which might be the best reason for coaches to be cautious when recruiting middle schoolers.
To be clear, I don't care.
I'm on record as stating that those who recruit eighth-graders and freshmen are OK in my book because I recognize the need to get a head start. If you're a high-major coach and you don't know the names of the best five ninth-graders in your area, you're not doing your job properly. For better or worse, that's the world in which we live. But the truth is that it's still difficult to project eighth-graders because you never know who is going to grow and who isn't, never know who is getting by because they are bigger and stronger than their peers and who is getting by because they genuinely possess elite-level talent.
On this note, I'll tell you a story.
When I worked at The Commercial Appeal in Memphis I once did an article about a kid who was named by at least one publication as the best eighth-grade player in the country. I saw him play many times. He was awesome. His name was Andre Allen, and I don't think he grew more than an inch from his freshman year of high school to his freshman year of college. Consequently, he wasn't even a Top 100 prospect by the time he graduated high school. Also, he was a non-qualifier. So Allen sat out a year, then walked on at Memphis and averaged 4.2 points per game in three seasons before being suspended by the NCAA for a failed drug test that essentially ended his college career before this past season's Final Four.
That's a Caracter-like fall, for sure.
So the lesson is that eighth grade might be too early to properly project prospects, O.J. Mayo not withstanding. That's why my belief is that most of the elite talents don't clearly separate themselves until the summer before their sophomore years of high school, at which time a good coach (or recruiting analyst) can pretty much peg the next LeBron James or Michael Beasley and feel safe they are getting a proper read on what they're seeing and what's to come.
Posted on: July 16, 2008 1:46 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2008 4:20 am
Here's Wednesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: I have to say that you made a huge error in your blog on Derrick Caracter. Has he been a lazy student? Yes. Lazy teammate/player? Yes. A bad person? Absolutely not! He still has the heart of a child, both the good and bad aspects. Your implication that Rick Pitino is giving some low-class thug a 10th chance is irresponsible.
Man, Louis, you had me worried.
When you wrote I made a 'huge error' I thought that meant I must've called Josh Hamilton Josh Beckett or misspelled Winehouse or something. Turns out, my huge error, according to you, was that I wrote Derrick Caracter has never been a "good student, good teammate or good dude in general." Thank goodnees that's the only "error" you found. Now I can relax. But I guess this does mean we're in a disagreement, Louis, and you being on the side of Caracter doesn't bode well for you.
I say he's never been a good dude.
You say that's an error.
That means you believe Caracter has in fact been a good dude. So now I'm inviting you to write back and explain in detail what it is exactly that Caracter has done to make anybody -- specifically you -- think he's a good dude. I'll be waiting.
As for your thug reference?
I never used that word and will never use that word to describe anybody. I hate that word, hate what it implies and how easily it's tossed around and used by white people to describe black players with tattoos from the inner-city. I'll never use that word to disparage Caracter or anybody else. But I think it's safe to say good dudes don't basically spend two years of college suspended and/or in a fight with their head coach over a variety of subjects, which means I think it's safe to say Caracter has never been a "good dude in general."
Either way, prove me wrong.
Tell me how good of a dude Caracter has been.
And good luck trying to defend someone who is indefensible.
Posted on: July 16, 2008 12:43 am
Edited on: July 16, 2008 1:03 am
The war on terror.
Pitino said Caracter will be allowed to rejoin the Cardinals for the 2009-2010 season if he does all those things.
My initial reaction: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah