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Caracter Sent Home, May Not Return

I keep re-reading this story to make sure that it wasn't written in 2002 and that the player in question isn't Brandon Bender.

How could you not have seen this coming?

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has sent freshman center Derrick Caracter home and is not sure when or if he will return to the team.

"I'm giving Derrick a little Christmas break," Pitino said Friday. "I'm going to let him spend the Christmas holidays with his family. He's got multiple issues that need to be resolved."

Pitino would not go into specifics regarding those issues, but did say, "Since he's been here he has not practiced one time the way I want him to."

Pitino said Caracter wanted to rejoin the team, but the coach said he wasn't sure when or if that would happen.

"I didn't realize there would be this many obstacles to overcome," Pitino said. "Maybe he's better off to get a trainer and work toward getting ready for the NBA."

He's gone.

We've seen this song and dance before, and I can't see how there's any way that Derrick Caracter will play another game in a Louisville uniform.

We don't have any idea what DC did, but apparently it was serious enough that Pitino felt the need to send a message that may end up causing him to leave U of L for good even though the team probably needs him now more than ever with David Padgett's knee looking more and more like it's not going to be able to hold up. The blow is obviously an enormous one to the prospects of the rest of the season, but if he's really that much of a cancer then I guess we just have to say good riddance and move on like we did with Hurt and Bender in '02.

The second most important aspect of all of this is how it's going to affect the rumor-laden Earl Clark who considers Caracter his "Brother From Another Mother." Clark has already appeared visibly upset on the bench several times this season, and you have to wonder if his best friend's departure could ultimately be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Losing the two biggest prizes out of the four scholarship freshman would mean the demolition of yet another Pitino recruiting class.

Since Pitino took the reigns in '01, nine players have been either kicked off the team or have chosen to transfer. I'm not sure if this reflects bad recruiting, great discipline, an unfair system or what, all I know is that it isn't what we signed up for.

While I'm still holding out a little hope that DC has a good Christmas at home, gets his head on straight and comes back to campus determined to help this team do whatever it takes to turn things around, I just can't see it happening. Derrick Caracter shows all the signs of someone who will end up being a downtrodden, overweight 40-year-old before he realizes everything that he could have been.

This is bad for all parties involved.