Friday, July 31, 2009

Class of 2010 rankings: 21-25

After a long summer, the National Hoops Report is ready to unveil it's top 25 players in the class of 2010. Over the next week, we'll release our picks for the top players in the country. We start with 21 to 25.

21. Cameron Clark, SF, Sherman (Texas) High School

A big scoring wing with substantial upside. Could develop into a good-looking pro prospect after two years of college. A lot of raw tools to work with.

22. Kendall Marshall, PG, Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell

One of the best conductors of talent in the class. Absolutely knows how to run a team. Gritty performer in the clutch. Improved his body and has the strength to compete from Day One.


23. Terrence Jones, PF, Portland (Ore.) Jefferson (pictured)

Combo forward that can over power smaller defenders from the wing to rim or take bigger posts to wing. Can shoot the long-ball and can handle the rock well for a big player.

24. Keala King, PG, Compton (Calif.) Dominguez

Great size at the point position (6-4). Heady passer. Great feel in the backcourt. Can score from deep but can attack with the dribble. Good-looking long-term prospect.

25. Justin Coleman, SF, Richmond (Va.) Henrico

NBA-size (6-4, 215) and great athleticism. Raw prospect that is just beginning his climb from prospect to big-time player. Scary to think what he could be down the road.

Monday, July 27, 2009

How is your top 25 looking in 2010?

The National Hoops Report is on the road for one last tournament. The last stop is Orlando for the AAU 17 and under Nationals.

After the event, the top 25 (and maybe even some more) will be reshuffled and released.

Could there be a new number one player? Who will crack into the top 10 national rankings? I have a good idea but want to see guys like Jared Sullinger, Adrien Payne and Kyrie Irving at the Milk House in Orlando first.

In the meantime, let's hear your top 10, your top 25, etc. All opinions are welcomed.

Fire away.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Back from Vegas...

...and the National Hoops Report top 25 list for the class of 2010 is about to re-shuffled. There were a number of notable performances that were statements. With one more trip to go (Orlando for the 17 and under Nationals), the updates are coming soon.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just a Minute with Rob Harrington of Prep Stars

Rob Harrington enters his tenth year of traveling the country for Prep Stars. He’s one of most respected voices in the high school recruiting world. Harrington can wax poetic better than anyone in the business. He is one of the most respected voices in the high school and grassroots arena. Harrington is also the finest judge of talent in the Las Vegas hotel arena. His ability to find a deal in Sin City is only rivaled by

What has been the biggest change you have seen since you started in this business to now as you head into your 10th year on the circuit?

“When I first started recruiting coverage was still somewhat of a novelty. You still had to hunt for recruiting information. The difference now is that you kind of have to fight it off. Newspapers now have full-time people that just cover recruiting now like Jody Demling. Now you have all of these blogs and everyone is writing about recruiting. Now the question is not where to find it but more so which people can you trust with that kind of information.”

Prep Stars is one of the few print publications still standing in the recruiting landscape. How hard is it for you guys to stay balanced with both your magazine and your .com ventures?

“We think of them as two totally different products, which they are. You have to. With print readers, they probably aren’t getting information on their Blackberrys or iPhones. The print readers are technology adverse, whether it’s by choice or they just never had access to it. It’s definitely a trust that our readers have with us because they’ve been with the print product for so long. Print and .com are two totally different audiences.”

This is your tenth year covering high school and AAU basketball. Can you talk about how the landscape of that industry has changed since the time you started in it? How big of a monster has it become?

“The question everyone asked when I first got started was ‘How can we the very best event? How can we have the very best publication?’ Money was not an object. It was during the Internet boom. People didn’t worry about how much it would cost to start and run or site. Or how much it would cost to run a tournament. Now the question is ‘How can we trim down our cost? What’s the most efficient way we can do this?’ I don’t want to say there has been a rise and fall in it because the game was expanding when I came into it. I mean, the April period was just then becoming a big deal. Now, and the NCAA has contributed to this, April is more of a money month. There is still a whole lot of basketball out there but I’ve noticed over the last two events that people are worrying less about what they get out of events then they had done before. Now it’s more about doing the job of running an event and maximizing your profits.”

Does it appear that the shoe companies are trying not to paint with such a broad stroke as they have done in the past? Have they narrowed their search to more of the elite top 25, top 35 kids in the country?

“Absolutely. I think part of it has to do with LeBron James and his shoe agreement. I think that had a profound impact on how this business works. He should of, by right, signed with adidas. All throughout his underclassmen days of high school, he wore adidas. They threw all kinds of money at him and none of that mattered. That is what caused a permanent rift between Sonny Vacarro and adidas. I think there is less of a belief that simply having a guy at your camp is going to guarantee that he will sign with you. You now have a smaller network of kids that are all at the same camps and they are comfortable with each other. It’s not really just a quest to get the player to sign with the shoe company anymore.”

