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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, July 19, 2003

Ex-'Bow English signs with Pacers

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Somehow, someway, Carl English always seems to prevail.

He came through again yesterday, signing a guaranteed two-year contract with the NBA's Indiana Pacers.

"People who know me know that I never give up no matter what the situation," said English, the former University of Hawai'i standout. "Things weren't so good a couple weeks ago, but I kept fighting. I was confident this day would come one way or another."

English, a 6-foot-5 guard, declared for early entry into the NBA Draft after his junior season at UH. He was not selected in the two rounds of the June 26 draft.

"It was a learning experience," he said. "It knocked me down, but it didn't knock me out."

Earlier this month, he was invited to play on the Pacers' summer team. He has been practicing with the Pacers for the past week, and will play with an Indiana/Philadelphia split squad in the Rocky Mountain Revue, an NBA summer league scheduled to start tomorrow at Salt Lake City.

"I think it's very unusual for a free agent to get a guaranteed contract," said Harold Cipin, English's Toronto-based agent. "But Carl had his best workouts in Indianapolis, and the Pacers said all along that they were very impressed with Carl."

Cipin said the Pacers do not want financial terms of the contract released to the public.

But as an undrafted free agent, English will probably make close to $1 million over the two years of the contract. The NBA rookie minimum for the upcoming season will be around $367,000. The second year of the contract will likely be worth around $600,000.

"Just because he has a contract doesn't mean he can ease up," Cipin said. "The only guaranteed part is the salary. He still has to make the team and work his way into the lineup."

English is one of 16 players listed on the Indiana roster, although three (Tim Hardaway, Brad Miller and Reggie Miller) are free agents and could sign with another team. NBA rosters must be cut to 12 once the season starts in October. English and second-round draft pick James Jones are the only rookies on the Indiana roster.

As a member of the Pacers, English will get to work with Hall of Fame players Larry Bird and Isiah Thomas. Bird was named president of basketball operations last week; Thomas is the Pacers' head coach.

"It's a little overwhelming sometimes having both those guys watching over practice," English said. "But they've been real positive, and I've already learned some things from both of them."

According to Cipin, Bird was "enamored" with English's play during the practice sessions.

"Larry Bird said he loved the game that Carl brought to the court every day," Cipin said. "And if Larry Bird is impressed, you're doing something right."

English said he has been practicing at both the point guard and shooting guard positions.

"I'll play wherever they want me to play," he said.

English, 22, is the No. 7 scorer in UH history with 1,259 points. He led the team with 19.6 points per game last season and set a school single-season record with 89 3-pointers. He also graduated with a degree in liberal studies in May.

English's life story and journey from Patrick's Cove, Newfoundland, Canada, to UH have been well-documented nationally.

At UH, he became a bona fide star — one of the most popular players in the history of the program.

"I have to thank everybody in Hawai'i for supporting me through all the ups and downs," he said. "This is a dream come true for me and I'm going to try and make everybody proud."