October 23, 2008

Meyer's Mailbag: UNC's next move?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Oct 16: KU commit best at one skill
Oct 9: Wall vs. Rose
Oct 2: KU, UM battle for top guards
North Carolina is on a roll recruiting. Who would be the next best get for the Tar Heels?

How about a breakdown on the remaining guards Kansas has targeted? Are Maryland's two big men in the 2009 class capable of getting it done?

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer addresses these questions and more in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Tar Heel's next take

With North Carolina's already stacked recruiting class, what do you believe is the next best move for the Tar Heels a true center in Josh Smith or small forwards Harrison Barnes and Roscoe Smith?

-- Terrence from Nashville, Tenn.
Under the assumption that John Henson is one and done, North Carolina has at least two scholarships left for the 2010 class. If the Tar Heels only had one scholarship, I'd lean toward Barnes. He is an elite, big-bodied small forward who can play up a position and would fill that hole in the roster. Roscoe Smith is also a very talented prospect, but he is not quite on Barnes' level. Smith, however, might be a more likely commitment for UNC. Smith, a wiry athlete, projects as a hybrid forward as well.

The void right now in North Carolina's projected roster for the 2010-2011 season is a hybrid forward who can play the 3 and the 4. Ed Davis, Tyler Zeller, David Wear and Travis Wear have the 4/5 positions covered. Reggie Bullock, Leslie McDonald and William Graves have the 2/3 positions covered. And Larry Drew, Dexter Strickland and Kendall Marshall have the 1/2 positions covered.

The best prospect out of the three, though, is Rivals150 No. 1 prospect Josh Smith. A unique center with size, athleticism and touch, Smith is an instant difference-maker on the level of Greg Oden for whatever school is lucky enough to land him.

If North Carolina was fortunate enough to land Josh Smith and either Barnes or Roscoe Smith, the Tar Heels would have more than enough talent to win a national championship in 2011.

Push for playing time

With the recruiting class that Kansas has this year, do you think there will be playing time for Thomas Robinson and Elijah Johnson next year?

-- DeMarcus from Wichita, Kan.
Both Robinson and Johnson are great talents, but there is no guarantee they will start as freshmen. Robinson has Cole Aldrich and twins Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris in front of him, along with Quintrell Thomas.

Johnson probably has the best shot to start because he is a combo guard and Sherron Collins might opt for the NBA after this season. If Collins is back for his senior season, he will hold down the point guard position. And freshman guard Tyshawn Taylor is receiving rave reviews out of Lawrence.

But there is no doubt that both Robinson and Johnson will log a lot of minutes on the court as freshmen. Robinson is an elite rebounder and Johnson is a raw, but immensely talented and athletic guard.

Need filled?

How do you rate the recent pickups of Jordan Williams and James Padgett by the Terps? We are terribly thin on bigs and need help there desperately. Do these kids do it?

-- Skip from Severna Park, Md.
Williams and Padgett are both the type of big men that coach Gary Williams has had success with during his career. Neither prospect has received a lot of hype, but they are more than competent players who have successfully competed against more highly ranked big men in their class. They are hungry, blue-collar players who I expect to succeed at Maryland.

Best of the best

With Kansas competing for the services of shooting guards Xavier Henry, Michael Snaer, Dominic Cheek and Lance Stephenson, what are the strengths and weaknesses of each of these players? Which one is the best outside shooter? And which one has the biggest upside?

-- Andy from Overland Park, Kan.
Xavier Henry's strengths are his physical strength, size for his position (6 feet 6), comfort with the basketball, inside/outside capabilities and shooting stroke. His one real weakness is that he is a little too straight ahead with the basketball, perhaps even a little stiff. He doesn't change direction as fluidly as you would hope at times.

Michael Snaer's strengths are that he is capable of being a nasty competitor, can really shoot coming off screens, rebounds his position and is a multi-position defender. The weakness that I've noticed is at times he can disappear and not assert himself for whatever reason.

Dominic Cheek's strengths are his scoring ability and length for his position. His weaknesses are his lack of physicality and defense.

Lance Stephenson's strengths are his physical strength, aggressive mind-set, pull-up jumper and one-on-one ability on both sides of the ball. His weakness is his inability to control his emotions.

As far as outside shooting goes, I'd take Henry off a spot-up catch, Snaer catching off a screen and Stephenson off the dribble.

And in regards to upside, I'd have to take Henry. He has the total package, and as long as his game stays fluid, he should be the best of the bunch.

Snaer is a sleeper. Quite frankly, I was blown away with his play in Las Vegas at the end of the summer.

If Stephenson were to get himself under control and learn to blend in with his teammates for a winning cause, he could be the best. But that is a pretty big "if."

Big impact?

What type of impact do you expect Nate Lubick to have in the Big East, and what do you think of Georgetown's 2010 class so far? Also ... would you classify Roscoe Smith as a one-and-done type player?

-- LJ from Jersey City, N.J.
Lubick will be a solid contributor for Georgetown. I don't see him being a dominating, big-impact player, but he will fit into the Hoyas' style of play because he is a cerebral player with a solid skill set and adequate athleticism.

Georgetown's other 2010 prospect, Markel Starks, is an upper-level, four-star prospect who brings a lot of the same qualities to the court as a point guard that Jonathan Wallace did. Starks is tough, composed and skilled. Basically he has a chance to be a more talented version of Wallace.

Smith is a five-star talent, but not an elite talent. I expect him to be in school for multiple years. His body needs to develop and he has room to improve his skills. I love his upside, though.

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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