October 4, 2007

Meyer's Mailbag: Has Monroe found a fit?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Sep 27: Next great UNC guard?
Sep 20: Who's next for KU?
With Greg Monroe heading into the first of five possible official visits, who is the leader for the top-ranked prospect in the Rivals150?

Also, what is going on with Willie Warren's recruitment and with Terrence Jennings' as well?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Leader for Monroe?

Who appears to be the leader for Greg Monroe now that he has eliminated three schools from his list?

-- Sean from Scranton, Pa.
Everything I'm hearing below the surface points to Georgetown as the leader. I'm not saying that's where Monroe will go, but I do believe Georgetown is the leader going into the visits.

An extremely bright student, Monroe will place a heavy emphasis on academics. Georgetown certainly meets that criterion, although Georgetown isn't the only strong academic school on Monroe's list. In addition, Hoyas coach John Thompson III has made a positive impression on the Monroe camp.

Lastly, Georgetown's Princeton-style offense fits Monroe's skill set perfectly. Monroe is comfortable working in the high post and is a terrific passer who can anchor this style of offense. It also doesn't hurt that Georgetown has a great track record for developing skilled post players.

Duke is right up there with Georgetown. Monroe has grown up admiring Duke's program, and Duke certainly has the academic reputation Monroe desires.

I believe LSU has a lot of work to do on Monroe's upcoming visit. I have a feeling the Tigers still are in the hunt because of the pressure of them being the in-state school.

I'd handicap Texas and Connecticut as dark horses in this race. Texas has the success of Kevin Durant to sell, and there is a Louisiana connection in Austin with DJ Augustin. UConn has spent a good deal of time recruiting Monroe, and UConn's ability to send players - specifically post players - to the NBA speaks for itself.

All five schools have a legitimate shot at Monroe, but in the end I suspect it will come down to Georgetown and Duke.

Subject to change without notice

Where does the recruitment of Willie Warren stand? I heard he recently cut down his list, but who do you think is in the lead for his services?

-- Tim from New York
Warren has official visits scheduled to Oklahoma for "Midnight Madness," then is scheduled to go to Kansas the following weekend. Based on that, I'd have to go with those two schools as his favorites. But as those of us who have followed Warren's recruitment know, things can change from day to day.

Warren's mother, Malaika Warren, summed it up when I spoke with her Wednesday.

"Willie is getting ready to take his two visits, but as far as narrowing down his school list, we discussed it but never put anything down,' he said. "He's been so up and down with his recruitment, I'm just letting him have some fun with it right now. So I don't want to say how many schools or what schools it is down to because it might change tomorrow."

State of the Spartans

From the 2007 recruiting class, it seems Michigan State gains three talented freshman Durrell Summers, Kalin Lucas and Chris Allen. Which of the three do you see making an immediate impact? Similarly, which one do you see leaving for the NBA first? Lastly, from the 2009 recruiting class on, it seems as though Spartans coach Tom Izzo has shifted his recruiting to the South, mainly Georgia. Why is this, and what do you think of some of Izzo's targets, Ari Stewart and Richard Howell?

-- Jacob from East Lansing
Michigan State does add three talented four-star prospects to the lineup this season, and I expect all three to play important roles for the Spartans.

I expect Allen to make the biggest impact early. He has a mature scoring game from the wing and can shoot the ball with range. Michigan State needs a player like Allen to take some perimeter scoring pressure off Drew Neitzel.

Lucas should get some quality minutes at point guard, but it is going to be tough for him to beat out the experienced Travis Walton. Lucas has more offensive firepower, but Walton is a strong defender and takes care of the ball.

Summers isn't as polished as Allen and Lucas, but he is a wing player with the athleticism and length to work his way into the rotation at small forward. It wouldn't surprise me to see Izzo play Raymar Morgan a great deal at power forward and go with a smaller, quicker lineup with his plethora of perimeter players.

I don't see any of these freshmen leaving too early for the NBA, although each has NBA potential. I'd suspect that if one did leave early, it would be Allen.

In regard to the focus on Southern prospects in 2009, Izzo opened a door in the loaded Atlanta area by landing Allen. It just so happens Stewart and Howell play for the same travel team (The Worldwide Renegades) as Allen.

Final four

What is the latest news on Terrence Jennings? Does Kentucky have a shot?

-- Don from Cincinnati
Jennings, the No. 15 prospect in the Rivals150 and the No. 5 power forward, is settling in at Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame after transferring from Durham (N.C.) Mt. Zion. Notre Dame assistant Josh Daeche said Jennings is assimilating well and is focused on improving his academic standing.

As far as his recruitment goes, there has been a lull since his transfer. Jennings told Rivals.com on Wednesday that he might wait until after the early signing period to make a decision. He does have a four-school list: Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Connecticut.

It's tough to get a gauge on Jennings' recruitment. His list has fluctuated a great deal over the past several months, and there is uncertainty as to how hard he is being recruited by the schools he is listing since his decommitment from Maryland.

Kentucky was on Jennings' short list just before his original commitment, and UK is the only school on his list that also was on the list before that short-lived commitment. Based on this, you have to think Kentucky is firmly in the mix.

Australian influence

Who are some of the incoming international recruits to watch for this season?

-- Adam from Gallatin, Tenn.
Australian Andrew Ogilvy is certainly one to keep an eye on this season. Ogilvy, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound center, should anchor the middle for Vanderbilt this season and could be the inside presence Vandy has lacked over the years.

Ogilvy isn't overly athletic, but he is physically strong, highly skilled and an intelligent basketball player. In the FIBA U-19 World Championship this summer in Serbia, Ogilvy was the third-leading scorer and rebounder in the event, averaging 22.3 points and 9.8 rebounds as Australia finished fifth.

Ogilvy's passing ability and basketball IQ are perfect for coach Kevin Stallings' system, and he should also give the Commodores some points in the paint. He will have to adjust to the speed and athleticism of the American game.

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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