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August 27, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Leslie raises his game

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Aug 14: Can UK do it again?
July 31: Who's the top SF prospect?
July 22: A closer look at the nation's best
Fans of five-star forward C.J. Leslie wonder if he might have Kevin Garnett-type potential.

Maryland fans want to know how good their recruiting class might be.

Also, what prospect outside of the top 50 in the 2009 class might make a big impact in on college basketball this year?

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer covers these topics and more in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Leslie's potential

Would you agree that C.J. Leslie has the potential to be a Kevin Garnett based on his work ethic and energy? I was impressed of his ability to play both ends of the court.

-- Charles from Richmond
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Leslie certainly has worked hard on his game this summer and has competed at quite a high level. His passion for the game is similar to Garnett's passion on the court as you note in your question.

I think it is asking a little too much of Leslie to be a Kevin Garnett. He is at least three inches shorter than Garnett, and doesn't shoot the ball nearly as well as Garnett does.

The comparison works to a point but then falls apart. Nonetheless, Leslie established himself as one of the top power forwards in the class of 2010. He rebounds and blocks shots as well as any of the other big men and is also one of the best ball handlers and passers at his position.

If he ever becomes a consistent finisher and shooter, Leslie will be scary good. His driving ability and athleticism allow him to get pretty much any shot he wants. The question has always been "will he make it?" Over the course of the summer, he started making more.

Talented Terps

What are your thoughts on Maryland's 2010 recruiting class? How would you rank it and how good can it potentially be?

-- John from Maryland
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Maryland has established a solid foundation to its 2010 recruiting class with commitments from shooting guard Terrence Ross (No. 43 overall), forward Mychal Parker (No. 53) and guard Terrell Stoglin (No. 122).

This three-man class presently holds the No. 7 spot in the national team recruiting rankings. Despite being No. 7 nationally, in terms of the ACC, Maryland is No. 4 behind North Carolina, North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Obviously, the ACC is off to a great start recruiting in the 2010 class.

Maryland will likely need to land a quality big man to hold onto a top-10 national ranking. If Maryland were to land four-star Damontre Harris, who will officially visit next month, they will hold their ground in the top 10. Land a ringer like elite power forward Tobias Harris, and the Terps would rise as high as No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in the ACC.

Potential impact

We are now a short time away from the start of the 2009/10 college basketball season and the debut of the 2009 recruiting class. Are there any players to keep our eye on who are ranked 51-150 who you feel could significantly impact their college teams more than you originally thought when you finalized the 2009 rankings?

-- Denny from Sacramento
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One prospect definitely stands out as an answer to your question. Look for Mangisto Arop to make a big splash at Gonzaga this year. I recently saw Arop, the No. 88 ranked prospect in the Rivals150 for 2009, play for Team Canada in the Nike Global Games, and he was outstanding.

An athletic and strong wing player at 6 feet 5, Arop can score in a variety of ways, fills the lanes well on the break and defends and rebounds. I expect Arop to take over the small forward position for Gonzaga this year. He will give them a dose of athleticism and talent on the wing.

Slotting Dawkins

With the addition of Andre Dawkins to Duke's 2009 recruiting class where does he rank in terms of '09 top prospects?

-- Christy from Marietta
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Dawkins would fall in the bottom half of the five-star prospects for 2009. It would be a tough decision between him and John Jenkins (Vanderbilt) for that No. 6 spot in the shooting guard rankings.

Dawkins isn't quite the shooter that Jenkins is, but he is a better and more versatile defender. In fact, Dawkins will likely defend the one through the three at different times for Duke this year.

Dream class

The Tigers have the Barton brothers right now, and Joe Jackson looks to be a heavy Memphis lean. If the Tigers add Tarik Black, Roscoe Smith, Casey Prather, and Chris Crawford. Where would you rank their 2010 class?

-- Rick from Memphis
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Whoa! Let's don't get too greedy here. Memphis does have Will Barton and Antonio Barton. It is very likely that they land Joe Jackson. Then let's hypothetically give the Tigers Tarik Black. This quite possible four-man class with two highly ranked five-stars, a highly ranked four-star and a three-star would put Memphis at No. 2 behind Ohio State as the rankings stand at the moment.

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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