Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Conference USA Happy to See Calipari Leave?

If John Calipari's good friend Tony Barbee is happy to see the former Memphis coach leave Conference USA, one can only assume the league's other coaches are ecstatic. Jeff Goodman reports in his blog that Barbee, the coach at UTEP, isn't shedding any tears now that his mentor has left the conference.

"Those Memphis teams have been so good the last four or five years that it actually hurt our league,” Barbee said. "There were some really good teams in our league outside of Memphis. Tulsa should have been in the NCAA tournament last season with 24 wins, but they didn’t even get a sniff.”

Barbee said the league has opened up with the departure of Calipari to Kentucky.

"No doubt,” he admitted. "It was hard for anyone to overcome that {Memphis}.”

Update on Former Louisville Cardinal Derrick Caracter

Goodman also spoke to Barbee about his current UTEP team, including former Louisville Cardinal Derrick Caracter.

Caracter is still in El Paso after transferring in the middle of last season.

Barbee said that Caracter practiced with the team the second semester and hasn’t been a problem thus far.

"I have a lot of respect for the kid because with all the hype, he could have just packed his bags and gone overseas and made $100,000 or whatever,” Barbee said. "But he doesn’t want to go down that road. He wants to prove everyone wrong.”

Caracter, who has a year and a half of eligibility left, has dropped weight and is down to around 300 pounds. Ultimately, he needs to get down to around 275.

Barbee said he bikes to school from his off-campus apartment every day.

Goodman's Article

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