What will you be looking at this summer? Any storylines that you are looking forward to watching play out and develop?

“I’m looking for a group of players that are somehow tied together, whether it’s geography or in the same class or something, to just take control of high school basketball again. I feel like the last two years has been like a rudder-less ship. There have been a lot players that have been content to float through only because it’s been easy to just float through. I want some guys or a couple of guys to raise the bar. I want to know if anyone can transcend a week or a tournament. Harrison Barnes is trying to do that. Michael Gilchrist is certainly trying, too. I think those guys can but there needs to be more of them. Especially now. Will there be a huge pop in July? In every other year, there have been those moments in April and July. July is a huge deal again because that’s the only time where college coaches can sit on the sidelines since last summer.”

There seems to be a great debate amongst AAU and college guys about young players playing up in an age group or two. Opinions for both sides are strong. What is yours?

“I like to see a guy playing with his age group. Now, I understand why guys like Michael Gilchrist isn’t playing in the 16 and under group. That would just be stupid. For all of the controversy around him now, look at Derrick Rose. He was very well managed. It drove me nuts because I always wanted to see him ply in the 17 and under division but they took a very introverted approach. They (being his brothers) sheltered him as much as possible and didn’t play against national competition, for the most part, until he was actually 17. It wasn’t until it was the summer before his senior season where the majority of the recruiting world got to see him. It was the first time the casual media saw him. The dedicated guys beat the bushes to find him. I typically do not like 15 and unders playing up. Typically, through the years on the circuit, too much of 17 and under level can make young guys grow lazy and they get cynical. It’s too much, too soon. You don’t worry about guys getting ruined, like what we may have seen (in 2009). There were a lot of headaches (in that class). Those guys were the ones that played up too much, too soon. The knock on them was that they don’t play hard, they don’t compete. They never really got better. Guys got bored. Jeremy Tyler was going down that route. Instead, he went pro. In other sports, we think that is okay. I don’t think it was a great idea but I understand why it happens.”

You mentioned Tyler and his disinterest in school and the process and how he left it all to go play pro. Do you expect us to see maybe two guys next year, four guys the year after that and so on follow suit?

“I think the one-year rule will keep guys stateside. Guys with qualifications issues, like Brandon Jennings, could go. If you are an elite guy where you had to pick between Europe and a junior college, I think you’ll see them go along the lines of playing professionally. I think there are a lot of kids that are intimidated about going abroad. Depending on the situation, it’s a tough move for any player or family to make. Jennings himself complained at length about the life over there. It worked out in the end for him but it very well could have not. If he turns out to be a bust, these kids will notice. The real question is if they changed the rule to two years. If they do that, then I think we’ll some more of an exodus. I don’t think kids want to have to wait that long. I don’ tthink the agents will be waiting to wait either. One year is kind of like ‘Thanks for your one semester and now go pro.’ That’s a joke. Two years, you make them wait a little longer but then you also probably see more pros go be pros. It really is a total mockery. College can change that though. But it’s an NBA rule and I don’t like it. It’s good for fans but I don’t think it’s good for the game. It doesn’t do anything to re-enforce the term student-athlete. Graduation rates are pathetic right now. I would hope this becomes more of a topic for serious discussion with the NBA and the NCAA. If both parties want to really help, they can take steps on improving those graduation rates.”

The NCAA always says they are present and visible during the recruiting periods. As someone that goes everywhere, how often do you see NCAA reps at games?

“I have seen them occasionally. I don’t always get the impression that they know what they are doing. Its kind of like most of them are taking the state trooper approach. They sort of park the car on the median on the interstate so people see you and slow down. I think that’s the effect that they are having. They aren’t stopping anything big. Hypothetically, if you are a college coach and if you wanted to talk to a player’s parent and you think you may have gotten away with it at an event but you see the NCAA guy is there, you just do it later at the hotel or the parking lot. The NCAA is just there but I don’t think them being at these events make anything different. There really is only so much on what they can do. I do think they should be more realistic on what they can and cannot do though. Instead of all of this pie in the sky rhetoric about changing the basketball culture, and a lot of it transcends what the NCAA does, but to be more rigid within their realm. I wish they would stop trying to control things that they can’t control. I think they can make a bigger impact by controlling more on what goes on within their own house. Going to these events is nice but it’s not going to change a thing.”

Do you enjoy rankings? Have they changed the way kids play and the way teams operate?

“I like the rankings. I don’t necessarily think that they are a positive all the time. From my standpoint, I like to compare what I’ve done in previous years. I can see why I got things right, things wrong. I do think looking back because it sharpens you up. I don’t like the fact that rankings control the lives of players and especially the parents.”

Looking back, who do you think you nailed it with and who did you totally miss on?

