September 13, 2007

Meyer's Mailbag: Miller's impact

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Sep 7: Method to visit madness?
Aug 30: Coach K gets more exposure
Kentucky fans want to know where its 2008 recruiting class stacks up nationally after the addition of four-star prospect Darius Miller.

Indiana fans would like to know where its recruiting class would stack up if the Hoosiers land a couple more of their top targets.

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer also takes a look at the situations of John Riek and Willie Warren.

Jerry's Mailbag
Miller's impact

With the addition of Darius Miller to Kentucky's '08 class, where would you rank their class compared to other '08 classes?

-- Alec from Louisville
With Darius Miller (No. 45) joining DeAndre Liggins (No. 21) in Kentucky's 2008 class, the Wildcats have two players who are multiposition players. Liggins, at 6 feet 5, is at his best with the ball in his hands running the point. However, he can also play effectively on the wing. Miller is a combo forward who plays bigger than his 6-foot-6 frame. Miller can effectively defend on the perimeter and in the post. Offensively, he is a developing as an inside/outside scoring threat.

As things stand now, I'd slide Kentucky's class into the No. 12 slot between Michigan State at No. 11 and Maryland at No. 13.

The Riek saga

Will Riek play college ball or go straight to the pros?

-- Chris from Bristol
It is looking more and more like the wheels are in motion for John Riek to be eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft. The 7-foot-2 center from Sudan recently transferred from Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American School to Winchendon (Mass.) Prep. Riek is enrolling as a post graduate, and Winchendon has documentation that Riek has a diploma from a high school in Egypt.

There certainly could be some more twists and turns in the Riek saga. When he came to the United States last winter, Riek was classified as 2009 prospect. He has since been reported as a 2008 prospect, and now he is a 2008 prospect who has already graduated from high school. If his status as a post-graduate holds, Riek will be eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft since he will turn 19 during the calendar year of the draft.

All indications are that Riek is hungry to play in the NBA as soon as possible. Based on his play against the top high school competition in the country during the summer, Riek will likely be a high first-round pick. He is the No. 5 ranked prospect in the Rivals150.

IU No. 1?

If Indiana were to land Tyler Zeller and Kevin Jones, would that be enough to make it the best recruiting class in the country?

-- Jeff from Chicago
If Indiana were to land both Tyler Zeller (No. 22) and Kevin Jones (No. 79), it would push Indiana's 2008 recruiting class to No. 1 if the other top recruiting classes remained unchanged. I have Indiana sitting at No. 7 in the country with commitments from Devin Ebanks (No. 13), Bud Mackey (No. 35) and three-star prospect Matt Roth.

Add Zeller and Jones to that group, and you have four prospects with at least four stars. That group also covers every position but point guard. If IU slides Mackey over to the point and inserts Roth at shooting guard, it would have a nice lineup.

The diversity of this hypothetical Indiana class - along with high individual rankings would give this class an edge over UCLA's group.

Where's Willie?

Hey I was wondering what's going on with Willie Warren's recruitment?

-- Armando from Tucson
Not much at this point. Willie Warren is in the process of adjusting to his new situation at Oak Hill Academy. He isn't speaking to the media right now, but I did have a conversation with his mother Malaika this week. She listed Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Kansas, Texas, Louisville and Connecticut as some of the schools scheduled to visit Oak Hill. The plan is for she and Warren to come up with a list of schools this weekend that will get official visits.

The last school list we received from Warren included Arizona, Cincinnati, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Marquette, Oklahoma and Texas.

Home turf

Jerry - What is your take on the 'in-home' visit? It appears it is becoming quite the trend with top recruits. I was curious on the role they play in programs recruiting top targets.

-- Tim from New York City
In-home visits have always been an integral part of the recruiting process. Quite a few of the top prospects in the 2008 class are using the in-home visits to decide which schools they will officially visit. The No. 1 prospect in the Rivals150, Greg Monroe, and four-star prospect Kevin Jones are a couple of prospects who are using this method.

The official visit to a school's campus is geared primarily to impress and woo the prospect. The in-home visit is an opportunity to win over the parents or guardians of a prospect.

A coach who can comfortably and naturally relate to the parents while in the home can make a lot of headway in the recruiting process. It is an opportunity for the coach to gain the trust of the parents and ensure them that their son will be in good hands while in college.

Jerry Meyer is a national basketball recruiting analyst for Click here to send him a question or comment for his Mailbag.

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