Thursday, October 8, 2009

NHR Mailbag: Oct. 8

Rockdale County's Kevin Ware (pictured above) was quoted as saying, "I've been talking to Tennessee and Georgetown a lot lately. Tennessee is the school at the top of my list. I love Coach Pearl. He has a great style of play and is a great coach. I might be committing really soon."

UT already has Trae Golden verbally committed for class of 2009. How would those two complement each other on the court? Also, UT has had recent success getting guys from the state of GA, do you see that success continuing?

Kevin Ware and Trae Golden are two different players. Ware is cut from the mold of former Vol Ramar Smith in the sense that he is a super athlete that is improving his ball skills. Ware gets by at the prep level with his top-shelf athleticism. He’s a freak in that regard. Smith was more skilled but was always caught in between positions.

Ware makes sense in Tennessee’s up-tempo style of play. I don’t see him in Georgetown’s think first, react second type of style. The Vols make the most sense. Golden could pair well with Ware because neither player would have to play a position. They’d be considered a backcourt player and neither a point or a shooting guard. Neither guy has a real position. You can have a lot of versatility with the two. I think Golden brings more stability.

I do see the trend continuing for Tennessee in Georgia. The Vols have in grained themselves in the Peach State and have a great in-road with the state’s top players. You could argue that Tennessee is the top SEC school recruiting the Peach State right now.

How would you rank the 2010 Wake Forest recruiting class?

At this point, Dino Gaudio and his staff have reeled in a top 10 class at the current time. Now that could change as we get closer to the November signing week. But as of right now, the Demon Deacons have a solid five-man class where every position was filled. You have to like the balance that the class brings to the team next year.

I don’t, however, think there is a true star of the group. I think all five are solid contributors over time. J.T. Terrell will score the most points of the five while Travis McKie will be a good four-year producing player somewhat similar to Maryland’s Landon Milbourne.

The most intriguing guy of the class is big man Carson Desrosiers. He might be the gem of the class. Melvin Tabb is the best rebounder of the bunch and Tony Chenault will be a solid back-up point guard for two years and a serviceable starter in his junior and senior seasons.

It will be interesting to see who emerges as the go-to guy and the player the coaches trust the most.

What's your breakdown of recent Oklahoma commitment Cameron Clark? You have him higher in your rankings than some others, so I'm eager to hear what you like so much about him.

I really like Cameron Clark. I’m a big fan of big wings. And he’s a big wing. A very good big wing. The Texan can shoot, score, put the ball on the floor and I think he could develop into a good defender, too.

With Clark, I think his best basketball is ahead of him and every time I saw him play, he looked better and better. I really like to see players ending their high school careers on the way up. As he prepares for his senior season, Clark looks like he is continuing the upward climb. I have him ranked high in part to his high ceiling as a prospect.

What if anything can you tell us about the prospects of VCU landing any of the three big man recruits they have had in for visits over the last couple of months in Michael Bradley, Cady Lalanne and Melsahn Basabe?

Truth be told, I don’t think VCU lands any of these players. Bradley is a likely Connecticut commitment any day now. Lalanne will visit Ole Miss this weekend but sources have indicated that UMass is the team to beat. Admittedly, I don’t really know what’s going on with Basabe.

Let me throw another name into the mix – Dante Williams of Miller Grove High School in Georgia. The 6-9 big man is looking hard at VCU, UAB and Tennessee. All three schools have a legit shot of landing him. I think he’s one of the better big men out there and comparable with Lalanne. I think VCU fans may be sleeping on the Rams’ chances with him.

Who are the top 2010 big man prospects with high major talent (or potential) being overlooked by the high majors?

At this stage of the game in a weak year for big men, there just aren’t that many big men that are being overlooked. Staffs are searching high and low for players. I’ve talked to three different coaches this week that have been to places like New Zealand, Australia, France, Croatia and Nigeria to see players, in particularly big men.

But some names in the states that fit the mold (somewhat) to what you are asking include: Hippolyte Tsafack (Miller School/VA), Steve Adams (Pasadena/CA), Ugo Okam (Montverde/FL), Jordan Railey (Beaverton/OR), Godwin Okonji (Findlay/NV).

How would you compare the following bigs: Kadeem Green (Charlotte, NC), Santoine Butler (Augusta, GA), or Donte Williams (Lithonia, GA). Who are in the recruiting mix with those guys and why haven't we heard much about them recently?

Of the three players you mentioned, I think Williams the best player of the bunch. I think he’s the best of the bunch by a significant gap. He has high-major potential and could be an all-conference level player at the mid-major schools.

Green is next on the pecking order. The Canadian has always been a very intriguing player. He has good size and length and 6-8 and he’ll have a game or two where you would like to say he’s a high-major guy. Ideally, Green would probably be served at the Atlantic 10 level.

Butler is now at Oldsmar Christian in Tampa, Florida and that should help his recruitment. When he was in Augusta, he was isolated away from a lot of schools. But he did play well at times in front of recruiters. I think Butler could play in a conference like the Southern or Big South and that is probably where he’ll go at the end of the day. Academically, Butler will have to get after in Tampa to open more recruiting doors.

What can you tell us about Justin Coleman and his recruiting. Evidently he is very talented.

Justin Coleman is very talented. He has a lot of features that the big-timers have. From an athletic standpoint, Coleman is one of the elite in the 2010 class. Academics are a major concern with him. Word is, he could be a part of the 2011 class or junior college bound barring an academic miracle. Now, we also have to remember in recruiting, anything is possible. It would surprise me if he becomes the guy everyone is going after come March.

In your opinion, who are the best recruiting bets at this point for Marquette?

That is a tough question to answer simply because Marquette recruits with such a large brush. They have ties to Texas, Northeast, the Deep South and, of course, the talented areas of Milwaukee, Chicago and other Midwestern cities. And then mix in junior colleges, a place where Buzz Williams has looked every spot he’s been as a college coach.

All of that being said, Coleman (who is mentioned in the previous question) is thought to be the favorite of the 2010 kids. Chicago Reggie Smith guard is high on the Big East school while local guard Vander Blue also comes to mind.

Where does Quincy Miller end up, in your opinion?

Good question. Something tells me that it will come down to a Duke-Illinois battle. Duke is Duke. And Illinois was one of the first high-major schools to really move on the versatile forward. Both Coach K and Bruce Weber have both taken the reigns in this recruitment and both head men have really made an impression with the 6-8 forward.

Miller doesn’t seem like a guy that will be making a decision any time soon and that bodes well for schools like Florida, Kentucky, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wake Forest and the other schools that are hot after him, too.

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