January 21, 2011

Ask the experts: Rising fast in 2012

MORE EXPERTS: Teams to watch | Cronin finds talent

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.

What 2012 recruit is beginning to gain steam?

Bossi: Tony Parker really sticks out for me. The 6-foot-8 center at Lithonia (Ga.) Miller Grove has really impressed me with his improved conditioning, developing skill and workmanlike approach. He's the rare big guy accepting that being a big guy isn't a bad thing and he's as dominant a rebounder as I've seen this winter. Duke, Ohio State, Tennessee, Memphis, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, West Virginia and several others are making him a priority for good reason.

Meyer: Houston (Texas) Strake Jesuit shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon is emerging as the top recruit out of the very talented Houston region. Playing this summer with the Houston Hoops, Sulaimon had a lot of people thinking that he was as good, if not better than his more heralded 2012 teammates, L.J. Rose and J-Mychal Reese. That momentum has continued through the high school season as Sulaimon now has offers from Duke and North Carolina to go with offers from all the Texas schools and others.

Are there any shaky coaching situations that are starting to play out in the recruiting world?

Bossi: That's not exactly an easy question to answer. Of course the start of who is on the hot seat and who isn't has started up on the recruiting trail. There will only be more as we near the end of the season. Additionally, over the past few years schools have started to release recruits from LOI's when coaches get fired so monitoring players that could eventually be available is definitely something that many staffs do - whether they will admit to it or not. However, it's also one of those things that you can't really speculate about openly in a position like this.

Meyer: I haven't noticed a correlation yet between any coaching job insecurities and recruiting woes. Right now both recruits and coaches are primarily concerned with their present on-court performances. Once the season begins to wrap up and the uncertainty of a coach maintaining his job become palpable then a more direct effect on recruiting will be evident.

How early is too early to start recruiting a prospect?

Bossi: That's a really good question. Personally, I don't think people should be on the recruiting radar until they are at least in high school. All of these middle school and elementary school camps have blown up over the past few years because they are stressing "exposure" to kids and parents. There have been college coaches buying into having to know about these young guys. Too much will change with kids during those developmental years to worry about them before they get to high school.

Meyer: I'm not sure how you pinpoint a specific age or grade as being the marker for when the recruiting process should begin. Common sense and human decency, I guess, should be the guidelines. So a coach needs to be sensitive to the maturity of the prospect and what is best for the prospect. Getting badgered as a recruit at a young age can't be good for him. And the fact is that turning the heat up too early on a recruit is only going to cause a problem for both parties in the end. A lot can change over the course of a high school year.

Who is a big-name prospect you've been disappointed in after seeing live this winter?

Bossi: I don't think disappointment is the proper word to use here because we are talking about high schoolers. However, I've been a bit surprised that Ben McLemore hasn't had more of a productive season at Oak Hill. I think the move was a necessary one for him and will be good for his long-term development, but like he often was with the St. Louis Eagles in the summer, I think the 6-foot-5 wing has been a bit too deferential to teammates at times. He's got too much talent to not be more aggressive with his offense and make more of an impact.

Meyer: I've seen Southborough (Mass.) St. Mark's play twice this year and 2012 five-star prospects Alex Murphy and Kaleb Tarczewski just haven't had the same pop to their game that they had during the travel season playing for the New England Playaz. Both prospects were outstanding when I watched them on the travel circuit. Prospects can't play their best every time out, and it is very possible I caught them on a couple off games.

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