December 26, 2008

Meyer's Mailbag: Wear twins primed to impact ACC?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Dec 20: Can local star's impact last?
Dec 11: Freshmen making early impact
Dec 4: Illini building a contender?
A beefed-up David Wear and Travis Wear helped lead Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei to a repeat championship at the City of Palms Classic. What type of players can UNC fans expect to get next year?

Maryland hasn't brought in any high-powered recruiting classes since winning a national championship in 2002. Maryland fans want to know why.

And does Memphis have a backup plan for recruiting a point guard if the Tigers can't land John Wall?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Bulked up

We saw new pictures of the Wear twins and they look like they have hit the weights very hard recently. They looked significantly bigger than their pics from the Team USA experience. Can you give us an update of how big they are now and how they are progressing as post players?

-- John from Charlotte, N.C.
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John, you asked this question several months ago, but I wanted to wait to answer it until I saw David Wear and Travis Wear play at the City of Palms Classic.

Yes, both have bulked up to around 215 pounds. Based on the rate of their development and the size of their dad, I'd expect them to put on at least 10 more pounds. At the City of Palms they used their added size well, playing physical around the basket.

What also impressed me from the City of Palms was their poise with the basketball. In the open court both players made sound decisions, their outlet passes were sharp and they had a purpose with the ball in the low post. Most effective down low was David, who scored a number of buckets with a quick left-handed jump hook. Both of them also made midrange jumpers, but I don't think that is their bread and butter.

At North Carolina, I expect to see one of them on the court at a time as either the 4 or 5. Playing them together is a possibility if the opposition is not too athletic up front. Expect them to be solid players at UNC, but I wouldn't expect them to be stars. They will provide depth to coach Roy Williams' high-powered attack and have the type of games to play a valuable role on a winning team.

No top-ranked Terps

I would like to know what factors are playing into Maryland's inability to recruit? Please expand beyond the mere lack of building after that championship.

-- Rich from Silver Spring, Md.
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I can't tell you how many times I've been asked this question and have always avoided answering it. Here is the best answer from what I can gather: Coach Gary Williams doesn't care as much about recruiting highly ranked prospects as the Maryland fans care.

Williams is an old-school, coach's coach who thrives on coaching up lesser-regarded players who have a chip on their shoulders in the quest to upend the "bigger dogs" in the ACC. Dealing with handlers and players with overinflated senses of themselves is just not his cup of tea.

Remember, Williams won a national championship in 2002 with a team composed of castoffs like Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter, who developed into excellent players during their time at Maryland. It doesn't look like Williams has any plans to change his mode of operation at this point.

Backup plan

Looking at how [Memphis'] point guard situation is shaping up this year, what are our chances with Wall? And if he decides to stay close to home, does [coach John] Calipari have any alternatives to the PG situation?

-- Brandon from Chicago
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Memphis has a shot at John Wall, the country's No. 1-ranked point guard, as do a handful of other shots. In a perfect recruiting storm for Memphis, Wall and DeMarcus Cousins end up with the Tigers. Instantly, Memphis then becomes an odds-on favorite to win the national championship next season.

As for an alternative for the point guard position, Memphis has its eyes on Eric Bledsoe, the second-highest rated available point guard. A senior at Birmingham (Ala.) Parker High School, Bledsoe also has Alabama, UAB, Baylor and Florida pursuing him.

Strong with the basketball, a physical defender and a competitor with a feel for the game, Bledsoe is the No. 12-ranked point guard in the country. As evidence of his strong all- around play, Bledsoe registered 29 points, nine rebounds, six assists, six steals and four blocks in his game Saturday night.

Looking at Lamb

Do you see Tyler Lamb being a five-star prospect when it's all said and done? Does he project to be a more athletic Arron Afflalo?

-- Jay from Los Angeles
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I don't necessarily foresee Lamb moving into the five-star range as a prospect, but his solid all-around game as a shooting guard will likely push him up higher in the four-star range. Lamb is a physical shooting guard at around 6-3 or 6-4. He is a good secondary ball-handler, has potential to be defensive stopper, rebounds his position well and although he isn't a prolific scorer, he can score in a variety of ways when called upon.

He is similar to Afflalo in that he is close to Afflalo's height and is headed to UCLA. The difference between the two is that Lamb will probably not be a go-to scorer like Afflalo, who averaged 16.9 points in his last season at UCLA. But the more athletic Lamb should be a better defender, rebounder and ball-handler at UCLA than Afflalo. Afflalo averaged 2.8 rebounds his final year and only handed out around two assists per game while turning the ball over around two times per game. I expect Lamb to rebound at a higher clip than Afflalo, have a better assist-to-turnover ratio and be UCLA's top perimeter defender.

Bouncing back

I was wondering if you knew anything about Ferrakohn Hall and his recruiting. I know he was a big prospect over the past summer. What are his offers, if any, looking like?

-- Jerry from Memphis, Tenn.
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Hall had a strong 2007 summer prior to his junior season. His junior season found him waiting to get eligible to play for Memphis White Station after transferring from Memphis University School. After getting on the court for White Station at the end of the playoffs, Hall hit the travel circuit with expectations of establishing himself as a top 50 prospect. Unfortunately, that just didn't happen.

Hall had a subpar summer and actually dropped out of the Rivals150. Beyond questions about him projecting as a tweener at the forward positions, perhaps Hall struggled because he sat out during the high school season or was fighting injury over the summer. Nonetheless, his game lacked focus and he was ineffective.

But this season at White Station, Hall has undergone a rebirth of sorts. He is averaging 19 points and 14 rebounds and is receiving significant recruiting interest. Hall recently told Rivals.com that Purdue has been recruiting him for a long time. Memphis coaches have been keeping up with him and 2010 five-star teammate Joe Jackson. Oregon State wants Hall to visit. And that he is receiving the most attention from UAB and Arkansas. Hall said that he definitely wants to visit both Arkansas and UAB after the season before he makes a decision in the spring.

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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