The Skinny

Should Sebastian Telfair strike it rich in this summer's NBA Draft, is Chris Lofton the favorite to take the Coney Island native's scholarship?

Certainly Sebastian Telfair's decision last fall to sign a national letter of intent with the University of Louisville was a coup.

Because of his signing, U of L has now become recognized as one of the top destinations for the cream of the crop when it comes to high school talent. There's only a handful of schools in the country who can get involved with players who have lottery aspirations, Duke, Arizona, and North Carolina along with Louisville currently comprise that list.

But what happens if Telfair foregoes college for NBA riches this summer, which appears a near certainty at this point.

One thing is for sure, Rick Pitino and his staff never stop recruiting and always have contingency plans ready for any situation. That's why he and his staff discuss recruiting on a daily basis and why they get involved with and evaluate as many prospects as they do.

Just last week, U of L assistant coach Reggie Theus paid a visit to Mason County High School to watch 6'2 Chris Lofton in action. Lofton, one of the better shooters in the class, appears to have moven to the front of the line should Telfair strike it rich this spring. While he's not a point guard like Telfair, Lofton does provide something the current recruiting class lacks, and that's a knock down three point shooter. He'll need to improve his ability to make plays and continue to work on his handle but should he be the guy, the intagibles are there.

And of course there are other candidates in the backcourt like Cliff Clinkscales of Shores Christian, and Malik Hairston, among others. As for Hairston, people close to his recruitment in the Detroit area believe Ohio State probably holds the lead for his services and that's where he'll eventually wind up.

Pitino would also like to add 6'8 multi-skilled power forward Tello Palacios to this year's recruiting class. Theus was in Trenton, New Jersey over the weekend to make sure Palacios felt the love from the Cardinals. Florida State was also represented.

Palacios wants serious, immediate minutes in a program he feels can get him on the fast track to the NBA. Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Texas, and Florida State are in the mix and trying to get the talented forward on their respective campuses for an official visit this spring.

As for the junior class, one name to remember is Uche Echefu. Echefu is a 6'7, 230 forward from Montrose Christian in Rockville, Maryland. He's a big time athlete with upside and he's the type that would fit the pressing, uptempo style. He's certainly one to watch during the spring months.

Another thing that is easily apparent is that Louisville is going to be a major player with the top prospects in the New York area for the foreseeable future. 6'9 sophomore Curtis Kelly from Rice (NY) already lists Louisville among his favorites and you can bet the Cards will be in the mix with 6'1 freshman Michael Coburn and 6'6 sophomore Johnathan Mitchell of Mount Vernon (NY).

As for the current class of recruits, 6'9 Brian Johnson has a nice weekend at the Prime Time Shootout. Despite struggling to get his shot to go down Friday night, he still made his impact felt on defense and with his rebounding. Then on Saturday against one of the nation's top teams, Philly Cardinal Dougherty, Johnson came up big with 15 points and 10 rebounds on 7-8 shooting from the floor to help bring Oak Hill back from a 15 point halftime deficit to keep their undefeated season alive.

6'7 Donta Smith continued his outstaning play against Rend Lake with 26 points, including three three pointers, in a 79-69 victory last week. He came back later in the week with a 28 point effort in a 98-75 win over Lincoln Trail. Smith has been instrumental in helping Southeastern to a 28 game conference winning streak.

Lorenzo Wade, playing on a balanced and talented Hargrave team, posted 5 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in a 108-58 victory over Southern Virginia University. He also recorded a double-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in a 91-77 win over Coastal Christian Academy. Wade is a multi-skill guy and will held U of L in many areas next season.

Last but not least, 6'10 Terrance Farley seems to be hitting his stride as the season winds down. He recorded his second triple-double of the season last week against Valley High with 17 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 blocks. There's no question he has a large upside and picked the perfect fit with Coach Pitino to help him reach his full potential.

On another note, Oak Hill will be in town next Thursday to face Ballard before heading to eastern Kentucky to play two games in the Laurel County Invitational.

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