May 15, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Will Ross remain No. 1 in 2011?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 8: Stephenson to Tucson?
May 2: UL looks to replace lost big man
Apr 9: Big names waiting on Wall
What is the latest with elite prospect LaQuinton Ross and the No. 1 spot in the 2011 rankings?

What type of impact will Villanova's two 2010 commitments have when they join the program?

Where does North Carolina State commitment Ryan Harrow stack up with the rest of the 2010 point guards?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
No. 1 on the shelf

I haven't been hearing much about LaQuinton Ross lately. Is he still ahead of Anthony Wroten Jr. and Mike Gilchrist in the 2011 rankings?

-- Specs from Albany, N.Y.
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You haven't heard much about Ross because he has been out all spring with a severely sprained ankle. He is recovering fine, however, and is expected to be in action on Memorial Day weekend.

Presently, Ross is No. 1 in the 2011 rankings, but he is certainly being pressured for that top spot by Mike Gilchrist. Young for his class, Gilchrist is rapidly expanding his game to go along with his terrific athleticism and big-time motor. He is slashing to the basket off crossover moves going either direction and is knocking down 3-pointers.

Ross, who is old for his class, still has a superior skill level to Gilchrist and more length, but he isn't as strong as Gilchrist and doesn't play with the same level of intensity as Gilchrist.

Two other elite prospects who are pushing to move up the ranking are guards Austin Rivers and Marquis Teague. The 2011 class, as a whole, is shaping up to be a strong class, both in terms of star power and depth.

Williams to GU?

What's the scoop on Latavious Williams? I heard he had a visit to Georgetown last weekend. I've also heard he may not have the grades to get into Georgetown. Can you give me any scoop?

-- Scott from Pittsburgh
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Here is what I can give you. Williams is actually on a Georgetown visit right now. The scheduled visit last weekend was postponed because of Mother's Day.

Williams' academic standing isn't on the firmest ground. He is still working on his core curriculum and still needs a qualifying test score. So there is definitely the possibility that a commitment from the five-star forward could be fool's gold if Williams doesn't get to where he needs to be academically. If Williams doesn't qualify academically, he likely will play in Europe next year.

Presently, Florida International, Georgetown, Kansas State and Memphis are on Williams' school list, and Georgetown is in the best position to land Williams at this point. Williams' camp likes the structure of the Georgetown program both on and off the court and the strong record of developing forwards. If Williams qualifies but can't get into Georgetown, don't be shocked if he ends up at Florida International.

Breaking down Marshall

I'm confused after watching many videos of Kendall Marshall and seeing his ability to pass, penetrate and simply run a team. I can only see him as a five-star prospect and a top-15 talent. Can you talk about why he has declined in the rankings, and can you see him moving back up in the future?

-- Jordan from Cary, N.C.
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Marshall certainly is a high-level passer and has a great feel for running a team. In fact, it is those abilities that vaulted him to such a high ranking as a rising sophomore. Marshall also got a lot of exposure as a rising sophomore running the point for the Boo Williams 17-under squad that summer.

It is not that Marshall has gotten worse since then. It is just that he is pretty much the same player, except for a couple inches, that he was then. Other prospects have been discovered or developed over this time, and Marshall has slid down some in the rankings.

Marshall is a very capable high-major point guard, but there are questions about his foot speed, especially on the defensive end. An improvement in his foot speed could push him back up in the rankings.

A closer look

What kind of impact will rising seniors James Bell and Markus Kennedy have in the Big East for Villanova when they arrive?

-- Chris from New Jersey
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Let's start with Bell. A highly athletic wing player, Bell made a big jump from the bottom of the four-star range to the top of the four-star range in the latest rankings. Over his junior season at Montverde (Fla.) Academy, Bell made huge strides under the tutelage of coach Kevin Sutton.

Ever since Bell emerged on the national scene as a rising freshman, he has had terrific athleticism and a strong physical build. He was a streaky shooter with some range, but he struggled handling the basketball and making decisions with the ball. Where he excelled was playing along the baseline, where he could get to the basket quickly and elevate over people.

Over the years, Bell gradually improved but not in any significant way. But then this year, his ballhandling and decision-making drastically improved and he became a much more consistent shooter. Basically, it looked like the light finally came on and Bell started playing like a player who "gets it."

He might have another learning curve once he gets in the Big East, and there will be some wing players ahead of him on the roster at Villanova, but I really think the small forward position is his for the taking at Villanova.

Kennedy doesn't have the star potential that Bell has because Kennedy just isn't that athletic. But the post player has a mature game and is physically strong. His skill set and comfort with the ball are impressive for a big man, and he should be able to contribute early for Villanova.

Harrow impresses

Ryan Harrow seems to be having a very good spring. Where does he rank among 2010 point guards?

-- Barry from Durham, N.C.
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I left Atlanta last weekend extremely impressed with Harrow. As a scout who watches a lot of basketball, and often not-so-good basketball, it is quite refreshing to come across a talented player like Harrow. Yes, he is awful small at only 150 pounds, but that is part of what makes him fun to watch.

Harrow is as slippery with the ball as they come, and he is a big-time shot-maker. He also has a special feel for the game and sees the court as a passer while being a constant threat to score. In other words, he keeps constant pressure on the defense.

On the other side of the ball, Harrow will need to get stronger to defend high-level ACC guards, but he has quick feet, good hands and instincts as a defender. I expect him to rack up a bunch of steals at NC State, although he might run into some matchup problems with bigger guards.

Presently, Harrow is ranked No. 25 overall and No. 6 as a point guard, and there is the potential for him to move up the rankings.

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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