Up close with Tello Palacios

<b>Chicago</b> - Wednesday night prior to the EA Sports Roundball Classic at Chicago's Unitas Center, Inside The Ville sat down with University of Louisville prospect Tello Palacios for an up close and personal look at his recruitment.

Tello Palacios is a talented prospect to be sure. That fact can't be denied and it's the reason why college coaches like Rick Pitino, Leonard Hamilton, and Mike Davis are working overtime to land the 6-foot-8 forward this spring.

Palacios, who participated in the EA Sports Roundball Classic, got a chance to work out with 20 of the top high school players in the country...all before tons of NBA scouts and GM's. Palacios scored 10 points in the All-Star game, draining two perimeter shots in the process. Word around Chicago was that Marvin Williams and Dorrell Wright boosted their stock with their displays both in the workouts and the game. As for Palacios, though he has plenty of talent, there seem to be legitimate questions about his rebounding ability and who he would guard at the next level. For those reasons, college is the native Colombian's likely next stop.

Palacios has admitted before that he's looking to take the fast track to the NBA. So were the nerves juiced up a bit for Palacios with the kind of scrutiny and exposure in front of the NBA type's during his stay in the Windy City?

"Not at all," Palacios said. "It's a dream to play in the NBA but at the same time I won't mind the experience of college. I'll just wait a little bit and see what happens."

Palacios has already visited Florida State, Louisville and Baylor, and schools like Indiana, Georgia, and North Carolina are vying for the fourth and fifth allowed visits. For his part, Palacios is unsure whether or not he'll make any additional visits before reaching a decision.

"I'm not sure about that right now," Palacios explained. "If I find something I like about the other schools I'll probably take the other two visits."

Louisville coach Rick Pitino is recruiting Palacios to come in and play immediate minutes at both the "three" and "four" positions. Having coached a similar player in Jamal Mashburn at Kentucky, who under Pitino was one of the top face the basket type forwards in the country, does that give the Cardinals an advantage considering Palacios' desires to play for a coach who has a proven track record of developing forwards' face up abilities?

"Yeah, you want to play for a coach that has a lot of experience and Coach Pitino is one of those guys that developed and helped a lot of players to the NBA," Palacios said. "At the same time, the coach [Leonard Hamilton] at Florida State is about the same. He coached in the NBA and he's helped a lot of college players go to the NBA, too. So it's the same situation."

How much of a factor is Baylor in this process?

"Right now it's just because of the coach because he recruited me for three years, so I guess I wanted to see and visit," Palacios said of Baylor. "The thing is I didn't get to see them play like I've seen Florida State play against Duke and I saw Louisville practice during the time I was there."

After three visits, did anybody really stick out in Palacios' mind? "Not really," Palacios answered.

Following his visit to Louisville, Palacios expressed to Inside The Ville some concerns about he would fit in position wise at Louisville. So we asked him at the United Center if he still had those same concerns.

"I'm still concerned about [the situation at Louisville] because some teams are just deciding who they really want and who they are going to wait for and they're just looking for one more guy on their team," Palacios said.

With concerns about Louisville and uncertainties about Baylor and Indiana, does that make Florida State his leader?

"Probably, Florida State is," Palacios admitted. "It can be changed.

What will it take to change his mind?

"I don't know, you never know," Palacios said. "Since schools have been recruiting me I've changed my mind so anything can happen."

As for the NBA and the decision he'll make between the league and college, Palacios had this to say.

"You always have a lot of people telling you at this time that you're going to be in this draft or whatever," Palacios said. "I'm trying not to worry about that stuff and just keep playing. And right now most of the time I'm playing the 'four' so I haven't had the opportunity to develop my game at the 'one' and the 'three' positions because if I want to go to the league that's probably where I'm going to have to play. So that's something I'm thinking about, too. Trying to [find] a program that can help me develop my game."

One of the more interesting and difficult aspects of recruiting these days is trying to figure out exactly who has the greatest influence over a high school prospect, be it an AAU coach, high school coach, or someone else lurking behind the scenes. Palacios says he listens to several people for advice but the final decision will rest with one and only one person..Tello Palacios.

"I'm kind of open to a lot of people and I like to listen to what they have to say," Palacios admitted. "But the final decision will be mine."

Palacios will play in the adidas Classic in Knoxville this weekend and said he'll make a decision by the start of the spring signing period which begins April 15.

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