“One that I got right, I think, is Monta Ellis. I had him number one in 2005 and I don’t know anyone else who did. That was a weak class. Normally he wouldn’t be number one but in that class he was. The kind of career he has had so far has completely legitimized that. It’s funny because they last week I saw him play at the practices at the McDonald’s game, he played pretty poorly. But just thought, based on what I’d seen before, he was the best one. Everyone was excited about Louis Williams and but I thought Monta had a little more variety to his game, more skill, more feel for the game. I was happy about that. As far as getting it wrong, I’m sure I could give you a lot of examples. I’m trying to think of a good one. I totally missed on little Isaiah Thomas at Washington. I had grave concerns about his shot selection and his approach to playing. To his credit, he really played well. I just didn’t know how he’d translate. I saw him dozens of times and I just got it wrong.”

Favorite event in July?: Peach Jam. It’s the best combination of fan support, basketball and venue.
Favorite event during the high school season?: The Beach Ball Classic is funky. It’s conservative South Carolina but it’s Myrtle Beach so it’s an interesting convergence of beach attitude and basketball.
Favorite hotel on the circuit to stay at?: Anything in Vegas. It’s Las Vegas. You go from the over stimulated world of AAU basketball to the much more over stimulated world of casino culture. It gives you something else to think about.
Favorite restaurant?: I’m going to be a total dork here but I always go to the Whole Foods in Henderson, Nevada. It’s the best Whole Foods I’ve ever seen.
Twitter follower?: I have an account but I haven’t posted anything on it. I see it’s value and I watched it’s role in the upheaval in Iran recently. I think it’s useful for basketball but I can’t say I’m into it. I’m always late to these types of things.

One on One with:
Jeff Goodman
Jerry Meyer
Dave Telep

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Just a Minute with Jerry Meyer of

Jerry Meyer is the chief analyst and scout for’s basketball recruiting coverage. The former two-time Mr. Basketball in Tennessee is a two-time All-American and college basketball’s career assist leader. Meyer has been a head high school coach and served as an assistant at Vanderbilt University. Meyer discusses a number of topics in our latest edition of Just a Minute.

How pivotal is July for you in your work and overall ranking of players? What does July mean to a company like

“What makes July exciting is number one, the coaches are out. That sort of heightens the pressure and intensity. The prospects know what is at stake. You’ll usually have some really great match-ups in July. You get to see the best go against the best. With that, you get to differentiate between who is the number two shooting guard and number three shooting guard. You can pick through things and get a clearer idea on how the rankings will play out. I think the players are beginning to understand that. Maybe that started with Kevin Love and Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo. I think the players get more excited about it and what goes on in July. They are getting towards the circuit and the tournaments have a March Madness feel to it, too. It replicates what it is going to be like in college and to me that is what counts. It’s a fun time to scout.”

What March Madness like memories comes to mind about Julys of old?

“A lot of individual plays come to mind for me. Bill Walker blew past Davon Jefferson at half court and then he took off from the free throw line for the dunk. That was fun because of the level of excitement and athleticism that Walker showed. O.J. Mayo’s four point play to beat Gordon and Rose on a phantom foul to win the game was great. He goes over to score table where there is a banner that says, “Where it all gets settled.” That was classic. John Wall just wowed everyone with his athleticism. It seems like that Reebok tournament (in Vegas) always has something. Eric Gordon against Kevin Love’s team bulldozed down the court and had some incredible finishes. The Peach Jam always have great memories. I always seem to go back to that (2007) class. Nick Calathes and Chandler Parsons went off down there. That’s when you saw Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon team up and do something special. You’ve got the shoe camps that kick it all off. The kids are a little nervous because they aren’t with their team but then when they get with their teams, that’s when it’s special. It’s right in the middle of the month and it gets you ready to finish it all off in Vegas and Orlando.”

The class of 2004 was absolute gold. The class of 2007 is outstanding. In your years of doing this, what has been the best class that you’ve evaluated and covered?

“You hit on it. 2004 might be the best. That’s when I started. I was really green and getting my feet wet in it. I didn’t get to appreciate and enjoy that class for what it was. Now looking back in hindsight, it was chalked full of pros. Once I really got my feet wet and got into the business, the 2007 class that I keep going back to. Those guys were really talented but there were some personalities there. And those guys had a level of competitiveness that you don’t see very often. They were very competitive with a lot of pride and ego. I mean that in a very positive way. They took pride in their game. Any time those guys hit the court, they wanted to prove something. They embraced the competitive nature of the game. They wanted to play after each other and compete against each other. They didn’t hide. One thing I’ve learned in this business is how important it is to be competitive in mindset, work ethic and attitude. It’s very important.”

Have you seen a class quite like the 2009 class where it was so dramatic and high maintenance?

