Two Union County Residents Are Turning Pro

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By Jim Whelan

Earl Clark of Rahway and Derrick Caractor of Scotch Plains/ St. Patrick will forego their last two years college eligibility and enter into the NBA draft.

Clark average 11 points per game and 8 rebounds per game during his sophomore year at Louisville. A standout player at Rahway High School, Clark led the school to its first sectional championship in ten years by beating Weeqhuaic High School. He had 41 points in the contest. A four year starter for Rahway, Clark was selected 1st Team All State and 2006 McDonalds All American. Clark averaged 25.2 points his senior year and finished with 1,252 for his career.

Clark worked his way into the Cardinals starting lineup. In the Elite Eight loss to North Carolina, Clark had 12 points and was called for traveling three times late in the game. Louisville Basketball Coach Pitino was quoted “We wish nothing but the best for him.” Clark was coming off a good NCAA tournament and most NBA analysts think he is middle to late first round pick.

During Caractor’s freshmen year at St. Patrick High School in 2003, the Celtics won both T of C championship team and parochial B champ. Caractor, who resides in Fanwood, later transferred to Scotch Plains/Fanwood High School for his sophomore year only to return to St. Pat’s his junior year. Caractor, average 15 points per game, 11 rebounds per game and 4 blocks per game and led the Celtics to another State Championship in 2005 and returned to the T of C finals against only to lose to Seton Hall Prep. Caractor scored 24 points in the loss and was 1st Team All State.

Caractor left St. Pat’s after his junior year and attended Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts. Caractor went on to Louisville. The power forward has natural talent, but the knock was he was “unmotivated” after his early success that he had at very young age and weighed over 300 pounds.

While at Louisville, Caractor’s mother gave him an application to McDonald’s restaurant during his freshmen year with the Cardinals after some lackluster play and a suspension for violating team rules. Caractor went onto to be stellar after that, averaging ten points per game and dropping 45 pounds to a 265 frame.

Caractor six points in the NCAA tournament and did receive significant minutes in Louisville’s loss to North Carolina in the Elite Eight. Caractor started 12 games this year. The 6’9 Caractor is projected as a late second round pick. He will most likely end up on NBA team to develop him or in Europe.

The NBA Draft will be held at Madison Square Garden on June 26.


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