Caracter's friendship with Dean puts Cards in mix

Chapel Hill, NC -- Derrick Caracter's addition of Louisville to his list this weekend marked the first time the 6-foot-9 standout has mentioned the Cardinals publicly as one of his favorites. Besides Rick Pitino, current Louisville guard Taquan Dean, who hails from Caracter's home state, probably has much to do with the Cardinals inclusion on his list.

6-foot-9, 300-pound Derrick Caracter, Scout.com's No. 11 prospect in the Class of 2006, said he's narrowed his list to five schools last weekend at the Bob Gibbons Tourament of Champions.

"My top five right now has Louisville, Villanova, Seton Hall, Memphis and Virginia," Caracter said. "That's my top five right now."

Extremely mobile and skilled for his size, Caracter can lead the break, score inside or out, and passes the ball exceptionally well. Sometimes critized for lack of effort, Caracter has been highly regarded since arriving on the national scene as an eigth-grader four years ago. Now, with one prep season remaining, Caracter seems destined to chose his path - college or the NBA.

"You always think about the NBA, especially when you see guys in the league you've played against," Caracter said. "When I go to the NBA, I want to be fully prepared to actually go in and play, not just to go there and sit on the bench for three or four years."

If Caracter chooses the college route, it's a safe bet he'll do so in the Big East. Three of Caracter's five finalists are members of the elite east coast league, and staying close to home appears an important factor.

"I think the Big East is definitely going to get better this year, especially having Louisville join the (league)," said Caracter. "It would be nice not to be too far from home."

Caracter's addition of Louisville to his list this weekend marked the first time he'd mentioned the Cardinals publicly as one of his favorites. Besides Rick Pitino, current Louisville guard Taquan Dean, who hails from Caracter's home state, probably has much to do with the Cardinals inclusion on his list.

"I like Coach Pitino, and I have a friend - Taquan Dean - who goes there from Neptune," Caracter said. "We talk every once in a while and he tells me about the program. My high school coach is similar to his coach (Pitino), and he thinks (Louisville) might be a good place for me to look at. I haven't talked to (Taquan) in about two weeks, but I'll definitely get back in touch with him when I get back to Jersey."

It should be noted that Pitino didn't visit Caracter during the spring evaluation period. So while Caracter lists the Cardinals at the top of his list, the extent of Louisville's interest remains uncertain. And with limited scholarships to hand out in 2006, Caracter might be too big a risk for the Cardinals.

"He's a dangerous guy to recruit for a variety of reasons, not to mention the fact that he plays only one of five games with any intensity," noted one recruiting analyst in attendance over the weekend.

Still, Caracter's talent is certain to entice a few college coaches to recruit him despite the associated risk. He's currently planning two unoffical visits this summer, and said he hopes to make some official visits next fall.

"I'll probably take one or two visits this summer," Caracter said. "I'll probably take an unofficial (visit) to Memphis at the end of the summer. And I might visit Virginia because I have family there. Then I'll start taking my official visits in September."


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