Dallas Mavericks: Luke Harangody

Could Mavs help Caracter build character?

June, 23, 2010
6/23/10
11:52
AM CT
NBA draft prospect Derrick Caracter should have been born with an 'h' in his last name because he's been quite the character in a long, strange journey to the NBA draft.

Since the eighth grade, UTEP's 6-9, 280-pound power forward started seeing his name in lights and by the time he got to Louisville and coach Rick Pitino, Caracter was blinded by the glare.

"Going into my eighth grade year, they ranked me No. 1 (prospect in the nation)," Caracter told the El Paso Times during the season. "I stayed No. 1 until my junior year. That's when I let everything get into my head. I got cocky; big headed. I didn't work out too good and I got heavy. Even then, though, Lebron James was ranked No. 1 and they had me at No. 5."

Heading into Thursday's NBA draft, Caracter will be lucky if he's any better than No. 50, as in the 50th overall pick. That's where the Dallas Mavericks select barring a move up.

Caracter lasted two miserable seasons at Louisville at which point Pitino kicked him off the team. Pitino, who once compared Caracter to the Round Mound of Rebounds himself -- Charles Barkley -- bid Caracter adieu by calling him a thorn in his side.

So the New Jersey native headed farther west to UTEP. After sitting out a year to satisfy transfer rules, Caracter seems to have delved deep into his character, realizing a lucrative pro career hung in the balance. The junior averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds in leading the Miners to the regular-season Conference-USA title.

Caracter is remarkably agile and athletic for such a large man. He was a force for UTEP down low, but could also step out and sink a floating jump shot, not unlike the Boston Celtics' 6-9, 289-pound Glen "Big Baby" Davis (although Caracater is a better rebounder). The Mavs passed up on Davis, a second-rounder who is now an integral reserve in Boston, a couple of years ago.

Although the Mavs say they draft the best player and not by need that late in the second round, Caracter would fill a need at power forward behind Dirk Nowitzki and health-risk Eduardo Najera. The Mavs need rebounding help and scoring punch on the low blocks.

San Antonio relished its selection last summer of another low-center-of-gravity load in 6-7, 265-pound center DeJuan Blair. Blair averaged 7.8 points and 6.4 rebounds as a rookie. The Mavs passed on him in the second round, too.

Caracter, seemingly having added a dash of maturity and humility, could be one of the draft's sleepers at No. 50.

Other big men who could be available at No. 50:
Dexter Pittman, Texas
Brian Zoubek, Duke
Luke Harangody, Notre Dame
Jerome Jordan, Tulsa
Hamady N'Diaye, Rutgers
Tiny Gallon, Oklahoma

No. 50 a gamble? Sure, but put chips in

June, 14, 2010
6/14/10
5:25
PM CT
We all know that Manu Ginobili, drafted 57th overall in 1999, is one of the great late second-round selections ever.

They don't happen often. And that's not to say that the Dallas Mavericks, who won't pick until No. 50 in the June 24 NBA draft, can't find the next Manu.

This is a deep draft that will produce recognizable names from the college ranks late in the second round.

"You're going to find some gems in the second round, deep in the second round," NBA director of scouting Ryan Blake said.

Would the Mavs be thrilled if Notre Dame's Luke Harangody fell in their lap? Or UTEP's Derrick Caracter? Other big men that could be left on the board include Duke's Brian Zoubek, Louisville's Samardo Samuels and Clemson's Trevor Booker.

The Mavs begin bringing in draft prospects today, a process that will continue into next week leading into the draft. Workouts will help vice president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson and staff put their board in order.

Two under 6-foot guards who will be in for workouts are California's Jerome Randle and South Carolina's Devan Downey. The Mavs could be looking for another backup point guard if J.J. Barea is used in a trade.

But, what if Kansas' Sherron Collins is available? Or Alabama's Mikhail Torrance or Mississippi's Terrico White?

Will some prospects be gone well before No. 50? Absolutely. Could some fall beyond No. 50. Absolutely.

"This is one of the deepest [drafts] and it's going to be a strange kind of draft because ... it's kind of this is a beauty-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder-cliché daft," Blake said. "Really, that's the way it's going to be."

Mavs to start working out draft prospects

June, 8, 2010
6/08/10
9:36
AM CT
Around the league, draft prospects are visiting teams and being put through final workouts as clubs put the finishing touhes on their draft boards. The NBA Draft is June 24.

The Dallas Mavericks have their evaluation work cut out for them since they won't pick -- barring a move into the first round -- until the 50th selection rolls around (the New Jersey Nets own the Mavs' 27th pick as the final part of the Jason Kidd trade).

The Mavs will bring in their first crop of prospects on June 15-18 and then another crop on June 21-22. About four to six players are expected to work out each day.

This year's draft class is considered to be deep and could possibly net the Mavs a player that can contribute now -- a rarity for a pick that late in the second round.

Next week, I'll begin a series looking at players that could be available when the Mavs select at No. 50. But, here's one name that falls somewhat in the DeJuan Blair (37th pick)/Glen "Big Baby" Davis (35th) mold -- two players the Mavs passed on -- a thick power forward without great length or hops, who is projected as a second-round pick, but has some scouts wondering if he couldn't be a career 10-and-10 guy who should be considered a first-round selection: Notre Dame's Luke Harangody.

Yes, although Blair and Davis slid, they were still off the board well before the Mavs will pick, but in this draft, it appears there are no guarantees. Harangody could go 25th as easily as he could go 50th.

It will be a busy two weeks for the Mavs' evaluators.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Monta Ellis
PTS AST STL MIN
19.1 4.2 1.9 33.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 11.4
AssistsR. Rondo 6.4
StealsM. Ellis 1.9
BlocksT. Chandler 1.2