Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NHR Mailbag: Sept. 23

Wow, what a week for questions! The readers asked and the National Hoops Report answers. Let’s dive into this week’s edition of The Mailbag.

What do you think are Nova's chances with 2011 recruits Michael Gilchrist, Rakeem Christmas (pictured), Trevor Cooney and Quinn Cook or any other players?

If were to rank the order of interest for the prospects you mentioned regarding Villanova it would go like this: Rakeem Christmas, Trevor Cooney, Quinn Cook and Michael Gilchrist.

I don’t see Christmas leaving the Philly area for his one year in college. But I also wouldn’t be surprised to see his recruitment play out like Derrick Favors (drawn out but eventually staying close to home). Cooney’s recruitment will get interesting if Duke offers him a scholarship. But at the end of the day, I can see this one being a Big East battle.

Cook’s recruitment is a hard one to gauge. There are a lot of big-time programs, including Villanova, in the mix. He’s visiting schools, doing his homework and looking at the best fit. Wherever he can play right away is where he’ll go, in my opinion.

And Gilchrist. Where do we start? Kentucky, at least in public perception, seems to be the leader but the nation’s top junior and his family say he is open. I believe them. I don’t think they are in a big rush to make a decision either. So that’s why he is fourth on this list. A year from now, that could be quite the opposite. When you are tops in your class, what’s the rush to pick favorites this early?

South Carolina's 2010 recruiting class - how did that happen? Very impressive!

Very impressive indeed. How did it happen? Good recruiters that did their homework, that’s how. Damonte Harris is the catch of the class and the Gamecocks were involved with him long before meteoric rise this summer. The big man was number one on a lot of wish lists and USC had to fight off a lot of schools to get him.

The same can be said about in-state guys Bruce Ellington and R.J. Slawson. The Gamecocks were way ahead of the curve with both guys and landed the in-state pair before a lot of schools could work their recruiting magic.

Now the trick is landing Stacey Poole, Jr., who I believe is a heavy Kentucky lean. But after the success that South Carolina has had so far, maybe I should reconsider my thinking on Poole to UK. Darrin Horn and his staff are on a roll right now.

What kind of class do you think Mark Fox will put together? It seems Georgia has been in the mix for a lot of players, but never really led for any. Could there be a JUCO or two brought in the spring?

Great question. I’m not exactly sure what kind of class Fox and his staff will put together. Losing out on Jeremy Lamb and Trae Golden, two local products, was a big hit to their efforts. The new UGA staff has done a good job of establishing themselves with the top players in the class in the state. Missing out on those two really puts things up in the air right now, at least from my perspective.

They are looking at all kinds of options and junior college could very well be an option. The SEC isn’t getting any easier with the likes of John Calipari entering the league. Mix that with Bruce Pearl and Billy Donovan as well as a great recruiting class from South Carolina in 2010, the Dawgs will need immediate help. Junior college could be that route this year. A lot of schools are looking at that level for big men, too.

A lot of names from the junior college ranks will probably creep up come October after coaches go to some of the top JC showcases and jamborees.

Who do you envision as UGA’s first commit this year?

That is a tough one. Hard to really pick that one after Lamb, Golden and Ralston Turner all went elsewhere. Clearly landing a two guard is a priority for the Dawgs but the first commit, if I was to guess, could be Miller Grove (Ga.) big man Dante Williams. The 6-9 forward has been to Athens and he could make a return trip in the near future. UAB and Virginia Commonwealth are strong contenders for him right now, too.

Butler is in a good position to get Khyle Marshall. What does he do well and how do you see him fitting at forward alongside Matt Howard and Gordon Hayward?

Butler is strong, like you mentioned. So is Missouri, UNLV and UAB. Marshall is a good player but he’s underachieved from what I’ve seen on the spring and summer circuit. He’d be a match-up problem in the Horizon League because of his athleticism. He’s bouncy and aggressive. Truth be told, Marshall would be a perfect transition for Butler when Avery Jukes graduates.

