While Pitino expressed doubt that he'd allow Caracter to return next season he didn't seem to completely rule out the possibility either.
Or did he?
When asked if there was a possibility Caracter could return next season, Pitino said, "I doubt it. Obviously he wants to come back but that's not in his best interest. His best interest right now is to proceed with trying to become a second round draft pick and trying to make it at the next level."
The current plan appears simple. The 6-9, 265-pound Caracter will go through the NBA Draft process, work out for teams in Orlando later this summer and find out where he stacks up in the 2008 NBA Draft.
going through the draft process.
"The most important thing for him is to get into those camps find out where he is at as a basketball player and get a good measuring stick of his ability against other players all very hungry to make it," said Pitino.
After stating his intentions during Louisville's NCAA Tournament run to the Elite Eight to declare for the NBA Draft, Pitino said Caracter has since approached him about returning to the Cardinals next year.
"He has but that's not in the cards for him right now and it's not in his best interest as well as our best interest," Pitino said. "His best interest is to pursue trying to become a second round pick. Too much has happened for him to turn around now. He really needs to find out where he's at in his basketball life."
Pitino said Caracter did not receive an invitation to the prestigious Orlando pre-draft camp. Instead, Caracter will travel south to work out individually for NBA teams so they can evaluate his draft readiness.
"The way it works is he'll go work out for teams," Pitino said. "He'll work out with teams for an hour and half and they give them mental tests and speak to them one on one. It's like the basketball version of a combine. And they find how you're willing to compete in certain situations, how you guard, your footwork and strength. And he'll get a lot of questions answered at that time. That's what he needs to do."
The big question Caracter needs answering from pro scouts and GM's?
"Can he be a second round draft pick, where does he stand and how good is he in comparison to the competition," Pitino said. "He needs to go out and find out the truth in the real world and not have me tell him. He needs to find out reality."
So the question for Pitino if Caracter isn't projected as a second round draft pick is would he reconsider his position and allow Caracter to return next season?
"My plan is to see him get on to the NBA or Europe and move on in his life," Pitino said. "He has a change of heart right now but he's had two years to show that he wants to be a student and he hasn't shown that."
Pitino did credit Caracter with maintaining his weight this season.
"I think he's been looking in the mirror and conning himself for a long, long time and now he's got to go out there and find out what the real world is like," Pitino said. "I support his decision right now to move on."
Caracter remains enrolled as a student at Louisville. "He's going to class and maintaining his eligibility," said Pitino.
Pitino also said Caracter has not hired an agent.
"He thinks there's a crack that I will let him back – he thinks I'm soft inside," Pitino said. "I can tell from his text messages every day that he thinks I'm a softie."