“No. I’ve been doing this for seven years now and there are a lot of people that have been doing it longer. I think what’s happening is that there is a lot of self obsession. These prospects now are so aware of their star status. They are on the internet more than anyone reading about themselves and keeping up with themselves. I think that’s sort of having a negative impact. The class of 2007 knew they were good. They were plenty aware. But you never got the feeling that they were waking up their computer and immediately turning on their computer to read about themselves. I think that’s changed. We see guys doing that more now. That’s why a guy like Michael Gilchrist coming up in the class of 2011 could be so special because he would have fit in perfect with the 2007 kids. I think he’s aware that he’s a star and going to be a star but that’s about it. The real focus is about working on his game and being as good as he can be. He’s not reading his own press clippings.”

You mentioned a guy like Gilchrist. He’s an underclassmen that is playing up with the 17 and under kids. But then you have a guy like Derrick Rose who never played up. He was quite successful in that regard. What are your thoughts about playing up?

“It’s an interesting topic. I think it can work both ways. I think the key is being on a team and having a team concept that a guy is playing within. Whether he gets that playing up on the 17 and under circuit early or he gets that playing with his own age group, I think it works either way. I think it’s easier playing with guys your own age because you have continuity. Another point to go along with that, you look at the guys that have teams created for them or around them. That’s detrimental to a player. I think it’s bad for his development and a major flaw by the shoe companies. I’m very much against that. I think we can trace that to a lot of the problem prospects that we’ve had. I think it’s important to have a team…There are no real absolutes with this. It comes down to the kid and how he is made up.”

Blake Griffin was a consensus top 30 kid coming out of high school. He took two years in college to develop into the no-brainer number one pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Looking back, there hasn’t been a number one pick that was a non top 10 level kid in high school that was drafted first overall. Looking back, did you think he’d be shaking hands with David Stern as the number one pick in the draft?

“No. We certainly missed on that one. The more I do this and the more basketball I watch at the high levels, the more important it is for a player to have a body and be energetic and strong and long, big body. Certainly Blake has that. I guess, looking back, I undervalued that. Others might of as well. He was more athletic than we realized, too. He has a mean streak to him and that competitive edge that I was talking about earlier. Moreover, Blake works on his game and his skill level just improved. Now, I don’t know if he’d be the number one pick in every draft but he certainly is an elite player and prospect. At the time, I know I didn’t quite see it.”

With the one and done rule, some programs can be paralyzed by it. see O.J. Mayo and Southern Cal and potentially Memphis with Derrick Rose. On the flip side, Kevin Durant gave Texas a tremendous season. What is your take on the rule as a whole?

“I hate the rule. Ive hated it from the beginning and I hate it more and more everyday. I think it hurts the college game. It’s created a lot of problems. Lance Stephenson and Renardo Sidney’s situation with their amateur status is just the tip of the iceberg of what could be a rampant problem. You know, I have mixed feeling about two or three years. I like kids being in college for a minimum of two years but I think deep down I like a laissez faire approach where a kid can do whatever he want whenever he wants. But I do not think that players should be forced to go to college.”

With that in mind, do you think we’ll see more players like O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose or a Renardo Sidney? Will more recruitments be watched over more and combed through with a fine tooth?

“I think we are coming to a crisis mode. If you want to win a National Championship, you have to have NBA players on your team so you have to recruit NBA caliber talent. The question is now how do you recruit that caliber of talent. If you have guys that really have never been amateurs because they’ve been treated like pros ever since they’ve come onto the circuit, the question is how do you recruit those guys without cheating? It makes it very difficult. The players and the people around them are so used to getting things and that mentality is not going to stop for one year just because they go to college. There is a flaw in the system because of that. It puts a lot of pressure on the colleges. So if you get rid of the one and done rule, you let the pros be pros and let them be pros right away. I think it would eliminate a lot of the scandal in college basketball with grades, cheating in recruiting and a lot of that. I think it would energize the fan base, too. The players would be there longer at their school. It would be good for everyone involved.”

Can you talk about the word ranking? What is your thought about them? Do people misunderstand their value?

“My thoughts on them have really changed. I really enjoy doing them. It’s a challenge and a puzzle. You are trying to figure the riddle out. I have fun doing it. I’ve developed some thick skin so I don’t really get caught up in what people think. For me, it’s pleasurable. Now, the down side with it is that people are too obsessed with it. It keeps the money flowing, sure, but there is way too much emphasis with them. People worry too much about it. It’s all ego. It probably exacerbates the problem that we have with youth basketball. But hey, that’s the way it is. These guys are going to get ranked their whole life. They are going to be judged at every level and people are going to scrutinize their games. They are going to be on television. People are going to get mad at them when they miss a foul shot. They are going to go crazy when they hit a shot to win a game. This is high level stuff. These guys are great at what they do and people in our society value the game of basketball. If you are the cream of the crop, this is the territory that comes with it. This is big boy stuff. If guys can’t handle it, then don’t do it. Stay off the circuit and play some H.O.R.S.E. at the Y or something. In this arena, you are going to be judged and ranked. People lose sight of the process and the process is about developing and becoming as good as you can be. At the end of the day, you can look back and see how you stacked up. What matters is about getting better and getting a scholarship. What baffles me every time is when a player has nice scholarship offers, the college coaches are aware of him and that’s what counts. Whether the kid is 49, 80, 112 or not even ranked, in the grand scheme of things it is meaningless. That player will have a free education on a scholarship and play. That’s what it is about. If they worry about the numbers, then it’s all ego.”

