March 30, 2011

Ask the experts: McDonald's thoughts

MORE EXPERTS: Coaching fires | Hokie snub | March basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.

What player has been the most pleasant surprise in practices this week?

Bossi: Memphis signee Adonis Thomas and the development he shows on offense is not something that I expected to see. Even as recently as December it looked as if he was more of a power small forward. He's still got power, but both his jumper and ballhandling look to be significantly improved.

Meyer: Adonis Thomas has shot the ball at a much higher level than expected. In fact, his overall skill level has been impressive. Just like Thomas, Mike Gilchrist has shot the ball well, and his overall play has more than justified his elite status as a prospect. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, along with Thomas, has improved his stock as much as any prospect here.

And which player has been the biggest disappointment this week in practices?

Bossi: Making the McDonald's All-American game is certainly an achievement so it's probably not fair to call any player here a disappointment. However, it was a bit surprising to see Johnny O'Bryant seem a bit out of condition and content to shoot bad turnarounds rather than use his power to grind away at the hoop.

Meyer: Marquis Teague is just so physically gifted, I'd love to also see him energize his team and make his teammates better. Unfortunately, I can't say that I have seen that. It's not that he has played poorly. I just have always wanted to see him galvanize his team to higher levels.

What's the one-on-one matchup you're dying to see happen in the McDonald's All-American Game?

Bossi: There's not a better one-on-one duel/rivalry in high school basketball than the one between Austin Rivers and Brad Beal. The two have always gone at each other aggressively and they are both very skilled scorers. Makes for a fun matchup.

Meyer: The closest ranking matchup by position is Mike Gilchrist and LeBryan Nash. Both are expected to start at the small forward position for their teams. Also Austin Rivers and Brad Beal will likely face off at the shooting guard position. Those two are known for their intense battles against each other.

What non-invited player would you really like to have seen compete with this elite group this week?

Bossi: The guy that I would really liked to have seen is Jabari Brown. Solid from the perimeter, it would have been nice to see how the rest of his game has developed since last summer.

Meyer: Josiah Turner is a borderline elite prospect and should be in this game. Turner is in the five-star range with Teague and Myck Kabongo, and there are a couple four-star point guards who made the game over him.

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