Karcher banks future on NBA; Temple forward has unclear draft standing


PHILADELPHIA -- The next few months will be anxious ones for Temple forward Mark Karcher.

After announcing yesterday that he is leaving school after his junior year to make himself eligible for the NBA draft, Karcher said he doesn't know exactly what his future will hold or in what round he might be drafted on June 28.

"Right now, nobody knows. You don't know who is coming out," said Karcher, a St. Frances graduate who was the Owls' leading scorer for the past two seasons. "There's still a couple more weeks until the deadline for guys to put their names in for the draft. I really don't know my situation. But I'm ready. I'm prepared to come forward."

His throat caught a few times during his announcement, but Karcher said he was having no second thoughts about going pro to support his family.

During the past season, he had been upfront about the fact that he has a son in Baltimore and a daughter in Philadelphia who has sickle-cell anemia, and said it was time to start paying some bills.

"There are things I have to do with my kids, my daughter, my son, and also [the rest of] my family," Karcher said. "It's been tough. But I feel as though right now is the time to go on, go to another level."

Regardless of the difficulty of the decision and the fact that he has not yet hired an agent, Karcher said there was no chance that he would change his mind in the next month and withdraw his name from the draft.

Owls coach John Chaney said he would back Karcher's call.

"We will continue to support him," Chaney said. "He's someone that I love very much. He's touched every base. He's made this decision, and we will honor it."

There is no consensus among scouts on where Karcher will go in the draft. He could sneak into the first round, where he would have a guaranteed salary for four years, or, more likely, go in the second round, where there are no guarantees. Karcher presumably will be at the NBA's pre-draft camp in Chicago in June.

When asked about the worst-case scenario -- if he didn't make any NBA roster -- Karcher said he wasn't ready to discuss options such as playing in a minor league here or going overseas. "I'm going to wait until that day comes," he said. "There are a lot of things I have to take care of right now before I look overseas. That's not my goal right now."

NBA scouts apparently like Karcher's skill level and appreciate how hard he battles. They know he lost 30 pounds before last season to get in better shape.

But some scouts also noted that while he got himself aerobically fit, the weight loss didn't seem to give him the kind of burst that most NBA shooting guards have -- and shooting guard is the position Karcher probably would have to play to stick in the league.

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