Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.
What college will surprise with the 2012 class?
Bossi: That's a tough question to answer at this point. Too many guys are undecided and too many teams are still tinkering with which direction they ultimately want to go. I think the annual job merry-go-round will have a huge impact on this. At some point, some mid-major coach or high-major assistant is going to end up at a high-major school and bring in a surprising class. We just don't know which one yet.
Meyer: I don't know if this should be categorized as a surprise, but I can see Duke putting together a strong 2012 class. The Devils landed five-star forward Alex Murphy Monday, and are in a good position with Shabazz Muhammad and Rasheed Sulaimon, two of the best perimeter scorers in the country. Duke is also involved with four-star prospects J.P. Tokoto and Tony Parker. The No. 1 ranked prospect, Andre Drummond, is considered a heavy Connecticut lean, but Duke is taking a stab at him as well.
What prospect-loaded school has been the most fun to watch in person this winter?
Bossi: For me, I really like watching Brewster Prep from Wolfeboro (N.H.). Head coach Jason Smith has really built a power up there and what's impressive is that his teams always seem to play to their talent level. Not surprisingly, they are undefeated behind four-stars Jakarr Sampson, Naadir Tharpe and Rivals150 guard Elijah Carter, among others.
Meyer: The team I enjoy watching is St. Anthony out of New Jersey. Rutgers commitment Myles Mack and 2012 five-star prospect Kyle Anderson are their top prospects and both are playing well. The appeal of St. Anthony, however, isn't their star power. It is how well they play together as a team and their style of play. Coach Bob Hurley has done a great job cultivating a program that prides itself in playing unselfish, tough and fast basketball. That is the type of basketball I like to see.
How do you see Alex Murphy fitting in at Duke and was that the right decision for him?
Bossi: First of all, I don't think anybody was surprised to see Murphy pick Duke. You kind of got the sense all along that he would fit in well there. As for whether the decision was right or not, that's up to Alex but he certainly seems a good fit. He's got the size to play some on the inside and out, is very crafty in getting himself open away from the ball. He can stretch defenses with the deep jumper.
Meyer: Murphy is a good player and would fit in fine most anywhere. Duke has had success with players like Murphy. Mike Dunleavy and Kyle Singler come to mind. I'm sure Duke sold Murphy on the fact that he can have success there as those guys did. And Murphy will, if he gets stronger and tougher, and improves the consistency of his long range shot.
What do you think of the balance of power between the summer travel team coach and the winter high school coach in terms of influence in recruiting?
Bossi: I'm not sure that it's something that can be really distributed by percentage and it's more of a case-by-case scenario. It's much more evenly distributed than people realize. There are several cases where the high school and summer coaches are working in concert to best help their young players. I do think, though, that the summer basketball coach has been vilified much more than any other person in amateur sports. There are certainly some bad apples out there, but there are countless guys who sacrifice family time, work and their own money to help get young men opportunities for college. The fact is, there are just as many high school coaches and family members out there with nefarious motives as there are summer coaches, if not more.
Meyer: It is what it is to me. If a high school coach wants to be heavily involved in a prospect's recruitment, he can certainly get involved. I've found that most high school coaches have so much going on with their team and other responsibilities at school that they would rather have someone else burden the brunt of dealing with a prospect's recruitment. I don't know why it would necessarily be better for a high school coach to handle a prospect's recruitment than a travel team coach to handle it, so it is a non-issue to me. I will say, however, that it is unfortunate if a high school coach and travel team coach are pulling different directions on a prospect. It is unfortunate if any entities involved in a prospect's recruitment are pulling different directions for selfish reasons.