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April 2, 2010

Meyer's Mailbag: How high can 'Nova climb?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Mar 25: UK class to get a boost?
Mar 19: What is Knight waiting on?
Mar 13: Jones moving up?

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

What impact would the signing of Cory Joseph have on Villanova in the team recruiting rankings?

What benefit - if any - does the national exposure of going deep into the NCAA tournament have on a program's recruiting?

Is it the responsibility of a college coach to expand his player's game for future success at the next level?

These questions and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer.


'Nova rising?

If Cory Joseph chooses Villanova, does a Joseph/James Bell combo in the backcourt with Jayvaughn Pinkston and Markus Kennedy up front crack the top 15 in the class rankings?

- Graves from Indianapolis

Forget top 15, the question really should be whether Villanova will have a top-five recruiting class if it lands Joseph - the No. 7 ranked prospect in the country.

Right now, the No. 5 slot in the national team recruiting rankings is held by Syracuse. The Orange have an impact center in Frabricio de Melo, who is ranked No. 16 in the country. Syracuse also has a scoring combo guard Dion Waiters (No. 29), a versatile forward C.J. Fair (No. 111) and Baye Moussa Kieta - who is No. 145 overall.

Of these four, Fair has the best shot at moving up the rankings; the other three are expected to hold their rankings.

If Villanova were to land Joseph, they would have an elite point guard. With bruising forward Pinkston (No. 67), a highly athletic swing man in Bell (No. 76) and three-star center Markus Kennedy, that would give the Wildcats a superb group.

The one prospect in this class who will move up is Bell.

Both recruiting classes are balanced and comparable, but Villanova just might get the edge for having the most elite prospect in its class.


Bigger pool for Bears

What impact, if any, will Baylor's Elite Eight season have on its ability to recruit nationally? I know that Baylor has ties to the Midwest and North Carolina, but does this help Baylor gain some credibility with recruits outside of the region?

- Stephen from Seoul, South Korea

The No. 1 impact that going deep into the tournament has on recruiting is enhancing the ability of a program to broaden its geographical scope. Lesser-known national programs like Baylor and mid-major programs like Butler and Northern Iowa are not necessarily going to nab higher-ranked prospects just because of the recent national exposure. However, more prospects across the country are going to be aware of -- and respect -- these programs.

In the end, tournament exposure might not necessarily improve the quality of a programs recruiting. However, it should provide better access to more prospects -- which could make recruiting a little easier.


Coaching question

Jared Sullinger may be a center in college, but if he makes the NBA he may have to be a power forward. Is it the college coach's job to put the player at the position he's best suited for at the pro level? Should the coach prepare him for his future position, or play him at the position he helps the team most (Evan Turner played point guard for OSU)?

- Jonathan from Westerville

A college coach's job is to maximize his team's chances of winning. However, it is part of any coach's job to maximize the abilities of his players within the concept of winning as a team.

In regards to Sullinger, coach Thad Matta will put him in the position to best help Ohio State win. That means he will spend the majority of his time on the low block.

But Sullinger should also get ample practice time to develop his face-up skills. By expanding his game in practice, it can only help Ohio State in game situations - and it will certainly help Sullinger in his NBA aspirations.

Expanding players' games for the next level also is vital for recruiting success. The No. 1 concern of most elite prospects is preparing for the next level. Better recruiting typically results in more winning, so preparing players' games for the next level is very much a part of preparing to win.


Room for both

Now that Georgetown has Moses Abraham as a recruit, does this mean the end for Henry Sims getting playing time for the Hoyas?

- Richard from Florence

Not necessarily. I'm a believer in Sims, and the door will be open for him when Greg Monroe leaves. Abraham, although intriguing, is an unseasoned player who will need time to adjust to the American game. Abraham will need to improve offensively.

Sims has gone through the process that Abraham will likely need to go through before he is ready to make a impact. In my opinion, the center spot at Georgetown next year will be Sims' to lose.


No big deal

St. John's has committed to make another push to relevance in the Northeast, and more specifically the New York area. If their plan finally plays out the way they would like it to, do you think programs such as Duke and Louisville will feel a little squeeze since this is where they historically draw major talent?

- Kevin from Columbus

Steve Lavin is St. John's new coach, but I don't see programs like Duke and Louisville being overly concerned. Not that Lavin doesn't have the ability to be a top recruiter, but more because Duke and Louisville have the capability to recruit anywhere in the country. Also, the talent in New York is not as formidable as many other metropolitan areas in the country.

Lavin will certainly try to keep the top players in New York City, but look for Lavin to extend the reach of his program's recruiting. He has strong ties out West, and he would be smart to use those contacts. Don't be surprised if some top prospects throughout the country are lured to the bright lights of the Big Apple by Lavin.

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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