Jamil Tucker has interest in Louisville

Bloomington, In. - Jamil Tucker, a 6-foot-9 forward from Gary (IN) West High, is one of the fastest rising prospects in the Class of 2006 this spring. Currently rated the nation's No. 54 prospect by Scout.com, Tucker claims his recruitment is wide-open and says he'd like to learn more about the University of Louisville.

Jamil Tucker is one of those guys that parlayed an excellent junior season into a soaring national ranking this spring.

A native Californian, the 6-foot-9 forward moved to Gary, Indiana last year where he led West Side High School to the 4A state semi-finals before falling to eventual runner-up Muncie Central. Along the way, Tucker put up some big numbers, averaging 24.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists.

This spring, playing primarily with the top AAU team on the circuit – Spiece Indy Heat – Tucker's stock nationally has sky-rocketed. He's currently rated the nation's No. 54 prospect by Scout.com, and the versatile forward could move even higher if he continues his excellent play throughout the summer.

Playing with four of America's best high school prospects this spring – 7-0 Greg Oden, the nation's top junior, and three other likely McDonald's All-Americans in 6-5 Daequan Cook, 6-1 Mike Conley, and 6-3 Eric Gordon, Tucker believes the fast company he keeps has improved his game.

"It's been great playing with those guys," Tucker said last weekend at the adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Indiana. "I've learned so much just by playing with those guys this spring."

Tucker already has scholarship offers from Ohio State, Indiana, and San Jose State. Saturday afternoon he listed the Buckeyes and Hoosiers along with Purdue, USC, and UCLA as schools he's currently interested. However, Tucker isn't ready to shut the door on other potential college suitors, and claims no favorites at the moment.

"I'm still open," he said. "I plan to take my official visits this fall. I probably won't need to take all five visits before deciding."

Tucker is a versatile forward who can pass,
handle and shoot the basketball.

And though he claims no favorites, four schools are in good shape to receive official visits next fall.

"I'll probably visit Ohio State, Indiana, and either USC or UCLA," Tucker said. "The other two would be open for anybody."

That opening might be where a program like Louisville could get involved if things don't pan out this summer with guys like 6-8 Lance Thomas or 6-7 Earl Clark – two of the Cardinals primary frontcourt prospects in Tucker's class.

Rick Pitino's staff apparently has already begun laying some groundwork this spring with Tucker, making inquiries through his high school coach.

"Louisville talked to my high school coach, Coach Boyd, recently," Tucker said.

Would Thomas have interest in the Cardinals if they elected to turn up the heat?

"I'm interested in Louisville," Tucker said. "I would be open to listening to them and seeing what they have to offer. I'd like to learn more about them."

Some observers believe Ohio State might have the inside track. AAU teammate Deaquan Cook recently committed to the Buckeyes, and teammates Conley and Oden could follow suit. Tucker admitted some appeal in continuing to play with the trio at the next level. He's also admitted considerable interest in returning to his west coast roots, and USC and UCLA would fit into those plans.

And while he's not sure about what his future has in store, he does have a good idea about what he's looking for in a college.

"I'm looking for a school with a good business program because that's what I want to major in," Tucker said. "I'd also like to go to a bigger school."

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