COLUMBIA — Former Missouri forward DeMarre Carroll earned the nickname "Junkyard Dog" for his blue-collar approach and relentless work ethic. Now he must convince NBA teams that a previously undisclosed liver disease won't keep him from being a pro.
Agent Mark Bartelstein confirmed Wednesday that Carroll, a first-team All-Big 12 pick and potential first-round draft selection, was diagnosed with a liver ailment "a couple of years ago." He downplayed the possibility that Carroll might eventually require a liver transplant.
"It's jumping the gun," said Bartelstein, a Chicago agent whose NBA clients include former Kansas star Brandon Rush and Eddie House of the Boston Celtics. "There's a possibility (of a transplant) way in the future, maybe 20 or 25 years down the road."
Carroll has been treated by Dr. Jeffrey Crippin of Washington University in St. Louis, a specialist in gastroenterology, liver disease and transplants. Crippin declined comment, referring questions to Carroll's agent.
Bartelstein said that Crippin is preparing a letter for NBA coaches, general managers and team doctors outlining Carroll's health before the June 25 draft.
Meanwhile, the 6-foot-8 forward continues to work out for interested teams. The Sacramento Kings watched him Monday and a session was planned for Wednesday with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He's expected to visit the Charlotte Bobcats later this week.
Bartelstein said that Carroll's breakout senior season — he averaged 16.6 points and 7.2 rebounds while leading the Tigers to a school-record 31 wins and an appearance in the NCAA West regional final — should put to rest any concern about his condition.
"You saw what kind of season he had last year," Bartelstein said. "He plays so hard. He's got a great energy level. And he's a lot more skilled than people realize. DeMarre will keep getting better."
The agent also represents former Missouri forward Leo Lyons. He said he expects Lyons, who has worked out for more than 10 teams so far, to be drafted in the second round.