Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Answering your NHR Mailbag questions

The first National Hoops Report mailbag is loaded with great questions, great thoughts and great inquires about some of the nation’s top prospects, programs and other hot topics.

Justin, any idea what the Gators are looking to do for a wing in the 2010 class. Their not going that hard after (Stacy) Poole but have heard they want a long wing in this class. Any idea...Roscoe Smith, Casey Prather, C.J. Leslie?

Smith, Prather and Leslie all make sense. I think you could put the order of the given players as follows: Prather, Leslie and Smith. Leslie and Smith’s recruitment has me scratching my head. I don’t have a good grasp on either one. I don’t see Leslie leaving the ACC or SEC. That much I can bank on. From there, it is a crap shoot.

With Smith, who I think is vastly overrated by the national recruiting services, will probably go to the highest branded school out there. That obviously bodes well for Florida.

With Prather, I think Clemson, Florida and Vanderbilt are in it the deepest. My gut, for whatever reason, says Clemson.

Keep an eye on these guys, too: Terrence Jones, Jelan Kendrick and Tobias Harris (although he is neither long or a wing but could play the three in certain situations).

Jones had a tremendous summer and really became a prospect that teams had to land. He’s a competitive son of a gun and the more I look at the class, the more I realize I have him vastly underranked. He is a difference maker because of his versatility and drive. All of the top dogs are going to pursue him hard. Consider Florida a dark horse.

Kendrick will wait to sign in the spring. It is fair game right now. Harris is looking hard at what seems like 100 schools and Florida is on the outside looking in.

Wake Forest has Damontre Harris and Carson Desrosiers on campus next weekend (Sept 12th). While the Deacs have made the final cut for both players, do you think they can wrap one of them up? Which one do you feel is a better fit for Wake?

I think Wake Forest has a legitimate shot to land both players. Both were big-time summer risers and Wake Forest was involved with the two of them prior to the July evaluation period.

Harris might make the most sense to commit to the Deacons first. Wake is relatively close to his home (two and a half hours away) and he fits the bill for the type of player that Wake has landed and successfully developed in the past.

That being said, Wake has landed and developed guys like Desrosiers quite well in the past, too.

Call it a push for which one is the better fit. Both would be well served in Winston-Salem.

VCU has visits lined up for Anthony Lee, Michael Bradley, Cady LaLanne, and Damontre Harris. Who do you think would be the best fit at VCU and who do you think they have the best chance of signing? Also do you know much about Melsahn Basabe? If so, how big is he? I've seen him listed anywhere from 6'6" to 6'8".

Shaka Smart (pictured) and his staff (perhaps the best group of assistant coaches at the mid-major level) have done a great job of bringing in players that are all high-major prospects in for visits. Lee, Bradley, LaLane and Harris could all sign with a high-major school. All four big men are intriguing, high-ceiling prospects.

I think LaLane and Bradley make the most sense as far as committing. LaLane is close to several VCU players and the Florida to Richmond route is a popular one right now. Bradley, perhaps the most intriguing of the bunch, has been a hot target for the Rams since blowing up this summer in Orlando. He could be a Larry Sanders type of sleeper and I’m sure that Smart and his staff are selling that angle hard.

When I spoke to Basabe at the Nike Peach Jam, I thought he looked more like 6-foot-7. He’s an intriguing player. He’s an energetic rebounder with good hands and a good motor. He told me that he’s big on academics and the Ivy Leagues were very appealing to him, he said.

What realistic shot does Carolina have with Harrison Barnes and James McAdoo? If not these guys then who from this year's class and next years?

Prior to the weekend I wrote: “I think James McAdoo is a very strong lean to North Carolina. As I mentioned in my Fastbreak Friday story, the fourth ranked player in the class of 2011 has been to Chapel Hill several times and Roy Williams and staff have made a strong impression with the Virginia native.”

McAdoo committed on Sunday to the Tar Heels. Major commitment for UNC. Major, major, major commitment.

Harrison Barnes was clearly the most important non UNC student on campus over the weekend but I’ve long believed he will play on the other side of Highway 15-501 at Duke.

Although he's no longer in Georgia, can you give a synopsis on Jamail Jones' game? How do you think he will fit in at Marquette?

Jamail Jones is a powerful wing with good athleticism and more importantly a player with a very high ceiling as a prospect. The key for him is to fine tune his shot selection, improve his ball-handling and fall in love with being a lock down defender.

He’s a strong wing that can easily overwhelm defenders with his size and strength. However, Jones does fall in love with the perimeter shot and it keeps him from challenging defenders with the dribble.

With his move to Montverde Academy in Florida for his senior season, Jones should finally tap into his natural talent. Montverde coach Kevin Sutton is a noted developer of talent and Jones wants to be an instant impact freshman.

Overall, his future is very bright and Jones could develop into a fine player at Marquette. Prior to his move, I was a subscriber to the thought that Jones is the most intriguing long term prospect in the Peach State’s 2010 class. He has that kind of ability.

How much of a shot does Georgia Tech have with Jelan Kendrick and Jason Morris and do they have any leaders? Is it possible that they can land both of them? Also can you describe there games?

Georgia Tech has a legitimate shot with both Kendrick and Morris. Kendrick, who transferred from Atlanta Westlake to Marietta Wheeler for his senior year, will wait to sign in the spring. He has been a hot target for the Jackets since his freshman year. He played at Southwest Atlanta Christian, a school that has been very pro-Georgia Tech in the past. Since then, Paul Hewitt has developed a strong relationship with Kendrick and his father. But the family is not in a rush to make a decision and Georgia Tech seems willing to wait it out.

Morris, an Augusta native, has been to Georgia Tech’s campus at least a dozen times and like Kendrick, he and his father have a great relationship with the coaching staff. It looks like a tight two-horse race between Clemson and Georgia Tech at this point.

It is possible that Georgia Tech could land both players. Morris may be more of a lean to commit than Kendrick.

Kendrick is more of a point guard that can slide over to the wing that possesses a high basketball IQ. He’ll need to continue to improve his perimeter shooter. Morris is a slasher that has game-changing athletic ability. His overall skill set needs more refining in order to be a producer at the high-major level.

Who do you envision being Georgia Tech’s first commit this year? How strong are our chances of landing Jelan Kendrick?
I could see Jason Morris being the first commitment for Georgia Tech in 2010. As I mentioned above, the Jackets are hot on his trail and it looks like it is a two-horse race between GT and Clemson. It could go either way with him.

Who are the best shooters you have seen in the 2012 class? Any Rotnei Clarke out there?

I don’t know if we will see another Rotnei Clarke type of shooter for a while. The little guy can let it fly from deep with the best of them. As far as the 2012 class is concerned…can I be honest and say I just don’t know yet? I haven’t had a chance to really dive into that class simply because of the depth of the 2011 class and the mediocrity of the 2010 class.

I’ve known you long enough to know that your iPod is always by your side at games. What can we expect to hear you listening to this week?

Great question!!! You are right, I do love my music and I’ve enjoyed my commitment to the iPod for the last four years in gyms. I just bought the new Black Crowes album on iTunes. So far, so good. “I Ain’t Hiding” has my head bobbing and my toes tapping lately.

Have a question regarding recruiting, high school hoops, college basketball, rankings, coaches or anything that relates hoops, ask away. National Hoops Report editor Justin Young will answer your submissions in next week's edition of The NHR Mailbag on Sept. 16. To submit your question, email, via Twitter, or in the comments section below.

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