Favorite event in July: I love Vegas, man. You have options there. My favorite one there is the Reebok Summer Championship.

Best high school event you go to: I think it’s the City of Palms. It’s outstanding and well run.

Twitter follower?: No. I guess I’ll be tweeting sometime. I haven’t embraced it yet.

Best hotel you stay at
: My spot in Clayton, Missouri – the Crowne Plaza. It’s just outside St. Louis. Everything about it is great. Great food, great places to watch sports, very chill and even a free arcade where I can play Frogger.

Best bar on the circuit: It was the Surly Wench in Tucson, Arizona. You can throw in the Double Down Saloon in Vegas. I could name a lot and I’d love them all.

Editor's note: Jerry Meyer's father, Don, will receive the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance on Sunday night at the ESPY's. Click HERE for his amazing story.

Past interviews:

Jeff Goodman, Fox Sports
Dave Telep,

Monday, July 6, 2009

Just a Minute with Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports

Jeff Goodman, the senior college basketball writer for Fox Sports, is one of the best in the business. The Boston native started at the grassroots level, bouncing around the country during the travel team schedule from April to July. He parlayed his work into a plush gig at Fox Sports. His blog on is one of the must-read stops on the Internet for college basketball addicts. The National Hoops Report caught up with Goodman and ran through a number of topics.

In your years of covering college basketball and high school hoops, do you recall a year where so many players at the top had as wild of recruitments?

“You can certainly look at the (Michael) Beasley, (O.J.) Mayo, (Derrick) Rose class and there were certainly some questionable ones there, too. Eric Gordon and Bill Walker were in there, too. Five of the top seven, according to, had stranger recruitments. The only two that weren’t were Kevin Love and Kyle Singler. Mayo’s recruitment was a mess. Beasley committed as a freshman to Charlotte because of Dalonte Hill and then to Kansas State. Eric Gordon was committed to Illinois then Kelvin Sampson comes along. He and (assistant coach) Jeff Meyer didn’t care about the commitment and they followed him everywhere in July despite him being committed. Derrick Rose never really spoke to any head coaches, maybe other than (John) Calipari. And Bill Walker went to school early to go to Kansas State. But this (2009) class takes the cake, at least for me and as long as I’ve been involved. This class was wild. I told Evan Daniels of, even Derrick Favors, who is as normal of any of the kids in 2009, even he picked three schools that were either fired or on the hot seat (Georgia Tech, Georgia and N.C. State). And he’s as normal as it got and his recruitment was not normal. This class (of 2009) is a mess when it comes to drama. I’ve never seen anything like it. It seemed like everybody had something about their recruitment, expect for maybe John Henson (who is going to North Carolina).”

In your conversations with the college coaches, what has been the vibe with them going into the busy July recruiting month after not being allowed to evaluate in the April period for the first time this year? Are coaches more confused because of the lack of face time or are they more prepared because they’ve had much more time to really research who is out there?

“I think coaches are much more in the dark and not really sure what to expect. They are going into it knowing that they are going to have to make quick decisions and I know a lot of them are fearful of that fact because they don’t have as much information and not armed with as much stuff on these kids as they have had in the past. Let’s face it, the restrictions that are placed on them for things just off the court make it hard enough to figure out who they really want to go after. Now the coaches are faced with another set of uncertainties with who they go after because they don’t know enough about the kids on the court. I think they know that more mistakes are going to be made around the country with regards to recruiting. I don’t know what my transfer list is up to now but it has to be up to 300 or so. This class could even top that. Everyone is going to make even more mistakes because no one had a chance to look at the kids in April.”

You mentioned your transfer list. How much has that really evolved into your identity in the college basketball world?

“I think coaches really look forward to it. It’s funny how it has evolved. When I got into this industry, I had to find my niche. What could I do that would show that I am willing to outwork everyone else? What could I do differently? Honestly, keeping it up is really a big pain in the you-know-what in order to compile it. But I feel like it is something that coaches want from me. I’ve had coaches tell me that they have landed kids from the list simply because they didn’t know that the player was transferring. They read about the kid on the list. I think it helps the kids, too. I’ll have parents call me and they want to get their kids on the list. They know it is going to bring them that exposure. Every level looks at it. Deep down, I like the fact that I was able to help one kid make a smart move to a new situation that may have slipped through the cracks. The list helps everyone in Division I, the Division IIs and the NAIA schools. I feel like college basketball is not just about the top 25 schools in the country.”

