The Skinny

While Brian Johnson and Lorrenzo Wade have finished their season's, Terrance Farley and Donta Smith are in the middle of playoff action. Plus, Tello Palacios makes another visit and we also look at the departure of Nouha Diakite and it's impact on U of L's recruiting efforts.

Now that Nouha Diakite has left the University of Louisville basketball program, we thought it would be appropriate to examine some of the possible impacts on recruiting.

Obviously, the 5/8 rule limits how Diakite's scholarship can be used. And while his departure doesn't create an immediate scholarship, it does free up additional minutes in the Cardinals frontcourt next season.

And Rick Pitino could certainly use someone like 6'8 Tello Palacios. Palacios might not be the most physical inside presence, but he's probably the most talented frontcourt prospect available this spring who's likely to play college basketball next season.

If you've been following Palacios' recruitment, you already know he's looking for a school and a coach that can help put him on the fast track to the NBA. That's why he wants to find a situation with plenty of playing time and touches right away.

And who better to develop his talent than Rick Pitino, who developed a similar player, Jamal Mashburn, at Kentucky. Now with Diakite's departure, Pitino has even more need and playing time for the talented power forward.

Palacios has already visited Florida State and made a trip to Waco, Texas to visit Baylor over the weekend. His coach, Ron Stelzer, told us last week that he wasn't wowed by Leonard Hamilton and indicated that the trip to Baylor was more of a courtesy to Bears head coach Scott Drew.

Which seems to leave Indiana and Louisville as the two players that will duke it out for his services. Sure, Mike Davis will have plenty of time for Palacios. But he's already signed 6'8 D.J. White, who plays the same position as will Palacios. Additionally, Davis' program isn't exacting lighting it up on a national scale and his track record of developing NBA talents begins and ends with Jared Jeffries, which pales in comparison to Pitino's lengthy list.

Getting back to Diakite's scholarship, while there's no immidiate opening, it does create an additional opening under the 13 scholarship limit. Louisville can get creative with Diakite's scholarship if a player is willing to play along.

For instance, would Chris Lofton be willing to walk-on for a season and then take a scholarship for the 2005-06 season. How about a transfer? If Pitino elected to take a transfer, and the player were willing to pay his own way next fall, he could then accept a scholarship next January and there would be no worries about the 5/8.

Things could work out many ways this spring and don't be schocked if more than one player joins the program this spring.

Back on the hardwood, while Brian Johnson and Lorenzo Wade have completed their seasons, both Terrance Farley and Donta Smith are right in the middle of playoff action. Wade will play in the Kentucky Derby Festival Classic and Kevin Keatts, his coach at Hargrave will also coach one of the teams in the annual all-star classic.

Farley led PRP to the 22nd District title last week, scoring 19 points against Holy Cross and 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. PRP will open Sixth Region action against Shawnee Wednesday night.

More importantly, though, Farley continues to improve on the court. And that's important because he'll likely be counted on to see some time up front next season for Louisville. Clearly, Farley's been working hard to improve his offensive post moves, which he used to score several times Friday night against the Warriors. He still needs lots of work on the offensive end and needs added strength but he's got the athletic ability to develop into a fine player under Pitino.

Smith, who was named the Region XXIV Player of the Year last week, averaged 26 points and 7.2 rebounds this season. His points per game average ranked third best nationally.

The 6-7 U of L signee led Southeastern C.C. to a comeback win Thursday night against Lincoln Trail, scoring 19 points and making several key plays at both end of the court in a 53-49 win.

Smith and Southeastern played for the XXIV region title Saturday night.

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

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