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More CUSA Basketball

Conference USA: Reloading in 04-05

By Mark Dittami

madittami@hotmail.com

September 1st

 

 

 

Conference USA Stocked With Talented Freshmen  

“We don’t rebuild, we reload”. Clichéd a phrase as it might be, it is certainly applicable to the upcoming Conference USA season.  In addition to most of the all-conference team returning is a crop of very talented freshman, looking to either make their one year mark before heading off to The Big East, or establish themselves as forces to be reckoned with over the next few C-USA seasons.  Here is a look at some of the freshman we can expect big thing from out of this year:

Darius Washington, Jr. SG Memphis

Washington brings impressive credentials to John Calipari’s program including selection to the 2004 Parade All-America first team, a McDonald’s All-American, and the winner of the three point shooting contest at the McDonald’s All-American game.  The 6’1” 180 lbs shooting guard averaged 32.0 ppg in leading Edgewater to the Florida 6A state title.  Washington should help fill the sizeable void left in the backcourt by the loss of Conference Player of the Year Antonio Burks

Roy Bright, SF Cincinnati

Bob Huggins has a recent history of having superior talent at the forward positions with Danny Fortson, Kenyon Martin, and Jason Maxiell just to name a few. Roy Bright has all the makings to be next on that list. He is one of seven players from the Mt. Zion Christian Academy to sign at a Division 1 school and led the talent laden Mt. Zion squad in scoring and rebounding with 19.0 and 11.2 respectively. Look for Bright to team up with 2003-2004 Wooden Award Pre-season All-American Maxiell to form a potent inside/outside combo in the frontcourt.

Juan Diego Palacios, PF Louisville

A native of Columbia, Palacios averaged 20.2 ppg and 9.2 rebounds his senior year at Our Savior New American in Centereach, NY on his way to making it onto The USA Today All-American third team.   Palacios should help ease the loss of the Cardinals second leading scorer and leading rebounder, Luke Whitehead. If he enjoys half the success of the former Pitino player he has been often compared to, Jamal Mashburn, Louisville fans will be happy.

Lorenzo Wade, SG Louisville

Lorenzo Wade has flown under the recruiting radar while notable Louisville signees such as Sebastian Telfair, who opted for the NBA Draft, and Brian Johnson, who could possibly be out for the year with an injured knee, have garnered all the headlines. The #50 prospect overall in 2004 by prepstars.com, Wade spent the last season at the Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia where he led Hargrave to a final #1 prep nation ranking by theinsiderhoops.com.  If his outside shot catches up to the rest of his explosive game around the rim and tenacious rebounding  he will surely help out a Cardinals team that had only one player average over 11.0 ppg last season. 

Ryan Amoroso, PF Marquette

While perhaps not currently in the same ratings stratosphere as some of the other aforementioned prospects, Ryan Amoroso will nevertheless be counted on to have an impact at Marquette and has shown rapid development over the last year.  The 6’8” 240lbs Burnsville, Minnesota native averaged 23.7 ppg and 11.0 rebounds his senior season while also shooting 42% from behind the arc.  Marquette lacks some muscle up front with the graduation of Scott Merritt and Terry Sanders which should leave plenty of opportunity for Amoroso to earn minutes and make his presence felt offensively with opposing defenses focused on shutting down the sharp shooting tandem of Travis Diener and Steve Novak.  Amoroso was also a recipient of the Minnesota Timberwolves Ten Award, honoring the top male and female senior basketball players in the state of Minnesota.

Other incoming freshmen to watch:

 

Cliff Clinkscales PG DePaul

Leemire Goldwire PG UNC-Charlotte

Montavius Waters SG South Florida

Neiman Owens PG TCU

David Gomez PF Tulane

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