6'9 Caracter continues battle of the bulge

If Derrick Caracter intends to play in Louisville's first exhibition game in two weeks against Georgetown College, the 6'9 freshman forward will have to meet some strict weight requirements Rick Pitino has established for him.

Last Friday, Louisville freshman Derrick Caracter had his eligibility restored by the NCAA. The 6'9 power forward will have to serve a three-game suspension for accepting gifts from a family friend, but if he intends to lace them up for Rick Pitino he'll have to continue his battle of the bulge.

Caracter, one of the most talented newcomers in college basketball this season, arrived at U of L this summer weighing nearly 320-pounds. That didn't sit well with Pitino, who established some firm guidelines that Caracter had to meet in order to set foot on the court this winter.

With Louisville only two weeks away from tipping off the 2006-07 season at home against Georgetown College, Caracter has his work cut out if he intends to play in that exhibition game.

"He was supposed to come in at 285, but was way past that goal," Pitino said Monday on his website, RickPitino.com. "He is now at 283 with 13% body fat, (but) it's been a struggle trying to get him under the 10% body fat."

Getting under 10 percent body fat and dropping 10 more pounds during the next two weeks will determine whether or not Caracter plays in Louisville's first exhibition game of the season.

"He was suspended as we all know for three games by the NCAA," Pitino said. "He will not play in our exhibition game unless we can get him to 10% body fat and 275 pounds. We expect him to be 265 to 268 by the beginning of the season or he will be sitting out more games than the NCAA has mandated."

If Pitino can whip Caracter, whom he called a "project," into shape, Louisville might have a force to be reckoned with in the paint.

"He has ten years of bad habits to break on and off of the court but if he ever gets it and breaks those bad habits he will be one of the most exciting freshmen in the country," said Pitino. "But that is a big if."

Pitino said David Padgett has returned to
action but is going just 5 percent
of practice.

Other Notes From RickPitino.com
The most heated battle in practice appears to be for the starting point guard job between sophomore Andre McGee and freshman Edgar Sosa. "Who will start between the two, I have no idea at this point," Pitino wrote. "One day Andre looks great the next day Edgar looks terrific. They are having quiet a competition and it's brings out the best in each of them."

Freshman forward Earl Clark has been slowed by a stress fracture in his foot. The 6'8 forward appears to be coming along fine and should resume practicing with the team very soon. "(He) should be ready to go at the end of this week," Pitino said.

Pitino said freshman guard Jerry Smith will miss three or four days of practice because of an eye injury sustained during practice Saturday.

Rick Pitino will provide weekly practice reports on his website, RickPitino.com.

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