The Los Angeles Lakers selected Fanwood native Derrick Caracter in the second round of the NBA draft on Thursday, picking him 58th overall.
At 6-feet-9-inches and 275 pounds, Caracter was a potent forward for the University of Texas El Paso during the 2009-2010 season. He averaged 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. He was named a second team All-Conference USA player and a first team All-District pick by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. And according to a press release distributed by the university, he led the team in scoring eight times and in rebounding 19 times.
"He's so skilled at his size," Tony Barbee, then the head coach at the University of Texas El Paso, said in a phone interview. "He moves like a guard, but he's also vertical, he gets off the floor. He uses both hands effortlessly.... He's got a great basketball instinct and a great basketball mind."
Caracter's versatility, Barbee said, will make him an asset to the Lakers. "He will fit into the Lakers' triangle offense perfectly," he said. "He can play from 21 feet, just as well as he can play from five feet." Barbee now coaches at Auburn University.
More to come next week on this developing story. Stay tuned.