The Skinny

While 6'9 Brian Johnson helped lead Oak Hill to the 2003-04 National Championship last week, U of L assistant Reggie Theus was in the Crescent City checking out a point guard from the class of 2004. All that and more in this week's 'Skinny.'

Where to begin?

It's seems to make sense to start with the class of 2004 and catch up on who might receive Louisville's available scholarship this spring should Coney Island point guard Sebastian Telfair head to the NBA, as is expected.

One player who may receive an offer visited Freedom Hall Wednesday night to see the Cardinals fall in overtime to DePaul.

Accompanied by Kelly Wells and several of his family members, presumptive Mr. Basketball Chris Lofton made an unofficial visit to U of L. Following the trip, Lofton poured in 54 points, including 8-15 three pointers against Pendelton County on Mason County's Senior Night.

Ranked No. 2 in Kentucky, Lofton and the Royals are co-favorites along with Lexington Catholic to win the 2004 state championship this month in Lexington.

Another interesting possibility, though we're not sure it's a probablity, is a senior point guard from New Orleans, Louisiana. Louisville assistant Reggie Theus made a trip to the Crescent City last week to catch this player in action and we'll have more on who this player is and his recruitment very soon.

It wasn't a great week for U of L's top spring frontcourt prospect, Tello Palacios. The 6-foot-eight Palacios, who was slowed by a sprained right wrist, scored just four points Friday night in a 62-53 loss to Laurinburg Institute at the Mast Store Champions Classic in Boone, NC with several NBA scouts looking on. Because of the injury, Palacios was forced to play left-handed and made just 1-7 shots from the floor.

In the third place game Saturday, Palacios, apparently feeling better, had 13 points and 9 rebounds in a loss to Notre Dame Academy. Palacios, who lists Louisville, Indiana, Texas, Kentucky and Flordia State was scheduled to visit the Seminoles campus for Sunday night's game against Duke.

And Palacios and Lofton weren't the only prospects making visits last week.

7-foot U of L commit Clarence Holloway and Harlan teammate Jeremiah Bryant both visited Louisville over the weekend and took in the Cardinals win over Memphis Saturday afternoon. The pair were accompanied by former Fenger head coach Andre Peay.

Louisville assistant Vince Taylor travelled to Tennessee to check in on junior swingman Jamont Gordon. Gordon, a 6-foot-3 jumping jack, led Glencliff to a hard fought victory over Antioch with Taylor watching from the stands. Gordon is being recruiting by several SEC schools, including Tennessee.

Congratulations has to go out to 6'9 U of L signee Brian Johnson and Oak Hill. The Warriors claimed the 2004 High School National Championship over the weekend at the Mast Store Champions Classic in North Carolina by knocking off Laurinburg Saturday night.

Johnson started last week with a solid 9 point, 14 rebound tune up against Coastal Christian. He then turned in a big time performance Friday night with a game-high 25 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks against talented Notre Dame Academy. However, Johnson injured his leg during warm-ups Saturday and was scoreless in limited action against Laurinburg in Oak Hill's season finale.

Oak Hill finished the season with a perfect record of 38-0 and rank as one of the top high school teams in history.

Lorenzo Wade also gets props for helping Hargrave finish an excellent season at 25-1. Wade and Hargrave ended the season with two wins over the weekend at the First Piedmont Invitational Tournament.

Friday night against Massanutten, Wade had 13 points and 4 rebounds in a 112-80 win. Saturday, Wade led Hargrave with 20 points and also pulled down 7 rebounds in the tournament championship game. Hargrave finished the season as the No. 1 prep team in the nation.

6-foot-10 Terrance Farley has Pleasure Ridge Park primed to make a strong run at the sixth region title.

Farley had 10 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 blocks vs. Doss Friday night in the Panthers regular season finale. PRP opens district play Wednesday night against Holy Cross.

Donta Smith hasn't been playing as well as he was earlier in the season but his play has been good enough to keep SIC on its winning ways.

Smith had 17 points Monday night in an 88-81 win over Rend Lake. He then scored 24 points, 17 of which came at the foul line, in an 81-77 win over Olney on Friday.

"Donta has just not been himself the last few games - a lot of that may be due to all the hits and holds he's been taking," SIC Coach Todd Franklin said.

Smith and SIC finished the regular season 27-3 and will have home court advantage throughout the Region XXIV tournament, which begins this week.

There's no question the four U of L signees who are most likely to show up on campus next fall (Farley, Smith, Wade, Johnson) are tremendous individual talents, but more impressive this season has been the success of each players respective teams. These four players team's were a combined 111-9 in 2003-04, including the high school national championship (Oak Hill), the number one ranked prep school team (Hargrave), and the number three ranked junior college team (Southeastern Illinois).

Last but certainly not least, we received an update on our favorite eighth grader over the weekend, 6'6 Martez Walker of LaPlace, Louisiana.

Walker, who plays considerable minutes on the varsity for Reserve Christian, is considered one of the top prospects in the class of 2008. He scored 20 points in one game recently and currently has a 3.17 gpa in the classroom.

According to Walker's father, Larry, Martez will once again attend Coach Pitino's camp at the University of Louisville this June in what will kickoff a busy and competitive summer for the youngster. Martez will also attend the Blue Chip camp to focus on improving his fundamental skills, the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, the Reebok ABCD camp, and the Big Time in Las Vegas.

So until next week, that's this week's 'Skinny.'


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