The Temple basketball community lost an important citizen yesterday, as the two-time of a highly successful men’s team, Mark Karcher, declared himself eligible for June’s NBA Draft.
“This has been extremely difficult to do,” Karcher said. “I really think that I’m ready to declare myself for the NBA Draft, and forego my remaining seasons at Temple University.”
In has been widely speculated that financial difficulties have made Karcher’s decision to come out more critical. The junior has two children, including a daughter who is stricken with sickle cell anemia.
Karcher made his announcement in the media room on the Liacouras Center at 3:30 p.m. yesterday. The press conference was attended by dozens of media representatives. Scores of Karcher’s teammates, friends and family members were on hand as well, lending their support to his choice.
Karcher’s number-one supporter, coach John Chaney, accompanied the young man to the dais and spoke, teary-eyed, about his feelings for karcher, and those of the Temple program.
“It’s a tribute to our university and it’s a tribute to this young man and what he’s meant to this university,” Chaney said of the gathering of friends and family of Karcher, as well as media. “We’ve been very proud of him. We’ve been a family for many, many years and he’s a member of a great family.”
“He’s somebody that I love very much. He’s touched every base and we’ll honor that decision.”
In the 1999-00 season, Karcher led the team in several categories, including points (15.8 per game), field goals (5.6 per game), three point field goals (2.6 per game) and field goal attempts (7.3 per game). He was second on the team with a game average of 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals, as well as fourth with 4.6 rebounds.
What the Owls will definitely miss most about Karcher, however, is his scoring presence. In addition to being the leading scorer for Temple this past season, the native of Baltimore led the Owls with a 13.4 scoring average as a sophomore.
Karcher joins the annual exodus of underclassmen from the ranks of college basketball talent. Iowa State’s Marcus Fizer, St. John’s Erick Barkley and Cincinnati’s Demarr Johnson, among others, have all already declared themselves eligible for the draft, though they are not seniors.
Karcher is the latest, but he is not going to be the last. The deadline for underclassmen coming out is May 14, still weeks away.
Due to various factors, including The Owls early tournament exit and some surprise underclassman declarations, the odds that Karcher will be selected in the draft’s first round have grown very slim.
“Right now, nobody knows,” Karcher said. “You don’t know who’s coming out yet. I really don’t know my situation.”
The draft will take place on June 28 in Minneapolis. June 21 is the deadline for Karcher to change his mind and return to school, so long as he hasn’t signed with an agent.
“I don’t have an agent right now,” Karcher said yesterday.
In the event that Karcher does not sign with an agent and goes undrafted on June 28, he has 30 days to notify Temple that he’ll be returning to school.
But according to Karcher, none of those deliberations will be necessary.
Asked whether he would possibly reconsider his decision if he doesn’t like what he hears from teams and advisers leading up to the draft, Karcher simply said, “No.”
Due to a recent decision by the NCAA, Karcher would most likley have been able to play two more seasons in North Philly, since he surrendered his freshman year to academic ineligibility and he was reportedly handling his class responsibilities well.
The Owls will not completely miss out on the positive consequences of the NCAA decision, as senior guard Quincy Wadley will likely be back for another go round and sophomore forward Alex Wesby stand to get his lost freshman year back as well.
Wesby, a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Ben Franklin High School, will also probably benefit from Karcher’s departure most directly. As of right now, he stands to inherit Karcher’s small forward position in the starting five.