What is the biggest issue you’d like to see the NCAA really target to help the game, if it needs to be helped at all in your opinion.

“Oh, it definitely needs to be helped. There are too many things to really get into. To start, and I know it’s going to be hard, but there has to be a collective cleaning up the sport. I’ve got to figure that there is a way to clean this thing up. Right now the cheating that goes on in college basketball is similar to what steroids was in baseball 10 years ago. People knew it existed but no one wants to face it. Then all of the sudden, it exploded. I think that may happen in basketball. There are a lot of grey areas. There is cheating. And there is not a lot of guys that are not doing that would fall in the grey area. There are some. But there is not a ton. I don’t know where the NCAA starts to clean it up. You do have to make guys accountable though. So if a guy gets in trouble and if they get caught with anything, then they know that their career is on the line. That’s it. You get one chance. I think head coaches have to do a better job of reeling in their assistant coaches and policing them better. I think a lot of head coaches just look the other way and say ‘Just do what you gotta do.’ And if it doesn’t come back to them, then they are okay with that.” The other thing the NCAA has to do is let the coaches work with their players in the off-season and in the summer. Because you know who is working with them during that time? Players are regressing because they are working with all of these so-called “workout guys” that are for the most part runners for agents or tied in with agents. They are working with the wrong people and have their best interest at heart. I’d much rather see a kid workout with his college coach and staff in July and August then some so-called workout guru.”

Should you buy a condo or a timeshare in Lexington, Kentucky this year? Chances are you’ll be there quite a bit when the hoops season rolls around in the winter.

“Well, I know I’ll be there for their Midnight Madness. How can I not? I was there two years ago when Billy Gilliespie came out of the curtain and they went crazy for him. I can’t imagine what it is going to be like when Calipari walks out for the first time. With this recruiting class and with this team, I mean, that place is going to be nuts. How he got Patrick Patterson to come back to school in a year where it’s one of the weakest drafts ever and not even go through the process is amazing. It just goes to show that he’s one of the best salesmen I’ve ever seen.”

Is Calipari and Kentucky the biggest storyline going into this college basketball season?

“No doubt about. Kansas is number one and no one is even talking about Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich coming back to school. All anyone wants to talk about is Kentucky, Calipari and that recruiting class. Obviously Kentucky fans are so rabid and that’s what the majority of the scene is filled with - Kentucky fans. I do think it’s funny how a perception of a coach can change so quickly. They hated John Calipari and I used to get the emails from Kentucky fans saying how much they hated him and how shady they thought he was. They have obviously changed their tune now that he is at Kentucky.”

The one and done rule has changed college basketball over the last four years. Do you think guys like John Wall and players of his caliber should have to go to college for a minimum of one season? Has the rule been successful?

“I love the one and done rule for the simple fact that we got Kevin Durant for a year in college. That’s about as good of a package as you can find. He’s going back to class now to try to get his degree at Texas. He was what was great about the one and done rule. But for every Kevin Durant, there are 10 other kids that really have no desire to be in college. They don’t want to be in the college realm. They just want to use it to get to the next level. When the next collective bargaining agreement comes up, I think they need to change it and let these kids go to the pros out of high school. I hope that helps clean up the sport. I know some people think that the rule has played into the recent allegations with O.J. Mayo and Derrick Rose. If those guys can go pro out of high school, things won’t just be hunky-dory. They won’t. There will certainly be other issues because it will be the next tier of prospects that will have the same issues. I don’t think issues or problems will be eliminated. I just think these elite level kids don’t really want to be in college. It could solve some of the problems. I think most college coaches, if you talk them, are on the same page. They want to see these kids go pro out of high school or make them stay two or three years. I’d be fine with them having to go two years because they’d be halfway to getting their degree.”

