Pitino expects freshman forward Palacios to start

University of Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino said Tuesday that he expects freshman Tello Palacios to start at power forward this season and the 6-foot-8 rookie has already earned high praise from U of L All-American Francisco Garcia.

Rick Pitino has compared freshman forward Tello Palacios to former University of Kentucky star Jamal Mashburn since the 6-foot-8, 245-pound former high school All-America signed with the Cardinals last spring.

On Tuesday, Pitino said he expects Palacios, who averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds as a high school senior last season Our Savior New American in Centerreach, NY, to be in the starting line-up at power forward this season.

"Tello reminds me of Mashburn and I told him that when I recruited him," Pitino said again Tuesday afternoon. "He has a great body with only 8-percent body fat. He's a precocious freshman and he's very talented."

Palacios said the adjustment to the college game and Pitino's demanding style of play have been the biggest challenge for him since practice began last weekend.

"It's really different from high school," Palacios said. "It's going to take some time to adapt but that's why we practice really hard."

Palacios is aware of the expectations placed upon him by his head coach and knows he'll have to continue to get into better shape to play starters minutes this season.

"Coach is talking about me starting and I will have to get into great shape to do that," Palacios explained. "Obviously, we have a lot of [offensive] plays and I will have to study to learn those plays."

"Right now I'm doing fine but I just talked to Coach [Pitino] and he told me that we're only running 10-percent of the plays right now," Palacios continued. "But I feel like I'm doing great though."

Palacios said the comparisons to Mashburn, whom he watchd play in the NBA when he lived in his native Columbia, only serve as motivation to work harder and live up to those lofty expectations.

"It's great," Palacios said of the comparisons to Jamal Mashburn. "Coach expects a lot from me and that's going to help me work harder to live up to his expectations."

Palacios, who arrived on campus earlier this summer to work out with his teammates, has already earned respect and praise from junior All-American forward Francisco Garcia.

"He's really got a lot of talent and he works hard," Garcia said. "He's runs the floor and he can pass the ball. He's the total package."

Cardinal Authority Top Stories