Mailbag: Secret to Gottfrieds success

MORE: N.C. State lands twins
The 'Gottfather'
Can you talk about what Mark Gottfried has been able to do on the recruiting trail at N.C. State?
-- Nick, Raleigh (via email)
What the "Gottfather" is accomplishing in Raleigh is definitely something to be talked about. When he and his staff landed three McDonald's All-Americans in the class of 2012, some saw it as a fluke.
Then he got 2013 started off with five-star Anthony Barber and people started to take a little more notice. Wednesday night, Gottfried and the Pack dipped into the class of 2014 to grab twins Caleb Martin and Cody Martin who rank No. 40 and No. 42 nationally, respectively, in the class of 2014. Clearly, N.C. State recruiting isn't a fluke. It's for real and it's one of the bigger stories that there is on the recruiting trail.
Aging well
You wrote earlier this week about who you would pick for the USA Basketball 16U team. During that you mentioned that there were some players who will miss the age cutoff. Which of those players was most impressive?
-- Don, San Francisco (via email)
You are correct. Of the 45 or so players in Colorado Springs for USA Basketball's minicamp, 11 of them were born in 1996, which makes them ineligible for the 16 and under team next summer. It's tough to pick an exact favorite because they all fared well. Guys such as guards Isaiah Briscoe, Tyler Dorsey and Perry Dozier and big men Stephen Zimmerman and DeRon Davis played up to their reputations for the most part.
The one guy who really caught my attention, though, was 6-foot-4 combo guard Charles Matthews from Chicago (Ill.) St. Rita's. The sophomore is a polished scorer who gets to the rim quickly and does a better job of finishing in traffic than you might expect somebody with his relatively slight frame to do. But, Matthews' scoring wasn't what stood out. What stood out were his greatly improved ball skills, slick passing and potential to be an outstanding defensive player. Matthews was already a safe bet to be one of the early four-star prospects in the class of 2015. Now, I think we need to seriously consider him for early five-star status.
Noah's lark
Is there anything new on Noah Vonleh?
-- Anonymous, (via email)
Since his decision to re-classify to the class of 2013, the speculation regarding the 6-foot-8 five-star combo forward from New Hampton (N.H.) Prep has produced one heck of a rollercoaster ride. One second North Carolina is the team to beat. The next it's an Indiana and Ohio State affair. Then all of the sudden it's Syracuse that is out in front, and the Orange are currently the hottest name on the Vonleh heard-it-through-the-grapevine circuit.
Bottom line is that there isn't much concrete about Vonleh just yet. Here is what we do know: Vonleh is likely to take a Friday night visit to Syracuse for its version of Midnight Madness. Also, after taking the standardized test last weekend, he'll be looking to set up official visits sooner than later. Finally, he's supposed to be settling in on an exact list of schools in the near future.
Vegas a good bet?
Who do you think is in the lead at the moment for Jermaine Lawrence (class of 2013)? Do you think UNLV could be considered a real contender to steal him away from the East Coast?
-- StevieVegas (via rivals message board)
The recruitment of the 6-foot-9 five-star forward is one that I expect will run on into at least the spring. If I had to pick a leader, I couldn't. But, there are three schools that seem to be generating the most heat with Lawrence behind the scenes and they include your Rebels, along with Syracuse and St. John's. The Rebels have put in a ton of work and will definitely get a visit out of Lawrence but the question will be whether or not they can lure him away from the East Coast and away from programs that are formidable foes on the recruiting trail.
UK no-no?
Is the other shoe ever going to drop on Kentucky? With so many guys having one-and-done aspirations, aren't conflicting agendas eventually going to be an issue?
-- Greg, Gainesville (via email)
Well, opposing fans are sure hoping that happens sometime soon. John Calipari and the Wildcats have had four straight No. 1 classes and appear well on their way to a fifth one in a row. Along the way they've won a national championship and put numerous players into the first round of the NBA Draft with the majority of them being one-and-done players.
Of those first four recruiting classes, only three have hit the floor yet and the results have been an Elite Eight, a Final Four and a national championship. So, it would seem that conflicting agendas have yet to be a problem.The management of egos is perhaps the most impressive part of what the UK staff has been doing. Where I think we could see them start to have some trouble is if a couple of these expected one-and-done guys doesn't make it and then starts pressing to get his shots and get out in the draft. But, given that a problem like that has yet to arise, I don't think it's fair to expect it to happen.
Click Here to view this Link.