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Derrick Caracter optimistic the Lakers will re-sign him

September 14, 2011 | 12:26 pm

6a00d8341c506253ef0147e4418d4a970b-800wiHe averaged only two points on 48.5% shooting in 5.2 minutes a game his rookie season, and admitted lacking the necessary conditioning and preparation to excel in the NBA. Yet, Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter remains optimistic the Lakers will exercise their $788,872 option to keep him next season.

"I’m pretty confident that they’ll pick it up based on our conversations [in my exit interview]," Caracter said in a phone interview. "If they don’t, I’m still Derrick Caracter and the basketball player I’m trying to be. My goal in trying to get better doesn’t change."

That's why Dan Barto, the IMG Basketball Academy's pro/college training coordinator who has worked with Caracter for the last three summers, views his stint with the Impact Basketball Academy league in Las Vegas as particularly important in showing he can defend, rebound consistently and finish in the post.

Good performances could wipe away the only lasting image of Caracter this summer in which Houston Rockets forward Terrence Williams posterized Caracter early August at a charity game in Louisville.

"I came late, but that’s how I block shots," Caracter said. "I don’t jump because I’m not a high crazy jumper. I usually jump later when he gets a little closer to the rim so I can time it. I tried to catch him before he got the ball, but he got me." 

Good performances would validate the work Barto spent with Caracter to avoid committing fouls and improve his post presence so he receives more paint touches.

"He has to go to show people he’s conditioned and ready to play hard in this lockout league," said Barto, who said Caracter currently weighs 270 pounds. 

Good performances could also help wipe away the stain of getting arrested during the playoffs at a New Orleans IHOP when he was detained and booked in connection with charges of battery, public intoxication and resisting arrest, an incident Caracter declined to say whether there's any resolution on the case.  

Said Caracter: "It’s most important for me to prove I’m an NBA basketball player and I’m here to stay." 


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--Mark Medina

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Photo: Lakers backup center Derrick Caracter. Credit: Wally Skallij / Los Angeles Times