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Rick Pitino on Derrick Caracter: The most brutally honest press conference ever Login/Join
This press conference took place back in December. Since then, Derrick Caracter has averaged 8.5pts and 4.6 rebs per game.

Louisville is currently in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, facing off against # 1 seed North Carolina tomorrow.

Caracter just announced that he's leaving Louisville, and entering the NBA draft in June. The fact that he'd announce that the night before the biggest game of the year for his team, says alot about this kid's "Caracter" (pun intended) and how selfish he is.

The sad part about this situation is that he's most likely gonna go undrafted in June, and even if he wanted to return to school, Pitino and his teammates probably don't want him back.

This press conference transcript has an almost train wreck like quality to it.

You've been warned.

Pitino on Caracter

Here's the transcript from Rick Pitino's press conference today. I'm running it in full because I think it's fascinating. Many programs would have just put out a news release and not given any details. Not Pitino. He got out in front of this story, cutting out any speculation or rumors about what's going on.

Here's what he had to say:

"We thought about just sending out a release or just talk about it. But what happens sometimes is things get exaggerated.

Derrick Caracter has once again been suspended indefinitely by the team. And I say by the team because it is really not by me, it is by the team.

It's been two years of very difficult times trying to change this young man. And the reason we have taken so much time in trying to change him is because we love his Mom and we thought he was very much worth the change, not so much as a basketball player, but if he didn't change he has no chance of making it in life, never mind basketball. But it is a fight. It is a fight all the way to get him to change his ways.
Putting all basketball aside, basically what precipitated all this was - from the summer to mid-November he's been on dormitory arrest. He basically doesn't go out. He's under curfew and we put a lot of things in place so he could succeed and not fail. And then he slipped up once again.

He was not going to play in the Dayton game. I was 100 percent for sure not going to play him. It is going to be a while before he steps foot on the basketball court, but the team asked me to override it because we couldn't win without him. We didn't have any size and we didn't have any players so we couldn't win without him, and so we made him sign a contract as we have done in the past, that he has to do the following things in order to stay on this basketball team. He got the team to agree to it.
One of them was very minor. It was just a curfew, seven days a week in the dormitory. And he decided after the game to break it the first night after he signed the contract. He broke it twice the night he after he signed the contract. Twice. Now I had no choice.

The sad thing about it all is he knows how much the team went to bat for him, and he also know how much he is needed because (this team) is already short-handed.

With that in mind I would rather play with walk-ons rather than sacrifice anything more. That is the situation. It is unfortunate.

Young people today, it is just very, very difficult. What I am seeing today, somewhere along the way these young guys have just got to get it. We see it today with a guy like Michael Vick going to jail for two years. He had everything going for him, and he was on the top of the world. Somewhere along the way, if their lifestyle is not altered, if something does not change then these same sad results are going to occur.

That is what we have to do as teachers, as coaches and as parents. We have got to try to alter these lifestyles. We are going to try our best. I am not sure of great success, but we are going to give it our best shot to make sure the right things are done for the young men in our program.

(Q: Can he earn his way back?)

Yes, he can, but I think the easiest thing on that contract was the curfew and if you break it the first night, it is very difficult. And the other thing is - I found out and got very upset at one of my assistant coaches. One of the things is that he has to get up in the morning, early in the morning and be responsible for certain actions, we are also making him do community service. And we were waking him up, and it was difficult. And what good is that?

What good is it if we are waking him up every day? What are you teaching him? He knows how to work an alarm clock and he knows how to get up, and so that was very upsetting. I had to remedy that situation as well.

(The suspension) is going to be a while. It is going to be a while because he needs to make dramatic changes in his life. He has improved, but I have never seen anyone so far behind in the game of life. I've coached a lot of difficult young men from difficult backgrounds, but Derrick is a special case and we have to make sure we are responsible for his welfare.

(Q: Is he practicing?)
No, he won't be practicing with the team. He'll be working out on his own at the SAC every morning with the rest of the students and he'll be going through some individual instruction in the evening with one of the assistant coaches. But the team right now feels - it is not just Derrick - we have a very difficult group of young men to coach in everh regard. We have got to come together. We have a very difficult schedule, and we've had a lot of adversity.

We need all our fans to get 100 percent behind us because we have the fight of our life ahead of us. Not the type of fans we had last year when we were struggling or the football fans, we need the real fans to get behind us and fight with us. We are going to give it everything we have to fight through this.

My first year at Kentucky was one of the most popular teams in their history and we were undersized and our backs were to the wall, but we had very good experience, we had tough kids and we've got to develop that same attitude now because we're going to have to fight this one out.

We are going to have to fight this one out. We have to get guys learning new positions, and go through as if it is October 15th again. We are going to play some interesting lineups, and we need the people behind us starting Saturday. We are certainly not going to give up. We are going to fight as if our basketball life was at stake.

We had to do it last year and we came through. We just don't expect to have to do it before Christmas. We will fight this out and become a very close team and we've got to work on that now. We are going to put in measures so that everybody - Edgar Sosa understands that this is about total team, not about whether or not his jumpshot falls. There has got to be a lot of changes in a lot of different areas. Unfortunately we've got to do what is right for Derrick Caracter the person.

(Q: Will he stay in the dorm?)
He won't be second semester. He won't be in the dorm the second semester. He'll be in the regular student dormitory.

