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January 15, 2010

Meyer's Mailbag: Top teams chasing Ross

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Jan 7: Big men in high demand
Dec 17: Can UK land 2011's top three?
Dec 13: Bruins search for a PG

Got a question? Click here to send it to Meyer's Mailbag

Does Maryland have any chance of winning back top-50 prospect Terrence Ross from the likes of Duke, Kansas and Kentucky?

Just what kind of fit will elite forward Tobias Harris be at Tennessee?

What kind of shape is Kansas in with its recruitment of Josh Selby?

These questions and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.


Gone for good?

Has Maryland lost Terrence Ross?

- Steve from Bethesda, Md.

Ross, the No. 43 ranked prospect in the Rivals150, has decommitted from Maryland. I would place the odds at "slim to none" that he would return to the Terrapin fold.

For one, it is very unlikely for a recruit to recommit to a school once he has decommitted. Secondly, it seems even more unlikely in Ross' case. Since his decommitment, he is now being pursued by three elite programs- Duke, Kansas and Kentucky. Thirdly, Ross' decommitment has occurred so late in the game, a switch to another school has to be anticipated.


Tennessee with Tobias

I watched Tennessee's game against Kansas, and they played great. How good do you think they will be will Tobias Harris next year?

- John from New York City

Based on Harris' skill set, how he wants to be utilized in college and Bruce Pearl's offensive system, he couldn't have made a better choice.

Basically, Tennessee utilizes its four-man as a second guard at the top of its offensive structure. The four man has the ball in his hands for much of the possession, and is a primary decision maker.

Ample opportunities are there to produce as a scorer and passer. If the defender sinks in to help defend the flex action on the baseline, then the 3-pointer opens up. If the defender crowds the four-man, then there are wide-open driving lanes because of the spread nature of the offense.

Think of the success Dane Bradshaw and Tennessee enjoyed with Bradshaw at the four. If Harris can just bring half the intangibles that Bradshaw brought to the court, then Harris' skill level, size and athleticism could propel the Tennessee offense to a level it hasn't been to under the guidance of Pearl.


On the Heels

Where would Duke's class rank if they could land Terrence Ross? It seems to me a wing (after missing out on Barnes) is still what this class needs? Thanks

- Jim from Durham

A Ross commitment to Duke would place the Blue Devils neck-and-neck with rival North Carolina for the No. 3 spot in the current 2010 national team recruiting rankings.

Duke would have an elite prospect in Kyrie Irving along with two top-50 prospects - Ross and Joshua Hairston- and a ranked three-star prospect in Tyler Thornton.

North Carolina has two elite prospects in Harrison Barnes and Reggie Bullock, along with top-40 prospect Kendall Marshall.

Although North Carolina has one less recruit, its two elite recruits would likely hold off Duke, placing the Blue Devils at No. 4 in the rankings.


Chances with Selby

How good of a chance does KU have of landing Josh Selby?

- Travis from Blue Springs

Kansas is in as good a position as any school to land Selby, the No. 4 prospect in the Rivals150. Selby took his first visit this fall to Kansas on his own dime for the Late Night in the Phog festivities.

More importantly than Selby attending Kansas' first practice is that Kansas, as of now, is the only school on Selby's list that will host him on a second visit. On Valentine's weekend Selby will return to see the KU campus again.

Kansas loses starting point guard Sherron Collins, presenting the perfect opportunity for Selby to step in and run the show. He is a versatile combo guard on both sides of the ball who can flourish in Bill Self's system.


Don't believe the hype

Can you think of another major college program that has had a similar amount of high-profile transfers leave the school as Duke? I realize the reasoning behind Elliot Williams leaving was not the same as some of the others, but it seems like we lose one recruit each class (Czyz, Boykin, King, Boateng). Transfers coupled with guys leaving early consistently leaves us with a lack of depth at certain positions each year.

- Mike from Chicago

The real issue here is that Duke has recruited players such as the one's you mentioned who are not good enough to compete for an ACC championship. Many people in the recruiting industry (and I exclude Rivals.com, since we ranked these prospects lower than most - if not everyone) then over-rank these prospects because they are being recruited by or are going to Duke. They are then voted McDonald's All-Americans and come to college with overinflated expectations.

Then, when they have to play a limited role or have trouble even getting off the bench, they transfer.

Basically, the recruits and the program fall victim to the Duke media hype machine.

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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