May 30, 2008

Meyer's Mailbag: WVU takes another big step

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 23: Could Cards be better?
May 16: UL lands five-star Siva
May 8: Too young to commit?
Does the signing of Devin Ebanks signal the coming of great things for West Virginia basketball?

What kind of boost does the move of Greg Echenique to the class of 2008 give Rutgers' incoming recruiting class?

And what is the latest with Emmanuel Negedu and Rashanti Harris?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
New hoops juggernaut?

Do you think that with the signing of Devin Ebanks that Bob Huggins will make WVU a basketball juggernaut?

-- Bruce from Saint Albans
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Ebanks is a great player, but I don't think his signing alone is going to make West Virginia a basketball juggernaut. It is, however, a big step by Bob Huggins towards turning West Virginia into a basketball juggernaut.

Now, don't get me wrong. West Virginia was awful good under the guidance of John Beilein, but Huggins has the ability to land five-star caliber players who can elevate West Virginia into the ranks of the schools that can legitimately contend for a national title.

Huggins is as an aggressive recruiter as there is in the country and will not back down from trying to bring elite prospects to West Virginia. You can be good with good players, but to be great you have to have great players. With his recruiting prowess and coaching skills, Bob Huggins is the key to turning West Virginia into a basketball juggernaut.

Rutgers gets a boost

Where does Rutgers recruiting class rank now that Greg Echenique is enrolling early?

-- Mike from Clifton
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Presently ranked No. 33 in the class of 2009, Echenique gives Rutgers' 2008 class a big boost now that he has moved up into the 2008 class. The powerful big man joins four-star prospect Mike Rosario (No. 55) and two solid three-star prospects Patrick Jackson and Christian Morris.

This foursome places Rutgers' 2008 class right on the top-30 bubble. When you look at Cincinnati's class, which is No. 30 in the rankings, there are a lot of similarities to Rutgers' class. The Bearcats have a physical and at times dominant big man in Yancy Gates and a scoring-oriented guard in Cashmere Wright which mirror Echenique and Rosario of Rutgers. Cincinnati then has two non-ranked three-star prospects which round out a four-man class similar to Jackson and Morris of Rutgers.

Honestly, it's too close a call between the two classes for me to make a call in this mailbag. The Rivals.com basketball recruiting staff will have to hash this one out when the team recruiting rankings are revised.

Hill comparison

I'm a big DePaul fan, and a big surprise to the Rivals150 was Solomon Hill, who the Blue Demons are going hard after. From what I can get from scouting reports, he's not a shooter, but does everything else well, and has amazing passing and ballhandling skills. With that being said, is he more in the mold of a DeAndre Liggins, or more-so like WVU star DeSean Butler?

-- Michael from Chicago
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I like the Butler comparison, Michael. Hill isn't a point guard like Liggins, but he does possess point forward skills like Butler. He and Butler are similar size-wise and he has a strong all-around game like Butler. Hill is a better athlete than Butler, however. Defensively, Hill moves very well laterally and his leaping ability makes him a dangerous rebounder.

Like Butler, Hill has shown a great feel for the game this spring and has really been impressive with the way he handles the ball and passes it in both the open court and in the half-court game. And as you pointed out, Hill is more of a slasher than a shooter at this stage, but his shot has promise.

Intrastate battle?

What do you think the chances are that Tennessee will get both Emmanuel Negedu and Rashanti Harris?

-- Kyle from Johnson City
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Don't really know the odds of Tennessee landing either of these prospects, but there is an interesting intrastate recruiting battle brewing between Tennessee and Memphis with both of these prospects.

As my colleague Justin Young recently reported, Negedu visits Indiana on June 3, Georgia Tech on June 8, Tennessee on June 10 and Memphis on June 12. Tennessee was one of the finalists the first recruiting go around with Negedu, and Josh Pastner, the assistant coach who was integral in signing Negedu to Arizona, is now a member of the Memphis staff.

Does Pastner still have enough pull to lure Negedu to Memphis? Or does he have enough pull to prevent Negedu from attending Memphis' growing in-state rival Tennessee?

And the latest from Rivals.com on Harris has Memphis as the leader if he can qualify academically as also reported by Justin Young.

Worth the risk?

Why didn't Wisconsin make any effort to get Jeronne Maymon?

-- Jim from Madison
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A four-star prospect, Maymon is a tremendous player and plenty good enough to be recruited by schools coast to coast. Wisconsin, however, was not the only school to pass on Maymon.

The issue is that Maymon has a lot of work to do academically to qualify. A number of schools, including Maymon's hometown school Wisconsin, backed off because of the uncertain status of Maymon's academics.

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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