Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Former Plainfield (N.J.) High School basketball coach Pete Vasil spent part of his day giving advice to Derrick Caracter.
“I walk in to speak today (at the Summer Heatt Basketball Camp at Midland Park High School), and as I walk in there’s Derrick Caracter,” said Vasil, who recently stepped down after posting a 62-20 record during his career at Plainfield. “We’re talking about Union County basketball, when he was at Scotch-Plains and (Louisville’s) Earl Clark was at Rahway. We talked about the last four or five years in Union County.
“And I told him it’s a good thing that Coach (Rick) Pitino is giving you the opportunity to stay in school and make good on it.”
In a story broken last week by ZAGSBLOG, it was reported that Pitino offered the 6-foot-9 Caracter a chance to return to the Louisville team for the 2009-10 season assuming he met various conditions, including getting a job and meeting his academic and physical requirements.
“He will have to measure up in three areas – as a student, as a person and as a basketball player – before I will entertain the possibility of him returning to our team for the 2009-10 season,” Pitino said. “We expect him to get a job, pay for school on his own, get in shape and abide by the other steps I have reviewed with him. If he measures up, then he can earn his way back. But that remains to be seen.”
Vasil said Caracter asked him for his advice about his future, and conceded that he had considered transferring to be closer to home. Big East rules prevent him from transferring within the conference, so no Seton Hall, Rutgers or St. John’s.
“Coach, what’s your advice?” Vasil quoted Caracter as asking.
“I told him, ‘My advice to you is, with Pitino being a coaching legend, if he’s going to give you that opportunity, then you better make it work. You better make good on it.
“You’re hungry, right? You’re hungry to make an impact? Your last two years at Louisville and the NCAA Tournament and the Big East and hopefully the NBA, so if you have it in you, you’ve got to make it work. You’ve got to take that last opportunity he’s given you.
“He was agreeing, he was listening.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.