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Derrick Caracter of the Los Angeles Lakers Speaks at Camp
Derrick Caracter

June 16, 2011

by: Michael Stagno, Auburn media relations

Derrick Caracter began his collegiate career at Louisville where he averaged 8.1 points and 3.9 rebounds in two seasons with the Cardinals. In 2009, he transferred to UTEP where he would go on to average 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds while earning Second Team All-Conference USA under then Head Coach Tony Barbee. In the 2009 NCAA Tournament, he had a breakout game in which he scored 20 points and collected nine rebounds against eventual NCAA Tournament runner-up Butler. He was then drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers.

It's "NBA Week" at the Tony Barbee Basketball Camp and as Derrick Caracter accepted an invitation to participate, he showed up to teach some skills to the kids and also to field questions from both campers and the media. Below is the transcript of the interview:

On accepting to play for Tony Barbee at UTEP ...
"It was big. I know he was an assistant coach coming out of Memphis and he was one of the guys that tried to recruit me coming out of high school. I found out that he accepted the job to coach at UTEP and it was a no decision."

On what it was like to play for Tony Barbee ...
"Considering that I had to sit out a year, he wasn't going to baby me and lay out the red carpet for me. Six months through the year, I paid my own way through school and that final year I went on scholarship. He gave me an opportuenity to go out there and show off my talents. We took care of business and went to the tournament and the rest is history."

On what was learned most under Tony Barbee ...
"He taught me to be myself, to just come out here and play the game. He is the best at doing that, helping players play to their strengths and get the job done."

On being drafted by the Lakers ...
"I was just excited to be in the NBA, and I happened to be picked by back-to-back NBA Champions. Just to accomplish a life-time goal was a great feeling."

On Lakers' assistant coach and former Auburn player, Chuck Person ...
"I didn't even know he played for Auburn until we sat down and had a talk about it. I heard Auburn had a strong tradition of good basketball, good basketball players and good coaches."

On having completed first season with the Lakers ...
"It was good. I'm just learning, living and continuing to get better."

On playing for legendary Head Coach Phil Jackson ...
"It was a great opportunity. I mean, it's Phil Jackson, you know? That's all you have to say. He taught me a lot about focusing, how to be a complete basketball player and understanding the fundamentals of the game."

On new Lakers' head coach, Mike Brown ...
"Defense, we're going to work on our defense. We got knocked out of the NBA Playoffs this year against the Mavericks so working on our defense is key. We're going to take it back to the drawing board and get it done."



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