Favorite event you go to in July: Definitely the Peach Jam.
Best place to eat on the road: There is a soul food cafeteria in Augusta, Georgia that I go to when I'm at the Peach Jam. Incredible.
Best hotel: Palms or Hard Rock in Vegas.
Best Sports Information Director in the country: That’s a tie between Texas’s Scott McConnell and Florida’s Fred Demarest.
Best quote in the country: Tom Izzo of Michigan State and Bill Self at Kansas.
Are you part of the Twitter fascination?: I am, I am. A friend of mine told me about it before the NCAA tournament and I signed up but I have no idea on what it was or how much it would help. I still don’t know what I’m doing. For the most part, I’ll just link stories or blog entries on there.
Who are your top five players in the class of 2010?: I haven't seen all of the players in the country, but I'll take a stab at the top 5 in the Class of 2010:

1) Harrison Barnes
2) Brandon Knight
3) Tristan Thompson
4) Josh Smith
5) Will Barton

Archived Just a Minute stories:

Dave Telep,

Friday, July 3, 2009

Just a Minute with Dave Telep of

Dave Telep, the National Recruiting Director at, is one of the most respected names in the game of basketball. The National Hoops Report caught up with him just before he embarks in a coast-to-coast travel schedule this July for the all-too-important recruiting period for college basketball coaches and peppered him with an assortment of questions regarding college hoops, recruiting, old stories and even dig into his exotic taste for hotels on the road.

How much bearing does the month of July have in your eyes when it comes to ranking of players?

“For me, July is about the great players sharpening up and shoring up how they are viewed. July isn’t as much about moving from number three to number two on the list as so much it is to move into the top 100. Everything is under such a magnifying glass that if you consider yourself a big time player and a real prospect, then the dress rehearsals are over and the big curtain goes up on July 6.”

Do you get the sense that coaches are chomping at the bit to get out there and see kids again in July?

“I think everyone is on their heels because for the last three months if you are good at your job, you’ve been trying to keep guys warms. The worst thing about this July is that we are going to see some kids worthy of big looks left standing at the altar. The guys who have bad first halves of the month are going to fall of the big draft board in people’s offices and they won’t even know it. I think the big change with April being taken away is that is slowed down commitments from freshmen and sophomores because guys haven’t had a chance to see them and fall in love with them. The pressure to score those commitments isn’t as strong as it way say last year. I think that’s been a good thing. Overall, though, I think coaches are pretty frustrated that they haven’t seen players in three months.”

How hard is it to make it through the wild month of July from a recruiting analyst perspective?

"A lot of people don't really understand the logistics of July. For starters, once you kiss the kids goodbye on July 7 you make it home for a half day on the 11th and then for four days on the 17th. From the 21-31 you're on the road again and by the way, traveling to these places can be a grind.

"For me, the best part of the month comes around the 28 and 29. You see the light at the end of the tunnel plus by that time you know who is truly hot and all the hungry guys are making one last bid to get noticed. That's where you can really do your "scouting" work and dig some kids up. I know my approach to the AAU Nationals this year is that of a grinder. I think there are blue chippers to be mined out that event and its my intent to polish up a few stones.

“The easiest events to cover are the shoe camps. The days are planned out with breaks in between and user friendly starts. The hardest days of the year are the first few in Vegas. Yikes, nobody in their right mind goes to Vegas without a GPS device or driver.”

You’ve been a “ranker” for a long time and I would imagine your opinion of the ranking process has changed dramatically since publishing the first list over 10 years ago. What are your thoughts on rankings in today’s landscape?

“I don’t enjoy them at all. Having your knowledge and expertise acknowledged and scrutinized isn’t exactly enjoyable sometimes. I do enjoy the actual process of doing it. I think the rankings can be valued in great strides with the work that kids have done in order to improve. But you can be the greatest kid on the planet and be really upset with your ranking. At the end of the day, it’s a difficult pill to swallow knowing how much a guy put into it but the fact of the matter is there might be a 100 guys that are just better than him. That’s a difficult thing to reconcile when you are doing my job and you want to reward a kid for the work that he is doing but you know that as hard as you want it, there are just guys that are better. On the flip side, the hardest thing to see is watching a guy with so much talent not put in the work and you walk away saying ‘I know I want that kid to be so much better than he wants to be.’”

With that being said, who comes to mind that fit’s the bill of not living up to their natural ability and vice versa?

“In terms of underachieving, the names DeAngelo Collins and Lenny Cooke come into play. When you talk about guys that just overachieved you have to realize that Dwayne Wade didn’t start for his AAU team as a junior and he may be one of the five best players on the planet right now. To me a guy you normally think about in this instance, you have to look at a guy like Travis Deiner. He’s a guy that has embodied overachieving. He represents everything that is good about college basketball. He helped take a team to the Final Four and hooked on with a NBA team and now grinding out a career in the NBA. That’s a definition of an overachiever.”

Cooke and Collins are always mentioned as busts and guys that never lived up to the hype. We hear the names all the time. For someone that watched those two in high school, can you explain the level on how good they were?

