Louisville Locks Up Juco Big Man

The Louisville Cardinals have added a significant piece to their 2002 recruiting effort. Their latest commitment comes in the form of a 6-9 junior college standout who once helped lead the New Orleans Jazz to the 1999 adidas Big Time championship.

Dartez Is Done For The Cardinals

Rick Pitino and his staff have done it again. This time, they've added a big man to the 2002 recruiting class. Kendall Dartez, a 6-9 post player from Cecilia, La., is headed to the Cardinals.

"Kendall realized that he had the chance to play for a great coach in Rick Pitino,'' said Byron Pitre, Dartez's cousin and advisor throughout his recruitment. "[U of L assistant] Mick Cronin has been recruiting Kendall for three years. He started when he was an assistant at Cincinnati, and they wanted him to come and fill the shoes of Kenyon Martin."

Dartez, also a standout wide receiver in high school, failed to qualify and attended junior college at Lee in Texas last season. This year, he's playing for Vincennes University.

To most casual recruitniks, Dartez is not a household name and for good reason. He played in limited events with the New Orleans Jazz in 1999. However, at the 1999 Big Time in Las Vegas, he was an integral part of the Jazz's run to the championship. A tremendous athlete, Dartez projects to be an impact shot blocker with an extremely nice touch around the basket. In reality, despite his limited exposure, he was ranked by at least one recruiting publication as a Top 30 member of his high school class.

He's expected to come in and be able to play a significant role for the Cardinals who no doubt will welcome a big man of his size and skill level.

Need further convincing? UConn, Mississippi State, Miami and LSU were courting Dartez prior to his commitment to Louisville on Wednesday. He'll join combo guard Taquan Dean and swingman Francisco Garcia in the current U of L class. Louisville continues to recruit PF Sean May and center Keith Butler, among others.

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