Last year somewhere in January I'd had enough because I'm concentrating so much time and energy into non-basketball-related things and we have a lot of basketball work ahead. I'm not Father Flanagan. I try to do the best I can, like any coach would, for young people, but responsibility and discipline is something. . .he just hurt our basketball team and they went to bat for him. He couldn't even go one day. He is making strides. I never knew when I recruited him that he would be this far behind, not basketball-wise, but personally. But his mom's a wonderful woman and we're going to continue to do everything we can to help him because he's got no chance of making it unless he makes it here. I know that for a fact.

He knows right from wrong. He just chooses wrong all the time.

After the game he had a 9 o'clock curfew and he broke it. Came in at 10, we asked him why, he had no excuse, he was going to be disciplined and then he snuck back out at 11:40.

The problem is, Derrick is not a small man and when you leave Minardi Hall we know exactly what time you're leaving. So he basically decided, 'I'm just going out and I'll suffer the consequences.'

(Q: Was he contrite?)

Of course, but he thinks that because we need him we're not going to do anything about it. See, I don't believe in suspensions. You get up, you run, you pay a price, you pay the penalty, you do it for a period of time, but you're going to pay a physical price and a social price for what you do wrong. That's the way I've always handled it since I've been a coach. But in this regard, when you're so blatant about what you're doing. . .he's got to learn to make the right choices in life. And some of the choices he's made are very serious in nature; we're not talking about curfew, which is a minor thing when dealing with him. It's other things and we all go through it with our children. But you as a parent can't say, 'Okay sweetie, next time don't do it again.' That's what's being done too much today, 'Don't do it again sweetie, I love you, here, have 10 more dollars.' You can't do that.

I spent two years at Providence, eight years at Kentucky, five years at Boston University and I have had more problems in a year and a half than all of those combined. So the question is, we have to make sure that we get the right type of person in here. We knew we were getting some problems with Derrick Caracter, but we thought we could make a difference in his life. We still believe we can because we do the right things.

The tough part about that is the NCAA, when I first started coaching I could see you play 25 times. I could get to know your family, I could get to know everything about you. Now they put such restrictions on you, from how many times you visit, how many times you watch them play, you really can't be sure of anything in recruiting, anything at all. But we've got to do a better job in a lot of different areas.

With that being said, we've got a lot of quality young people go through here. And I will say this, we've made great strides in developing Earl Clark, we've made great stides in making a difference in Edgar Sosa's life. And both of those young men have had issues we've had to overcome the past two years, and I think some day they will leave here much different people than when they came in. So we're having great success with them, but we're not having the success we need to have with Derrick.

We're just going to have to grind this one out. It wouldn't be as bad. . .none of us are happy about losing to Dayton. Miami of Ohio could have beaten us, Purdue could drill us. I made the schedule, we have a lot of adversity, but it's been that way for two years now. It's been a tough struggle.

We've got to roll up our sleeves, we've got double sessions every day. Once we get through exams tomorrow we have unlimited time. We've got to do everything over. We've got to get T-Will to play power forward, Earl Clark to play the five spot, we've got to play a bunch of small lineups. We've got to do a lot off different things defensively. We don't have that true low post presence anymore with Padgett and DC both gone, so we've got to alter certain things.

(Q: Fracture within the team)

No, it's not a fracture. We all love him. There's nothing off the court all of us would not do for him, but he let the guys down and they ask for him to play on Saturday. I went against mine and Walter McCarty's. . .we don't believe in that and we let the team decide. David made a good point, he said, 'Look coach, it's our future too, it's Tello's future, it's Farley's future, it's T-Will's future and we'll never have the opportunity to play in the (NCAA) Tournament if you don't play him. So that's why we did the contract and tried to meet him halfway, but it was broken right away. The players are upset because their future is at stake as well.

I talked about it with (the players) individually because they asked me to play him and I said, I want you guys to think about it, and it just didn't work out. Before he leaves here, tho, I want him to have the best opportunity in life to make it.

(Q: How many chances does DC get?)

Here's the way I look at it. I treat these guys, I don't want to get corny on you, my son's right there, Ryan. I treat these guys just like him. If he keeps on doing the wrong thing, I'm not throwing him out on the street, I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to let him play basketball, but he's still my son and if I made a mistake in recruiting (DC) it's my mistake, but he's still my player. So I'm going to stick by him 100 percent all the way until his time is up and then we'll go forward from there and try to just do the right things. You don't abandon people, you stick by people, but you do the right thing from your principles. You can't do the wrong thing from a principle standpoint.

I think (David Padgett) should play now. (Laughs) I think David is fine, I think it's a small fracture.

The only positive thing I can get out of any of this is the year we went to the Final Four we had seven players we played with. Otis George was the seventh and he had a stress fracture. We've had adverse situations -- this is probably the worst because of the schedule situation. Sometimes you can get by because you're just as talented as the other teams you're playing, but that's not the case anymore because of the schedule we made. The Big East, in looking at us, we were picked very high, so we're going to play Connecticut, Pitt, Georgetown, Marquette all on the road, besides the other teams we have to play. It's just part of it right now. We've had a lot of adversity in our program the last few years; this year we've spent more time with off-the-court issues than ever before, but we hope we'll come out stronger because of it.

I love what I do, but I wouldn't be honest with you if I didn't say I would really rather concentrate on developing up and under moves, on developing ball fakes, our offense and our defense and I'm spending so much time on other issues. It's just something we've got to get through right now.
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