September 11, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Memphis still getting the talent

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Sept 4: Competition for top class?
Aug 27: Leslie raises his game
Aug 14: Can UK do it again?
New Memphis coach Josh Pastner was able to keep sensational guard Joe Jackson, so where does that place the Tigers' 2010 recruiting class in the national team rankings?

Does the fact Quincy Miller was born in Illinois improve the Illini's chances at recruiting him?

Is elite guard Kyrie Irving a lock for Duke?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Still gathering talent

With the commitment of Joe Jackson, where does Memphis' 2010 class now rank? Top five?

-- Lance from Memphis, Tenn.
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There were a lot of people questioning whether coach Josh Pastner could keep up the recruiting pace at Memphis that his predecessor John Calipari set. At this stage it looks as if Pastner is going to do just fine on the recruiting front.

Add Jackson, the No. 12-ranked prospect in the Rivals150, to shooting guard Will Barton (the No. 11-ranked prospect in the Rivals150) and his brother Antonio Barton (a solid three-star prospect), and Memphis has a 2010 recruiting class that is presently No. 3 in the country.

Only Syracuse, with its four ranked recruits, and Ohio State, with its six ranked recruits, are ahead of Memphis.

More important, they say guard play wins games in March. I can't argue with that assessment, and Memphis now has the most prolific guard combo in place in the 2010 class.

In addition, there is only a miniscule separation between Barton and Jackson and the guards who are ranked ahead of them.

Illinois connection?

I have heard Quincy Miller was born in Illinois. What are the chances of him leaving Tobacco Road and coming to the Illini?

-- Ryan from Sycamore, Ill.
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Miller is originally from Illinois, but that isn't going to help the Illini recruit him. Illinois isn't in the mix.

Miller, however, isn't bound by any geographic boundaries. Duke is a North Carolina school that is in a strong position with Miller, but there are others in the mix as well. Kentucky, Louisville, Baylor and Oregon are also right in the hunt with this elite junior forward.

Summer stars

If you had to pick a player, who would you say made a statement this past summer with their play regardless of class?

-- Adrian from Wilmington
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In my mind four prospects made significant statements as far as proving themselves as players and improving their stock. Ironically, all four are of the hybrid forward nature, which is the second most important type player on the court next to a dynamic playmaking point guard.

The reality, however, is that the skilled hybrid forward can create the same type of scoring opportunities that the playmaking point guard can create.

The four forwards, in alphabetical order, are Tobias Harris, Terrence Jones, C.J. Leslie and Tony Mitchell.

Harris is the best scoring power forward in the 2010 class. His ability to make a variety of shots and also play the role of a distributor and powerful rebounder remind me of Carmelo Anthony.

Jones is the best passer of all the 2010 power forwards. The lefty has top-notch vision and the strength to make any pass on the court. Like Harris, Jones also knows how to get the ball in the basket.

Leslie is one of the most dynamic athletes of the 2010 power forwards and is the best shot blocker of the bunch. His improved focus and competitive desire were the two most impressive aspects of his game this summer. Also a strong ballhandler and creator, Leslie will become an elite prospect if he improves his finishing ability.

Mitchell is the prospect who came into the summer with the least notoriety, but he finished the summer as a five-star prospect. He has NBA athleticism, an explosive first step to the basket and the potential to be an NBA-level wing scorer.

Irving to Duke?

Jerry, I am now convinced that Kyrie Irving is going to Duke. Am I right? Please say no.

-- Jay from Bloomington, Ind.
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I'm not saying I'm convinced he is going to Duke, Jay. I certainly am not saying no, however. In fact, based on recent quotes by Irving after his in-home visit with coach Mike Krzyzewski and my intuition throughout the process, I do think it is likely Irving ends up at Duke.

One thing to note is that Irving's first official visit is to Duke, and he has made it clear that if he feels Duke is the right fit on his visit he will forego his other official visits with Indiana and Texas A&M. Most often prospects say they will take all their visits, and even then, they very often cut the process short when they find what they are looking for with a particular program.

Harrow's impact

How do you think Ryan Harrow will do in the ACC next year?

-- Adam from Marietta, Ga.
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I expect Harrow to do quite well. He has one of the more unique scoring games for a small point guard that I've seen. Harrow is capable of having the same impact on the ACC that Tyrese Rice had at Boston College.

In other words, I have no concerns about Harrow's offense. It is simply electric. The concern is on the defensive end. Harrow has the quickness to defend. The question is whether he will have the physical strength to defend. Hopefully he is in the weight room and hitting the buffet to get himself ready for his freshman season.

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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