Caracter says Pitino a major factor in decision

Comments from Derrick Caracter, his mother Winnie, and St. Patrick's High School coach Kevin Boyle about why the 6-9 star forward chose the Louisville Cardinals Thursday.

It should have come as no surprise to Louisville fans that 6-9 Derrick Caracter chose the Cardinals Thursday afternoon.

And the major reason why the Elizabeth, NJ native picked U of L over Memphis was very simple: Rick Pitino.

"Coach Pitino is a good guy and a great coach," Caracter said during Thursday's press conference at St. Patrick's High School. "That's why I chose Louisville. He'll help make me more of a well-rounded person and a better basketball player."

"Coach Pitino's relationship with his players goes beyond the court," added Caracter. "This decision was about more than basketball."

Caracter's mother, Winnie, said she feels extremely comfortable with her son's decision.

"Our relationship with Coach Pitino was on a personal level and that made Louisville very attractive," Caracter's mother said. "I feel very confident about my son going to Louisville."

Derrick and his family were all smiles
after Thursday's announcement. (Russ Blake)

St. Patrick's coach Kevin Boyle offered another reason why Pitino was such a huge selling point for his 285-pound star forward.

"Coach Pitino is one of the premier teachers in the game, and Louisville's fans really get behind their team," Boyle said. "Derrick can help them get back to the Final Four."

Caracter said his unofficial visit to U of L last weekend helped seal the deal for the Cardinals.

"My unofficial visit went great and I had a good chance to sit down and talk with Coach Pitino," Caracter said. "I've known for about a week that Louisville was my choice. I felt comfortable during my visit and that pretty much sealed the deal."

The Cardinals move to the Big East was also an important factor that worked to their advantage during the recruiting process.

"Louisville being in the Big East was an important factor too," said Caracter. "Having my family able to see me play in the 'Garden' is great."

However, Caracter's announcement Thursday likely wouldn't have happened if not for the NBA's institution of an age-restriction this summer.

"Before the rule change I was 50/50 about going out of high school," Caracter admitted. "Now I don't know when I'm going to the NBA. It could be one, two, three, or four years."

Now, Caracter is ready for the season to get started.

"I just want everyone to know that I'm coming to Louisville," he said. "I'm real excited about my decision."

Inside The Ville would like to extend a very appreciative thank you to Mike Sullivan of for covering Derrick Caracter's press conference Thursday for us.

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