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November 28, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: UK waits on 2010 prospects

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Nov 20: How good is the Memphis class?
Nov 13: Tigers could sign top class
Nov 6: Barnes or bust for UNC?
There is a restlessness in the Bluegrass State about Kentucky's 2010 recruiting. Should Kentucky fans be nervous?

Is Tennessee back in play for elite guard Josh Selby?

What is the difference between the top two shooting guards - Bradley Beal and Austin Rivers - in the 2011 class?

These questions, and more, are addressed by national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Wildcats wait

Several UK fans are starting to get restless with the lack of commits for 2010. Is there any reason for these UK fans to worry? Will John Calipari land another top-five recruiting class?

-- Jonathan from St. Louis
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It is safe to say that Kentucky fans should be at least concerned, if not anxious, over how its 2011 recruiting class is going to play out. I'm sure the Kentucky coaching staff is concerned as well.

Kentucky does have a quality recruit in wing Stacey Poole, who is a highly ranked four-star prospect. UK is involved with at least six other prospects, five of which are five-star prospects. The bottom line, however, is that Kentucky does only have one recruit in a recruiting class that has a lot of holes to fill.

At the point guard position, Kentucky is firmly in the mix with Brandon Knight and Josh Selby. Likely, the best Kentucky can hope for is to land one of these guards, but it is no guarantee that Kentucky lands Knight or Selby.

Five-star shooting guard Doron Lamb has Kentucky in his top five, but Kentucky doesn't appear to be at the top of Lamb's list at this point.

At the power forward position, Kentucky is working hard to land Terrence Jones and C.J. Leslie. Both have games that fit in perfectly with the dribble/drive offense, and Kentucky is considered to be near the top - if not at the top - of both of their schools lists. Kentucky has a good shot at landing at least one of these power forwards, and it is certainly possible that Kentucky could land both of them.

Kentucky is also involved, at least some degree, with top-40 prospect Luke Cothron. Considered a soft commitment to North Carolina State, Cothron - a power forward - didn't sign with the Wolfpack during the early signing period and could very likely end up at a different school. If the dominoes fall the right way for Kentucky, Calipari will bring in a top-five class. If the dominoes don't fall the right way, Kentucky won't even make it into the national recruiting rankings.

More Selby rumors

Jerry, is it true that Josh Selby is thinking of the Vols again?

-- Grant from Semmes
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A rumor has been circulating that Selby is once again involved with Tennessee as a recruit. However, Selby's mother - Maeshon Witherspoon - emphatically shot down that rumor when Rivals.com spoke with her.

Witherspoon did shed a little light on how the rumor might have gotten started.

"It's never been a secret that Coach (Steve) Forbes and I are great friends and will talk with each other," said Witherspoon. "But that doesn't mean in any way that Josh is going to end up there."

Commitment coming

There have been rumors flying around that 2011 star Bradley Beal is going to commit in the very near future, so who is the leader for him and when do you think he will end up committing?

-- Brian from Sycamore
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Yes, Beal - the No. 7 ranked prospect in the class of 2011 - is set to announce his commitment on Monday. The elite shooting guard from St. Louis is down to Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri. Most, however, have his recruitment handicapped as a battle between Kansas and Florida. I wouldn't be surprised if Beal announces for the Jayhawks.

Miller's team

Should Arizona fans expect Sean Miller to recruit the same types of athletes that we've grown accustomed to under Lute Olson, or will he seek out less high-profile but perhaps more coachable players who might stick around for three or four seasons?

-- Alex from Las Vegas
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Coach Olson did coach some great athletes during his time at Arizona. At the end of his time, he did become disenchanted with the one-and-done trend and the recruiting pressure it creates (See John Calipari and Kentucky).

Coach Miller's teams at Xavier were never known for being un-athletic. Miller always had a mix of athletic, physically tough and intelligent players. Some were highly recruited prospects. Many were under-the-radar prospects.

At Arizona, I expect him to basically utilize the same formula. I wouldn't expect the athleticism of Arizona teams to drop, and I expect Miller to go after more highly ranked prospects than he might have been able to pursue at Xavier.

The trick to competing at a high level in college basketball is to recruit high-level athletes who are coachable, and that is exactly what I expect Miller to do.

Rivers vs. Beal

How would you compare two of the better guards in the 2011 class, Austin Rivers and Bradley Beal? Do you view them both as combo guards? Thank you.

-- Don from Akron
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Both Rivers and Beal are primarily shooting guards. They handle the ball well for shooting guards, but both are wired to score. What essentially makes them special as players is their prolific scoring ability.

Rivers is more comfortable as a point guard than Beal, since he has spent more time playing that position.

When it comes to scoring, it is probably a wash between the two. Rivers loves to pull up off the dribble from 3-point range, and he has a terrific first step to the basket going right. He also has a nifty array of finishes in that tricky area between 5 and 10 feet from the basket.

Beal shoots it at a high level behind the arc both off the catch and the dribble. He also has a classic pull up jumper in the midrange. When he is crowded, he has the explosiveness to get to the basket and finish.

On the defensive side of the ball, I'd give Beal a definite advantage over Rivers. Beal has impressive lateral quickness and is a more physical defender than Rivers.

Both prospects are great talents and ranked in the top 10 nationally in the 2011 class. Beal, however, has the slight edge over Rivers because he has everything you look for in a shooting guard on both sides of the ball.

Jerry Meyer is a national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. Click here to send him a question or comment for his mailbag.



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