October 18, 2007

Meyer's Mailbag: Questions impact IU recruiting

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Oct 12: Class projections
Oct 4: Has Monroe found a fit?
Is there a problem with the methodology of Duke's recruiting?

How will the latest news concerning Indiana affect the Hoosiers' recruiting?

Where does Georgetown's 2008 recruiting class stack up with the rest of the country now that the Hoyas landed Greg Monroe.

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Timing is everything

Duke only targets a handful of recruits every year. Does that approach seem arrogant to recruits, and how severe is the impact of a high priority recruit (Greg Monroe) committing elsewhere?

-- Jeb from Mechanicsburg
Perhaps the fact that Duke does only target a handful of recruits every year could be construed as arrogant. Certainly Duke's detractors look at it this way. As for the recruits, it can run two ways. First of all, it is perceived as an honor to be recruited by Duke because they have so few targets. However, it can also appear presumptuous of Duke in that it looks like they expect a recruit to automatically commit to them if they are one of their few targets.

The real issue here is that Duke is going to have to adjust to the times in recruiting. The playing field is leveling out, and prospects are less and less concerned with the name on the front of the jersey. Prospects want early playing time in a fast-paced system that will help get them to the NBA. More than anything, the recruiting process has accelerated to the point that waiting late in the game to offer prospects really hurts a team's chances.

Duke probably needs to recruit more prospects in case it does miss on some top targets. Duke also probably needs to offer prospects earlier in their careers. By waiting, other schools can get the jump on prospects and develop a relationship that can't necessarily be overcome not even by Duke.

Losing Monroe to Georgetown certainly hurts Duke because they have no back-up plan, as far as I can tell. It also hurts because Duke was perceived as the front-runner for much of Monroe's recruitment.

Adding insult to injury, Monroe committed before he took his official visit to Duke.

IU uncertainty

How much do you think this latest round of sanctions will hurt the Hoosiers recruiting effort?

-- Dennis from Kokomo
The sanctions are a problem. Even more of a problem is the public perception of coach Kelvin Sampson's program.

Only time will tell, but the Hoosier nation is being split apart due to the latest report of illegal phone calls to recruits. There is a fear that there is more to this story than has been publicly revealed at this point.

Regardless of how the Indiana situation washes out, there are major questions about poor judgment and the fear that more penalties could arise during a recruit's career. The most important thing for Indiana is to find closure to this situation. Recruits need to be confident of what they are getting into if they attend Indiana.

The impact this controversy will have on recruits will play out on an individual basis. Some prospects will find the situation more disturbing than others, but none of them will find it comforting.

Ranking the current classes

Loved the column on recruiting rankings projections. There seemed to be a ton of commitments over the weekend. Would be interested in seeing your top-5 projected recruiting rankings.

-- Steve from Louisville
Since you're a Louisville fan, Steve, I'll stretch the list to seven so it includes your Cardinals. Note that this list is based on committed prospects at this moment without any projecting of where uncommitted prospects might end up.

7. Louisville - Samardo Samuels No. 7, Terrence Jennings No. 15, Melquan Bolding No. 147, Kyle Kuric three-star

6. Arizona - Brandon Jennings No. 8, Emmanuel Negedu No. 31, Jeff Withey No. 39, Brendon Lavender three-star

5. Ohio State - B.J. Mullens No. 4, William Buford No. 19, Walter Offutt No. 101, Anthony Crater three-star

4. Wake Forest - Al-Farouq Aminu No. 11, Tony Woods No. 18, Ty Walker No. 24

3. Florida - Eloy Vargas No. 10, Kenny Kadji No. 17, Allan Chaney No. 96, Erving Walker No. 131, Ray Shipman No. 141

2. Georgetown - Greg Monroe No. 1, Chris Braswell No. 63, Henry Sims No. 64, Jason Clark No. 89

1. UCLA - Jrue Holiday No. 3, Jerime Anderson No. 48, Drew Gordon No. 50, Malcolm Lee No. 51

High ceiling for Hoyas

Obvious question, where does the commitment of Greg Monroe put the Hoyas' 2008 recruiting class (rankings). Also, with another available scholarship do you see John Thompson III and Co. taking another '08 recruit or saving it for one of the '09 (prospects) they had at Midnight Madness?

-- Geraud from Milwaukee
After a little bit of waffling as to whether UCLA or Georgetown should be No. 1, I slid Georgetown into the No. 2 spot (see above). Both classes are extremely strong and headlined by the top prospect at his position. Monroe is the top power forward and Jrue Holiday is the No. 1 point guard. Monroe and Holiday also have the ability to play other positions. In addition, Monroe is the best passing big man in the class. Holiday is the best perimeter defender in the class.

The one thing that takes a little glitter off both classes is that they both have positional overlap. Georgetown is three deep at power forward, and UCLA is three deep at guard. However, UCLA can easily play three of its guards together and potentially play all three at the same time. Holiday has the strength to match up on a lot of threes, and Malcolm Lee looks to still be growing. Georgetown could play two of their forwards at the four and the five, but it would be very difficult to play all three of them at the same time in the Hoyas' system.

So basically, the ability of UCLA to play all four of its recruits at the same time - and the fact that their recruits' rankings average out higher than Georgetown's - give UCLA the edge.

Georgetown just lost out on four-star small forward Renaldo Woolridge to Tennessee, so the Hoyas will likely wait it out with another small forward, Wesley Witherspoon. He has indicated that he will wait until the spring signing period.

Another possibility for Georgetown is four-star forward Augustus Gilchrist. The former Virginia Tech signee and local product is looking to enroll after the first semester and was in attendance at Georgetown's "Midnight Madness" event.

Plan B

How is LSU going to retaliate after the huge loss of Greg Monroe? Who are we after?

-- TJ from Baton Rouge
Losing the No. 1 prospect out of its home state does have to sting the LSU basketball program. But all along, LSU new it would be a tough battle, if not an uphill battle, to keep Monroe in state. The loss is not a shocker, and the Tigers will move on now.

The focus of their recruiting efforts is directed towards five-star center J'Mison Morgan of Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff High School. LSU didn't land Morgan's teammate Darrell Arthur - who chose Kansas - but LSU appears to be in good shape with Morgan. Alabama looks like LSU's main competition for Morgan. The big fellow is also considering UCLA, Kansas and Baylor, and will take a visit to Cincinnati this weekend.

LSU presently has 2008 commitments from four-star small forward Delwan Graham and three-star power forward Dennis Harris.

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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