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August 6, 2010
Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
July 17: Is Rivers Duke bound?
June 5: ACC's best class could get better
May 29: Duke targets 2011 stars
Got a question? Click here to send it to Meyer's Mailbag
Which point guard out of the 2011 class would you want to run your team next year?
Can Steve Lavin rebuild the St. John's program by looking westward?
And how about a list of five prospects who emerged out of obscurity to national prominence during this year's travel circuit?
These questions and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.
Picking a point guard
- Jason from Augusta
Teague is the most talented player of the three, and he is the one I would pick for my team. He is an explosive playmaker with top-shelf abilities that just can't be taught. His quickness and speed with the basketball put him in the same category as talented point guards such as John Wall and Derrick Rose.
When the offense breaks down, Teague has the ability to create something out of nothing. That is one of the most valuable assets a point guard can bring to a team. It doesn't take much to get a team into an offense, but it takes a rare talent to create the offense.
The areas of weakness for Teague are areas that can be improved through quality coaching. I expect his outside shooting to improve as we are seeing with the point guards mentioned above. And I believe a coach that knows how to handle point guards will help Teague become a better leader and communicator.
Not too far behind Teague is Turner. I love how Turner has a well rounded offensive game and can defend either a strong guard or quick guard. He has the potential to be a lockdown defender on either the point or shooting guard.
Kabongo is going to be a very good college player as well. He has excellent leadership abilities and the intangibles that you love to have in your point guard. Full of talent as well, Kabongo just isn't as physical and athletically explosive as Teague and Turner.
Lavin looks West
Steve Lavin has an unusually high amount of scholarships available this year. He seems to be targeting primarily West Coast recruits, with a few notable exceptions (Maurice Harkless, Jakarr Sampson, Kadeem Jack). Do you think this is a short-term strategy and is it one that you think will be effective? Although it seems like a long-shot now, is it possible that Lavin could land what is a cumulative top ten caliber class?
- Marco from Rackaway Beach
Lavin's focus on recruiting the West Coast will be more of a long term strategy than a short term strategy because I expect it to be effective.
It seems as if every quality West Coast prospect is listing St. John's right now. With Lavin's strong connections on the coast, I expect him to land some of these prospects.
Lavin will also dig up some diamonds in the rough out of California similar to what Al Skinner did at Boston College.
At the same time, Lavin won't ignore the New York City area, but will instead try to unite the best from both coasts.
Asking for a top 10 recruiting class at this point is asking a lot. But given Lavin's energy and recruiting prowess, eventually producing a top 10 recruiting class is definitely within the realm of possibility. A lot will hinge on early on-court success.
Who would you say are the three best scorers in high school basketball, regardless of class?
- Jerome from Irvington
I'll give you my top scorer out of the 2011, 2012 and 2013 classes.
In the 2011 class it is Austin Rivers. You would be hard pressed to find a more explosive first step to the basket than Rivers' first step. If he gets just the slightest edge on a defender going right, it is over. He can get to the basket and has a variety of midrange shots at his disposal if he doesn't get to the rim.
He is also good shooter from deep. Maybe even better than a good shooter, but he takes so many difficult three-pointers, he doesn't shoot that high of a percentage from three. If he would reign in his shot selection, his percentage would certainly go up.
At the same time, though, his ability to make difficult long range shots makes him such a dangerous offensive player.
Out of the 2012 class Rasheed Sulaimon is scorer to watch out for. He has a smooth stroke from three off the catch, and he is utterly explosive off the dribble. As with all great shooting guards, Sulaimon can get his shot whenever he wants to.
And perhaps the best scorer regardless of class comes out of the 2013 class. Rodney Purvis is simply a nightmare to defend. He shoots with range, is physical and explosive off the bounce and has great body control at the rim. The King City Classic was missing a lot of top prospects in the country this year. Nonetheless, Purvis was far and away the top scorer at that event.
Making a name
Who were your top 5 "No Names" that made a name for themselves during the summer?
- Patrick from Atlanta
I'm going to include the spring events as well in answering this question.
First and foremost is Anthony Davis. He went from an unknown to a consensus top 10 prospect after exploding onto the national scene this spring.
Nick Faust has steadily risen up the charts during the travel season. Now he is regarded as one of the top shooting guards in the country.
Ben McLemore had some buzz surrounding his name coming into the spring, but no one had a clear vision of just how good he was. Over the course of the travel circuit, McLemore proved he is a five-star talent.
Norman Powell had a limited reputation entering the travel circuit, but the athletic shooting guard is now considered a top 50 talent.
Similar to Powell, Bernard Sullivan wasn't necessarily considered a high major prospect prior to the travel circuit, but now he is a four-star prospect.
With the recent emergence of Ben McLemore on to the AAU scene, there has been a huge buzz surrounding the St. Louis prospect. Ben has showed that he can provide his tremendous athleticism on a nightly basis and also be a wingman to any superstar player. At 6-5, 185 pounds, who can you compare the No. 7 shooting guard to in the NBA?
- Matthew from St. Louis
No comparisons are perfect, but McLemore reminds me of former Oklahoma State star James Anderson. They are similar in size and have comparable athleticism. Like Anderson, McLemore has a well-rounded skill set and is also a versatile defender. Both can catch and shoot, create plays off the dribble and are dangerous offensive rebounders.
Anderson really improved as a long-range shooter in college, and it will be interesting to see if McLemore becomes as dangerous a shooter as Anderson became.
Jerry Meyer is a national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. Click here to send him a question or comment for his mailbag.