Thursday, October 22, 2009

NHR Mailbag: Oct. 22

Over the summer, Jelan Kendrick was mentioned with Georgetown a lot. Now, not so much. Is he truly wide open?

He’s contended that he is wide open and is claiming offers from 30-plus schools, Georgetown being one of them. I think Memphis is in good shape. He made the trek to the school for the Midnight Madness festivities and liked it up there. But that being said, I don’t anticipate him making a decision in the fall and while Memphis is certainly a contender, I can see his list changing shape several more times before he finally makes his decision.

Do you think Brandon Knight and Corey Joseph ever consider playing together at UConn?

I’m not so sure either one has thought about playing with the other one and I don’t think it will factor into either one’s decision. I do think, however, that the two could co-exist on the same team and in the same backcourt. Both can play the one and the two. Knight will demand the ball more than Joseph, who I’d play more at the one than Knight if they played together. At the end of the day, I don’t foresee the two playing together.

There seems to be several teams who seem to have filled their scholarships for next year but you continue to hear about them being involved with recruits. What's the deal with that and explain what these teams could be telling potential recruits? Also, can you sign a recruit to a letter of intent if you're over-extended on scholarships? How does that work?

College basketball recruiting is never truly finished, especially in the fall. In today’s landscape of the game, rosters are always being reshaped and restructured at the end of the year. You could see a transfer or a player leaving for the pros or an injury. You never know. Teams will never say it but sometimes they might be trying to force a player off the team too and that would open up a spot. And finally, they could be planning on a redshirt year for a player, too. Scholarships are renewed every year for every player on the team. I’m a believer that staffs are always looking to fill two more spots than they really have.

After the defections to the Big East, Conference USA was on the board-line between being a low high-major conference and a high mid-major conference, mainly because of Memphis. Now that Calipari has moved on does C-USA officially become a mid-major conference or can Josh Pastner keep Memphis at Calipari-level?

That is a tough question only because there is a fine line between high-major programs in mid-major conferences. Memphis certainly fits the bill the most. I still consider them a high-major school. I think I always will. I consider Gonzaga, Xavier and, you could argue, Butler for high-major status in mid-major conferences. Regardless of what coaches are there, the teams that continually win against BCS conference teams have to be considered a high-major program. There really isn’t a rule or a definition that one can follow regarding this distinction. I know this though – Josh Pastner will try to keep Memphis not only in high-major contention but he’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure the Tigers remain one of the top programs in all the country.

Who is/was better coming out of high school, Brandon Jennings or John Wall?

From a skills standpoint, I think John Wall is/was better than Brandon Jennings. He’s bigger. He’s quicker. He’s stronger. He’s covers more ground in the open floor. But Jennings was still quite the prospect in high school. He went from a dominant pass first guy to a dominant score first guy. Moreover, he won more games. That’s a great equalizer when it comes to point guards. I’d take Wall every day though. I think he is a better player at the end of the day.

Dwight Powell headed to Stanford, where does Georgia Tech turn now for help in the frontcourt?

That is a good question. Tobias Harris is certainly a guy that the staff really wants to land. That isn’t a secret. But something tells me he won’t be leaving the Northeast for college. That bodes well for Syracuse and Connecticut.

The staff has spent some time in Australia and New Zealand this fall looking at a handful of prospects, too. The program is big in that neck of the woods thanks to former Jacket Luke Schenscher.

What’s the latest on Tarik Black and Tony Mitchell. I know Black was at Marquette Madness this past weekend, but I was wondering if he has any other visits set up and what his timetable is? Same question for Mitchell. Will he take visits?

I think it is important to note Black’s visit to Marquette on the first practice weekend of the year. A lot of people, myself very much included, thought Black would have committed to Memphis soon after Joe Jackson popped for the program. I still do think Black ends up at Memphis. But for him to not be at home for Midnight Madness is a big storyline that isn’t being talked about in the national landscape. That bodes well for Marquette.

Regarding Mitchell – I’ve been told that his recruitment could likely carry over to the spring and could be similar to Latavious Williams’s recruitment because of academics. I think Mitchell is much better and is in better shape in the classroom so it may not be as complicated in the spring.

I'm a SoCon fan and was wondering who the top 2010 recruits are for Davidson, College of Charleston and GA Southern? Who do you think will win the conference and who will get Player of the Year award?

I really like the James Carlton commitment for College of Charleston that happened this week. He’s the ultimate SoCon big man and after a potential red-shirt year, the North Carolina native could be a three-year starter.

Trent Wiedeman, a brute of a forward from Greater Atlanta Christian in Georgia, is close to committing and it will come down to College of Charleston, Georgia Southern and High Point. He’s the top recruit for each of those schools right now.

As far as winning the conference – I like College of Charleston this year. It is their time and I like Andrew Goudelock to take home the Player of the Year honors this season.

Quinn Cook vs. Kyrie Irving are both are studs and have similar games. Can you compare the two?

You are right, the two are studs. Cook isn’t the scorer that Irving is. Irving is a sneaky scorer that can pump in 30-plus points with little fanfare. Cook can score it but he has never really been a threat to go for a load of points. He is more of a setup man. Cook is probably a little quicker and a tad more athletic. I like Irving’s long-term potential a little bit better because of his high basketball IQ.

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