May 16, 2008

Meyer's Mailbag: UL lands five-star Siva

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 8: Too young to commit?
May 2: How strong is KU class?
April 25: Questions surround Boynton
Louisville just landed a five-star guard in Peyton Siva. How good a fit is he for the Cardinals system?

Tennessee has had a nice recruiting run in the spring. Where does its 2008 class stack up in the soon-to-be-released post-spring team recruiting rankings?

Should Kansas fans be worried that the last two recruiting classes lack a five-star prospect?

These questions and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Louisville lands a point guard

Louisville is recruiting hard for a top-flight point guard in 2009, it appears they are on Peyton Siva and Michael Dixon. Which do you feel is a better fit for Pitino's style?

-- Adam from Clarksville
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Nice timing with your question, Adam. Louisville just landed the top-flight point guard they were looking for in the 2009 class with a Friday morning commitment from Siva. In Siva, coach Rick Pitino is getting a superb athlete who can score anywhere on the court. A five-star prospect, Siva shoots the ball very well from behind the arc, both off the catch and the dribble. He also has the speed to turn the corner and the athleticism to finish at the basket despite being only 5 feet 11. In fact, Siva is the type of leaper who can easily throw down a 360 degree dunk, and you don't see that very often from a sub 6-footer.

Dixon - who is a four-star prospect - is also a quality point guard, but his game is quite different than Siva's. Dixon doesn't have the athleticism of Siva, but Dixon is more of a natural point guard. Dixon plays at a lower gear than Siva, but because of that takes better care of the ball and excels at hitting the midrange shot. Siva is more of a deep shooter and attacks the rim better.

Actually, Siva is best described as a combo guard with a scorer's mentality as a playmaker. A big part of Siva's value as a prospect is that he can play off the ball as a serious scoring threat. Now, I do expect his point guard play to improve during his stint at Louisville. He is custom made for Louisville's running attack and penchant for shooting the 3-pointer in transition. He is also going to be tough to contain utilizing the high ball screen. Defenders will absolutely have to go over the top of the screen, and Siva has the quickness to beat the hedge man and turn the corner to the basket. With a comfort level of knowing where shooters are spotting up and when cutters are cutting, I expect him to do a good job as a decision maker with the basketball.

Big additions

With the addition of Bobby Maze and Scotty Hopson, how does UT's recruiting class rank?

-- Jim from parts unknown
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The spring signing period comes to an end May 21, and expect the highly anticipated post-spring signing period team recruiting rankings to come out shortly thereafter.

There will be a number of changes from the pre-early signing period rankings, with schools like Indiana suffering defections from its class and schools like Tennessee, Memphis, Vanderbilt and potentially UCLA adding late additions to their classes.

Tennessee appears to be a lock for a top-10 class largely behind the star power of Hopson, an elite five-star prospect. The Volunteers might even have a recruiting class that could knock on the door of top-five status in the rankings.

Recruiting advantage

Has the Cactus Classic had any drastic recruiting effects or has it helped Arizona's recruiting efforts with any major prospects?

-- Navid from Tucson
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It certainly helped Arizona get on the school list of Renardo Sidney, the No. 4 ranked prospect in the class of 2009. In an interview with Rivals.com during the event, Sidney said that Arizona had been on his mind. After spending time on campus over the weekend, Arizona jumped to the top of his list.

And looking back to last year, Brandon Jennings - the No. 4 ranked prospect in the class of 2008 - committed to Arizona right after he played in the Cactus Classic.

It is only natural that a school receives a recruiting bump by playing host to a travel team event. Prospects gain a familiarity with the school and the program, and in a sense, enjoy an unofficial visit while playing in the event. The more times you get a prospect on campus, the better your chances of landing the prospect.

Star power

I realize this question is a little ridiculous, but are there any real concerns in that Bill Self hasn't landed a five-star recruit for the last two years?

-- Eric from Overland Park
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I agree that it is a ridiculous question, Eric. Your Jayhawks just won a national championship and then loaded up with a great seven-man class for 2008 - with four of those recruits being four-star prospects.

Certainly recruiting is the life blood of a program, but a program doesn't necessarily have to bring in five-star prospects to get it done. Recruiting is a means to an end. The end is winning, and the way to reach that end is to find the necessary parts to make up a winning whole. Self has the necessary parts coming in to keep Kansas playing at the highest level.

But if it makes you feel any better, chances are really good that you will have at least one five-star in the fold out of the class of 2009. Kansas is actively recruiting six five-star prospects out of that class, and the No. 2 prospect in the class - Xavier Henry - has been viewed for some time now as Kansas' to lose.

Best of 2011

My question is about Austin Rivers, the 2011 star. When the 2011 rankings come out, will he be the No. 1 prospect? And is he still a huge Florida lean?

-- Michael from Jacksonville
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Austin Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, is certainly one of the best prospects I've seen in the 2011 class. He has good size as a point guard, can also play shooting guard, is highly skilled and has a fantastic feel for the game. I certainly expect him to garner five-star status when we first rank the class. In fact, he might even be a top-10 prospect. But I don't foresee him grabbing the No. 1 spot.

The top two prospects that I've seen out of the 2011 class are Tony Wroten Jr. and LaQuinton Ross. Wroten is an explosive left-handed point guard with size. Ross is a lanky scoring machine on the wing. Unless a better prospect comes across our path, I expect these two prospects to battle it out for the top spot in the class of 2011.

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



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