One-on-One: Derrick Caracter

With Big East play beginning tomorrow, Louisville (9-3) sophomore center Derrick Caracter talks about his team's readiness for rival Cincinnati.

Since his recent "indefinite" suspension, which lasted only one game, 6-foot-9 sophomore center Derrick Caracter has nearly averaged a double-double for the University of Louisville.

In the four games since his return from his suspension for violating an agreement he had signed, Caracter has averaged 12 points and 8.8 rebounds per game for the Cards. He's started the last two of those games, scoring 24 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. Those are the kind of numbers that many expected out of Caracter this season.


Saturday's game against Iona, a 67-36 UofL win, may have been Caracter's best all-around performance of the season. He recorded his first double-double (13 points and 11 rebounds) since his 24-point, 11-rebound game at UNLV on Nov. 21 and also blocked a career-high six shots.

Q: Quite a defensive effort today, can you talk about it? What's been the key of defensive improvement?

A: "Communicating out there and working each day. Communicating and active hands and having each others' backs on defense and I think it showed out there today."

Q: What was it like playing against Iona, and former UofL assistant coach Kevin Willard?

A: "Coach (Rick Pitino) let us know that if we lost today he was going to be upset. Kevin Willard is a coach who knows us inside and out and today we just wanted to execute better than them."

Q: Do you feel like this team is turning the corner?

A: "Definitely, I think it starts off in practice. Everybody's been bringing it every day in practice. We haven't had a day off. Sometimes guys' attitudes is not always there for the beginning of practice, but team leaders like David Padgett and Juan (Palacios) get everybody hyped up, ready to go hard and just ready for practice."

Q: What does the possibility of getting Padgett back do for this team?

A: "It helps us out tremendously. Just giving everybody a good rotation, a full roster and David is a terrific player and he helps us out a lot."

Q: Are you guys ready for the Big East?

A: "Definitely, definitely ready to get into the Big East. We've got Cincinnati coming up Tuesday and as long as we come out there and keep playing defense with a lot of pride and just communicating we'll be fine."

Q: Do you think these early injuries and growing pains, made this team stronger in the long run?

A: "Yes, it gives us a chance for DP and Tello to come back fully recovered. In the long run it just makes us deeper and healthier."


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