How did Dwight Powell’s visit with Stanford go? Is GT still in the mix with the talented big man? What is the latest with Jelan Kendrick and Tobias Harris?

Powell’s visit to Stanford went well from all accounts and I did find it interesting that he didn’t commit to Johnny Dawkins. I thought there was a strong chance that he would pull the trigger. Paul Hewitt is in Boston today (Tuesday, September 23) to visit with Powell’s mother. Powell will visit Harvard this weekend and Georgia Tech on Oct. 8. I’d expect a decision shortly after that visit.

Kendrick’s recruitment will go deep into the spring and take a million turns before it is all said and done.

Tobias Harris – that one is the biggest mystery to me. Can 11 schools be even? Even after he trims the list to five in the very near future, I still don’t have a good feel for that one.

Is there an under-rated shooting guard in Georgia left in the 2010 class?

Yes. In fact, there are quite a few under-rated guards left in Georgia. Hoops talent in the Peach State is going through a recession. In fact, the entire country is in 2010. There just aren’t as many high-level players in the talent pool this year. That generally means teams are finding value in under-recruited players. A couple of guards come to mind – Chris Davis, a 6-2 guard from Stockbridge, and Cameron Solomon, a 6-4 wing from Lovejoy.

I watched both guys last week at the SEBA Atlanta All-Star Shootout and thought the two were the best guards in the event. Their recruitments are all over the map with schools from all three levels recruiting them. If neither player signs early, it will be interesting to see where they end up in the spring.

Cady Lulane visited VCU this past weekend. Any word on how his visit went and when he anticipates making his decision?

Lulane’s visit to VCU went well from what I’ve been told. He’s visiting Georgia this weekend officially. But a whisper that I’m hearing is that UMass is looking like the team to beat. I’d anticipate him signing in the fall and being a big recruit for the Minutemen.

Anything new on the recruitment of Florida big man Anthony Lee?

The big news from what I’m hearing out of Florida is that Virginia Commonwealth is out. The big man Eustis is headed to George Mason this weekend. Temple, Nevada, Washington and others are also in the mix with the 6-8 forward.

With Boston College now in the mix for Michael Bradley how did that affect the chances of Drake or VCU getting a verbal from him? Are the mid-majors wasting their time?

The mid-majors were there first and they can hang their hat on that. You could argue that Virginia Commonwealth is moving closer to the mid-major that really isn’t a mid-major status. The Rams are selling their CAA to the pros line to the Chattanooga sleeper over and over again. Makes sense, really. But the longer Bradley waits, the more high-majors are going to come in and he’ll have a tough decision to make. He is probably best served going to a good mid-level school, playing early and growing on the court.

First off, how do you feel about DePaul's two recent verbals for 2010, Brandon Young and Moses Morgan? Will they be able to come in and make an early impact for the Blue Demons? Secondly, with at least one scholarship currently open, and some believing it will wind up being three, should DePaul go after the best available talent or pursuing more towards need and try and get size?

I like both Young and Morgan. I thought Young, a 6-2 point guard from the D.C. area, was one of the best sleepers I saw this summer. He has a lot of talent and could be the point guard that DePaul has lacked since Jerry Wainwright took over the program. That’s encouraging.

But will Young and Morgan help DePaul get better in the Big East? I don’t think so.

At this point, the Blue Demons need guys that can help them win basketball games. The best available makes the most sense in large part because the size that is available right now is significantly lacking.

What's going on with the recruitment of Reco McCarter out of Goldsboro, N.C.? None of the sites have updated his recruitment in months.

That’s a good question. Reco McCarter is almost a mythical figure for me. I’ve never seen him play. He’s harder to find then a missing sock in the dryer. That being said, I really don’t have a good feel for what he’s thinking.

What can you tell us about 2010 Virginia big man Josh Henderson? He seems to be a late bloomer and is receiving interest from a few ACC and SEC schools.

I wish I could answer your question better. I haven’t seen him play and in speaking to a lot of coaches, they are still trying to find out more about him. Sorry, I wish I could dive into his situation better.

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, via Twitter, or in the comments section below.

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