|LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Four University of Louisville men's basketball players -- Taquan Dean, Francisco Garcia, Larry O'Bannon and Juan Palacios -- garnered a variety of honors Monday.
Garcia was named to the five-man All-Conference USA first team while Dean was a third-team selection. O'Bannon was named the Conference USA Player of the Week for games ending March 6. Palacios has been named to the Freshman All-America third team by Rivals.com.
A special player who makes everyone on the floor better, Garcia is averaging 15.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals. He is among the nation's top 23 players placed on the voting ballot for the 2004-05 John R. Wooden Award. A double figure scorer in 24 games this season, Garcia is currently 29th in career scoring at U of L with 1,273 points and also ranks among the U of L career top ten in three-point goals, blocked shots and free throw percentage.
A tri-captain for the Cardinals, Dean has averaged 14.2 points while playing with a non-contageous form of mononucleosis. His three-point shooting stands at 46.8 percent on the season (94-of-201), 12th best nationally and the leader in Conference USA. His 94 threes this year to date are the second most ever in a single season at U of L and just three off the school record of 97, set by DeJuan Wheat in 1996-97. He has hit three or more three-pointers in 21 games this season.
O'Bannon C-USA Player of the Week
O'Bannon averaged 28.5 points while shooting 73.9 percent from the field in leading Louisville to a pair of Conference USA victories as the Cardinals claimed their first C-USA regular season title. The hometown product from Louisville scored a career-high 33 points and added two assists and two steals as the Cardinals beat Charlotte 94-82 in a showdown for first place in Conference USA. He set a U of L record for points in a first half with 26 against the 49ers, hitting 9-of-10 shots and all five of his three-pointers in the opening period. His 26 first half points also ties for the most scored in either half, a U of L record that has stood for 38 years.
He scored 24 points, including 12 of the Cardinals' last 15 points, in Louisville's 66-62 victory at DePaul. He had a near-perfect shooting effort against the Blue Demons, hitting 6-of-7 shots from the field, all five of his three-point attempts, and all seven of his free throws as he became Louisville's 55th 1,000-point career scorer. O'Bannon is one of six Cardinals who earned recognition on the U of L Athletic Director's Honor Roll for the 2004 fall semester (3.0 or better GPA).
It was the sixth occasion a U of L player had been recognized as the league's player of the week this season. O'Bannon also earned the honor on Jan. 31 while Francisco Garcia (Dec. 13, Jan. 3) and Taquan Dean (Nov. 29, Jan. 17) have each earned the honor twice.
Palacios Chosen a Freshman All-America
Among Conference USA Freshmen, Palacios is second in the league in rebounding; third in scoring, field goal percentage and steals; fourth in blocked shots; and fifth in three-point percentage. In his 16 C-USA games, he averaged 9.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and shot 48 percent from the field (12th in C-USA games), including hitting 13-of-31 three-pointers (.419).
Palacios has hit 50 percent or above of his shots in 17 games this season. He recorded his fourth career double-double and second straight with 17 points and 10 rebounds vs. Cincinnati on Feb. 2, hitting 8-of-10 shots from the field. He had seven points and four rebounds at DePaul in his last game.