Palacios' recruitment about to heat up

How did Palacios' visit to FSU go? Is the NBA a possibility? Will Louisville get a visit? And does Nouha Diakite's departure help Pitino's quest to land the talented 6'8 forward? We've got the answers.

Tello Palacios senior season is nearly finished. He's got three more games remaining and after this weekend the talented 6'8 forward's attention will turn entirely to his future.

While he's already thinking seriously about his next destination, in fact, Palacios visited Florida State over the weekend, the heat will really turn up on his recruitment beginning next week.

So how did the visit to Leonard Hamilton's program go last weekend?

"He seemed to enjoy it," OSNA head coach Ron Stelzer said. "But he didn't come back raving about it as a place he really wanted to go to."

One surprise addition to his list of visits is Baylor. Last month at the Prime Time Shootout, Palacios told us that Baylor had missed his final cut. However, Baylor head coach Scott Drew will at least receive a visit based primarily on his past relationship with the player and those around him.

"He changed his mind," Stelzer said. "Primarily because of his relationship with Coach Drew."

Two other heavyweights, Rick Pitino at Louisville and Indiana's Mike Davis, are in hot pursuit and battling hard for Palacios' services.

The 6'8 forward told us last month in no uncertain terms that playing time and quality touches next season would be the determining factors in his decision. With Nouha Diakite's departure yesterday from the Cardinal program, there's no question more playing time will be available in the U of L frontcourt next season.

Stelzer acknowledged he was aware of Diakite's departure and indicated that might help Louisville's cause, though he was careful not to tip his too much on that front. Instead, he referred to Palacios statements about the factors he's already set forth which he'll base his decision.

So will the Cardinals and Hoosiers receive visits from Palacios?

"There's a pretty high probabilty they both will receive a visit," Stelzer said. "But those haven't been scheduled at this point."

Then there's the question of the NBA. Can Palacios possibly make the jump this season?

It doesn't seem likely. Stelzer said that while many teams are interested, none appear ready, at least now, to make the leap of drafting him this year.

"From an NBA standpoint, some might think he'd be challenged to defend an NBA level "3" man," Stelzer explained. "On the other hand, he might be a little smaller than some of the "4" men in the league and maybe not as raw athletically as some."

Essentailly, he's a currently viewed as a tweener in NBA terms. One who's not quite ready to defend bigger and quicker small forwards or big and athletic enough to matchup with the league's power forward's.

While his recruitment is far from over, what Louisville might have as an ultimate advantage is Pitino. His experience in developing "tweeners" like Jamal Mashburn and sending him to a lucrative professional career speaks volumes by itself.

Things are about to heat up in Tello Palacios' recruitment. And make no mistake, Pitino and the Cardinals are squarely in the mix.

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