A Q&A with one of the top players in the country

Reporter Russ Blake spent some time interviewing one of the country's top players -- Derrick Caracter of St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Reporter Russ Blake spent some time interviewing one of the country's top players -- Derrick Caracter of St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Caracter is widely considered one of the better players in the 2006 class. Here is Blake's question and answer session:

  Russ Blake: When did you knock it down to the final two, Louisville and Memphis?

  Derrick Caracter: It was pretty much right before the ABCD Camp that I decided to knock it down to two and eliminate everyone else. I started making unofficials to Memphis and Louisville and decide through that.

  Russ Blake: Did you go to camps at both schools?

  Derrick Caracter: Yeah, I went to camps at both schools and then I took another unofficial to Louisville this past weekend. I was going to take an unofficial visit to Memphis this upcoming weekend (Aug. 26-28), but I was just like, let's get this over with.

  Russ Blake: So what made you skip that?

  Derrick Caracter: Just the relationship that I had with the Louisville coaches  -- it's ridiculous. So I was like, it makes no sense to try and start a relationship with these guys [Memphis]. They didn't make that much of an effort.

  Russ Blake: I know your mom accompanied you on the visit to Louisville. How much of a role did that play in your decision?

  Derrick Caracter: She came with me to Louisville and enjoyed it. She enjoyed the people. Like she said before, the cab driver that picked us up at the airport was telling us how great Louisville was as a city.

  Russ Blake: Did your uncle come, too?

  Derrick Caracter: My uncle Rusty came as well, that was big. He left his wife and newborn daughter to come out there with me. He had a real comfort zone with Coach Pitino.

  Russ Blake: Why not Seton Hall or Rutgers?

  Derrick Caracter: I was talking to Lance [Thomas] and Earl [Clark], that it's cool to play in your own backyard and stuff like that. Especially with a guy like [Richmond transfer] Courtney Nelson coming back to Rutgers. That would have been big, but at the same time, with Earl and Lance being so big, that's like three of the best of each world -- Lance is at a prep school, I am at a Catholic school and Earl is at a public school. I think it would have been too many distractions from all different directions. Hopefully, we won't all split up and go to different colleges.

  Russ Blake: Who did you have a closer relationship with, Seton Hall or Rutgers?

  Derrick Caracter: I would say Rutgers. Fred Hill was pretty close. I have friends over there at Rutgers, like Quincy Douby. I also have friends at Seton Hall like Grant Billmeier and Brian Laing. It made both difficult.

  Russ Blake: Can you talk about Rick Pitino as a motivator, because during the press conference, your coach, Kevin Boyle, indicated that Derrick Caracter is the only one who can stop Derrick Caracter -- that you can only keep you from becoming a great college or a great pro player.

  Derrick Caracter: You look at a guy he coached like Jamal Mashburn. He had a really solid two or three years in the league and became worth 80 or 90 million. Any guy with that resume is worth playing for, and I think he will get me to the next level. If not the next level, I know that with Pitino, I will be successful with something, regardless if I have to do four years and work under him or something. He will take care of me. That's what my mom and them really liked about Louisville and Pitino.


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