Thursday, September 17, 2009
NHR Mailbag: Sept. 17
Another week, another great set of questions submitted to the National Hoops Report Mailbag. We cover a lot of ground in this edition.
Derrick Favors or Dwight Howard? (high school only)
Boy, that’s a tough one. It is like picking a favorite child. Sort of. It is hard to compare the two because while Favors is compared to Howard a lot, the two are quite different. Favors is more skilled offensively. Howard is much more athletic, stronger and hungrier. Favors has more upside at this stage (but not by much). Howard is a more physically imposing player now and even back then. But if I had to choose, give me Howard. And I’ll even say give me him 10 times out of 10. He’s the best player I’ve ever seen at this level and the most physically intimidating player I’ve ever covered.
With the University of Arizona most likely handing out three scholarships for the 2010 class, who will they land out of their current targets – Ray McCallum, Cory Joseph, Doron Lamb, Trey Zeigler, Anthony Brown, Terrence Jones, Adreian Payne, Alex Kirk and Rod Odom?
That is a tough question but a good one. When Lute Olson was there, it was much easier to gauge who the next Wildcat would be. With Sean Miller now at the helm, it isn’t as easy. Miller and his staff are recruiting with a much broader stroke and recruiting more players.
If I were to rank them in likeliness to land it would be as follows: Doron Lamb, Alex Kirk, Terrence Jones, Anthony Brown, Rod Odom, Cory Joseph, Ray McCallum, Trey Zeigler and Adreian Payne.
What do you think of Kevin Ware? Is this guy a potential Javaris Crittenton if he works on his jump shot?
Crittenton is on another level when it comes to competiveness and leadership skills. He was one of the most competitive kids that I’ve seen in Georgia. He won a lot of games on his own and knew how to put the dagger in when it was needed. Not sure I know of many kids that are in the state right now that bring that to the table. To be fair, Crittenton is not a jump shooter. Never really has been either. Ware is more athletic and faster than Crittenton but the Rockdale County (Ga.) guard lacks the basketball smarts to be a full-time point guard at the highest level in my opinion. He could be a similar player to Senario Hillman at Alabama.
How good is Mfon Udofia? Do you see him starting over a healthy Moe Miller? Jarrett Jack a fair comparison?
I think Mfon Udofia is tremendous. In fact, not only do I see him starting, I think he’s an All-ACC freshman and one of the 20 most important incoming freshmen. The reason? Simple. Udofia brings a mental toughness to Georgia Tech that it lacked last year. He’s a winner, a big-time competitor and the veterans respect the freshman quite a bit. Jack is a fair comparison but I liken him to Sean Singletary, formerly of Virginia. Those two are ultimate fighters that happen to play basketball and both guys raise the level of play on the teams that they are on.
Also, what do you know about Shaka Smart's first 2010 commitment, Rob Brandenberg?
To be honest, I don’t know much about him. But don’t despair, I had to tap into the best guy in Ohio to find out. My man Brian Snow at Rivals.com likes him. He said Brandenberg is an athletic two guard that is at his best going to the rim. Snow called him a late bloomer that can a little bit of everything. Brandenburg is an under the radar guy who has his best basketball is ahead of him, Snow says.
Who is the next Josh Pastner, a young, energetic elite recruiter?
Great question. The first name that came to mind is Jerrance Howard at Illinois. The former Illini guard stepped right into the recruiter’s role for Bruce Weber and delivered immediately. In fact, the recruits that Howard helped land in 2009 (Brandon Paul, D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand) should keep Illinois in the top three in the Big Ten for the next three or four years. Howard is well-respected in the state (one of the bed hoops hotbeds in the nation) and has Illinois back on the minds of the young players in the state.
If there was one rule you would like to change in college basketball what would it be?
I would open the spring period back up for evaluations for college coaches. April needs to be open. Moreover, it has to be open. Closing the all-too-important April to coaches made zero since. This year we have seen that. More staffs are behind the eight ball. More players are dragging out their recruitments, too. That isn’t a bad thing either. But having April open to coaches allows schools, coaches, parents and players to make more educated decisions regarding their futures. It is a shame that it is closed right now. I’m not exactly sure who is benefiting from the rule.
It was recently reported that Allen Payne from Cincinnati is scheduled to visit VCU later this month and he indicated they are currently his leading school (http://www.ohshoops.com/2009/09/payne-offers-up-favorite.html). What do you know about Payne and is he a good fit considering VCU may need more bigs?
The thing with Payne that I like and that dozens of coaches like his is versatility on the wing. He’s big enough where he can cause problems for teams on the outside and athletic enough to be a threat as a rebounder around the basket. He’d be a very good player if VCU can land one of the big men that they are actively recruiting. Payne could be an important commitment for Shaka Smart. Word is, however, that his recruitment could go anywhere and may not be a VCU lean.
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. To submit your question, email firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter, or in the comments section below.