ABCD: Caracter puts Cards atop list

TEANECK, NJ -- 6-9 Derrick Caracter currently gives Louisville the nod over rival Memphis for his services. There's also a possibility that Caracter, along with fellow Garden State natives Lance Thomas and Earl Clark, could be part of a package deal for one lucky college coach. Both Caracter and Thomas spent time with Inside The Ville Wednesday at ABCD and provided the latest on their recruitments.

Following his teams win over the Hawks to open the Reebok ABCD Camp, Derrick Caracter named the Louisville Cardinals the leader for his services over longtime rival Memphis.

Caracter, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound power forward from Elizabeth, NJ, visited both schools last month. A week after visiting John Calipari's Tiger program, Caracter participated in Rick Pitino's elite basketball camp. Apparently that experience left a favorable impression - enough to push the Cardinals to the top of the list for's No. 16 ranked prospect nationally.

"I'm really liking Louisville a little over Memphis right now," Caracter told Inside The Ville. "I like the guys and fellows (at Louisville), and the work ethic and their practices. So I'm leaning a little bit towards Louisville."

While Caracter admits that Pitino's fast-paced style might not currently fit his own, it's for exactly that reason why he feels that playing for such an intense coach will ultimately help him achieve his goals on the court - namely to play in the NBA one day.

"I think Rick Pitino is a more intense coach that can push me to take it to the next level," explained Caracter. "Their system may not be so much my style of play right now, but that's what I want my game to be(come). So if it takes another two or three years, that's what it takes."

Prior to speaking with Caracter, 6-foot-9 forward Lance Thomas, a friend and former high school teammate of Caracter's, told Inside The Ville that Caracter, 6-foot-8 forward Earl Clark of Rahway, NJ and himself have recently discussed the possibility of attending the same college together.

Lance Thomas: A package deal?
"Myself, Derrick Caracter and Earl (Clark) are all talking about going to Rutgers and turning that program around," Thomas said. "We're definitely thinking about it. I think the (Rutgers) coaches are good, they just haven't had much to work with. New Jersey has a lot of talent but majority never stay home. We all grew up together, and we want to continue to play together, but recently we just started talking about it."

When asked his thoughts about attending Rutgers together with Thomas and Clark, Caracter laughed and acknowledged that the three talented prospects have recently discussed the possibility recently. Apparently, Caracter told reporters last summer at ABCD that he wanted to find a college that had been down that he could help turn around. Caracter said that's the appealing aspect about the situation at Rutgers, who finished near the bottom of the Big East last season.

"That's exactly why we're all talking about Rutgers," Caracter said.

"It could be the end of this week, towards the beginning of September, but all three of us want to commit to the same school at the same time," said Caracter.

Caracter also said that he and Clark have talked about going to college together. Last week at the NBA Players Association Camp in Richmond, VA, Clark said that Villanova and Louisville topped his list. Might the two star forwards decide playing for Pitino at Louisville is a good fit?

"We've definitely talked about going to school together," said Caracter. "That's definitely something I'm looking forward to doing. It's sort of a last minute thing but we're like 'lets make happen - do a couple of years or whatever it takes to accomplish what we want to accomplish'."

Pitino and assistant Steve Masiello were on hand Wednesday afternoon and appeared to focus on both Caracter and Clark, while watching O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker play at the same time. Caracter finished with 6 points, 4 rebounds and two blocks.

"I think camp started pretty well," Caracter said. "I didn't perform like I wanted to. I want to take my game to another level and I don't think I performed as well as I should have today."

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