“This is how I measure DeAngelo Collins. He was more talented and had more upside than Sean May, who was in his same class and I think by a pretty good margin. DeAngelo Collins was a bust and Sean May walked away as an All-American and his jersey hangs in Chapel Hill and he has a National Championship ring to show for it. As a sophomore in high school Lenny Cooke was the best player in his class. He ran his mouth about LeBron James and LeBron James essentially ended his career on July 8, 2001 at the ABCD camp. How many guys do you know of that you know the exact date of the last real relevance in the game of basketball? At the ABCD camp and in Lenny Cooke’s backyard, the hype was there. LeBron had the hype back then but Cooke came out firing and was playing as hard as he could to try and impress everyone. He started out great but LeBron just reeled him in and absolutely embarrassed him. LeBron hit a couple of shots that just stopped camp. From then on, Lenny Cooke became less and less of a novelty item. His confidence took a major hit. He started making even worse decisions. That game changed the course of his life, from a positive direction, right then and there. It’s the perfect lesson in dealing with adversity. Things don’t go your way, how do you respond? Instead of putting his nose to the grindstone and taking the Harrison Barnes approach, Lenny Cooke mailed it in and is doing street ball.”

On the flip side, what player do you recall having a moment that changed the course of his life both on and off the court like Cooke but in a positive direction?

“I remember a game in Las Vegas where Al Horford found himself. He was playing against the Atlanta Celtics who had the best frontline ever assembled in AAU basketball has ever seen in Dwight Howard, Josh Smith and Randolph Morris, and Al Horford fouls out and goes to the end of the bench, put a towel over his head and cries his out. From that moment on, Al Horford didn’t lose too many basketball games. He realized how much it menat to him. I wish looking back on that moment, I took that into account because I think that moment made him a player that he is today.”

Looking at the draft history of former number one players, Blake Griffin is anomaly in the sense he wasn’t a consensus top 10 player coming out of high school like Dwight Howard or Greg Oden or Derrick Rose or Dwight Howard, etc. Griffin was considered a top 30 consensus level player coming out of high school in an incredibly strong NBA class in 2007. Did he get looked over by the high school evaluators or was he just lost in the shuffle in a class that could be one of the best in modern history?

“Looking back it’s to say people missed out on him but he was a top 15 level player for us coming out of high school in a pretty good year. I think he has improved his game so much since high school it’s less of people missing on him, per se, as so much it a credit to him and the work that he has put in. He used to be a robotic athlete. He’s now a Karl Malone fluid basketball player. I don’t thing anyone missed on him. I just think he just kept getting better and better.”

Whose recruitment has wowed you the most in your career of covering recruiting?

“The biggest roller coaster ride with the most storylines and subplots that I’ve had to cover has been far and away John Wall. John grew up on Tabacco Road. Then you thrown in his AAU coach (who is hired by Baylor with the belief he could deliver Wall to the Big 12 school). You have the high school coach involved. There are so many sub plots in there. It was far and away the most interesting thing and documented thing I’ve ever had to cover. And at the end of the day, John Wall made his own decision and he turned himself into a guy that was looking like a mid-major point guard as a sophomore to the best point guard in the country at the end of his senior year.”

Who are your top five players in 2010 class going into July?

1. Harrison Barnes
2. Brandon Knight
3. Tristan Thompson
4. Jared Sullinger
5. Fab Melo


1. Michael Gilchrist
2. James McAdoo
3. Austin Rivers
4. Tony Wroten
5. Rakeem Christmas

What about the young guys? What names will be popping up over time in that class?

The basketball world should become familiar with these positions players: PG LJ Rose, SG Jordan Price, SFs Amile Jefferson, Xavier Johnson and Shabazz Muhammad, PF’s DeJuan Coleman and Perry Ellis and center Andre Drummond.

There are always guys that climb the ladder in July. Who do you anticipate jumping up the rankings?

“You have to love the July blow ups. From Jeff Teague to Chris Paul and everyone in between, its a great month to have a great month. This time around, expect Fab Melo to continue his rise, ditto for Justin Coleman and James Johnson. On the junior side, I don’t think the ascension of Rakeem Christmas is through yet and watchout for Amile Jefferson, JP Tokoto and PG Marcus Paige.”

Favorite event: AAU Nationals in Orlando. It’s an opportunity to use your expertise at your job to dig some guys up. Everywhere else, it seems like guys are more known commodities. You can grind it out and find some guys at the AAU Nationals.

Favorite food spot on the trail: My favorite place to eat in the entire country…is in St. Louis. It is a soul food spot called Sweety Pie’s.

Best hotel: Residence Inn in Las Vegas on Dean Martin Drive. (Pure functionality.)

Have you bought into the Twitter craze?: I love Twitter. I think I’m addicted to it. I don’t think it has any bearing on recruiting and I don’t think it is going to help coaches get players. I just think it’s a cool social network thing. I have weird thoughts that run through my head and I’m going to just throw them out there. I’m going to use Twitter everyday in July. Some days it won’t have anything to do with basketball.

Who are your writing idols?: John Feinstein is the guy I read everything he throws out there. And the last book I read, that I absolutely crushed and have recommended was “The Bald Truth” by David Falk. Loved it.

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