Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Paul Biancardi
Biancardi is the national recruiting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. He has 18 years of coaching experience at the Division I level, and is a member of the selection committees for the Gatorade Player of the Year award and the McDonald's All-American Game.
Send your questions and join Binacarid in The Show Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. ET!
Paul Biancardi (2:30 PM)
Good afternoon and Happy New Year hoop fans! We've got a lot to talk about so let's get going!
Hi Paul: i'm curious if you think that Villanova's 2009 class is the best in the nation having 4 top 50 players, plus Taylor King? Also, how many of the players look like McDonald's All-Americans? I am thinking Cheek and Waynes, but maybe even Mouph. thanks
Paul Biancardi (2:35 PM)
Thanks NY. Villanova's class is really remarkable and certainly will be in the Top 5. Getting Dominic Cheek was a feather in Jay Wright's cap to go along with three other outstanding recruits. Without question, though, North Carolina will hold the No. 1 spot in the national rankings but the Wildcats will be close behind. Cheek, Wayns and Mouph have great chances to be selected for the McD's game. They must continue to lead their teams and play like All-American's in order to be selected. One of these kids definitely should make it but it's too early to tell.
Thoughts on Pitt's commitments for next season and '10? Should be interesting to see if the No. 1 ranking opens doors to Jaime Dixon that were closed before. Thoughts on that as well? Thanks.
Paul Biancardi (2:39 PM)
Jim, I really like the Pitt Panthers recruiting class because it brings versatility. Jaime Dixon and his staff did a great job of beefing up in the scoring and rebounding department. Dante Taylor shows toughness and skill and will see playing time right away as a freshman. Certainly being ranked No. 1 will open more doors for Dixon. But it seems as though he has a blueprint for the type of players he goes after and it's not always the players with the highest rankings. They're not always the guys with the names but the guys with the games he goes after. Dixon will always have the Panthers ready to compete in the ever-difficult Big East.
What do you think about West Virginia's pick up of Bryon Allen. Though only a three star recruit this is their second player from Oak Hill they have comming to Morgantown.
Paul Biancardi (2:41 PM)
Matt, I really like this pickup for West Virginia. Allen is a strong, physical guard with a nice mid-range jumper. He competes and is productive for the high profile Oak Hill Academy. In the rigors of the Big East he will be hard to stop off the dribble and he will be able to defend on the ball with his big, strong body.
Do you think Abdul Gaddy is going to be a very special player?
Paul Biancardi (2:44 PM)
Hey Steiny. I believe Abdul Gaddy has a chance to be special because he has already established himself as a leader. He plays the most difficult position on the floor with a strong basketball IQ to run a team and the ability to score when needed. Gaddy's a student of the game and understands how to make everyone better around him. He is not an elite athlete, but will beat you with his skill and will. He's a little bit of a throwback type of player and one that will succeed at Washington and beyond.
Deron, Washington DC
For many in the DC, MD, and NOVA area, Grandy Glaze is the best prospect in the 2011 class in this area. Can we expect to see him enter ESPN's rankings this year?
Paul Biancardi (2:50 PM)
Hi Deron. We are familiar with Grandy and have an evaluation on him in our database. At 6'6, 220 lbs, with a mature game and a good basketball IQ, he scores the ball well around the basket. He rebounds the ball aggressively and shows and shows good post moves with his back to the basket. He is not a high-level athlete so he needs to work on his strength and conditioning to make up for his lack of athleticism. He has a chance to move up in our 2011 rankings. Thanks for bringing this youngster's name up.
Paul - no hemming and hawing. We know he's undecided, but where does Derrick Favors end up?
Paul Biancardi (2:54 PM)
Jason, without hemming and hawing, I can only tell you what I know. It's Georgia, Georgia Tech, Memphis and N.C. State. He will be playing on national TV on ESPN2 next Thurs. Jan. 15 for those who haven't seen him yet. He'll be matched up against DeMarcus Cousins of Mobile, Ala. making for an unbelievable showdown between two of the country's elite big men.
Is Duke out of the John Wall race? If so are they targeting any other point guard for the 2009 class or will they just wait till 2010 when they bring in Thorton?
Paul Biancardi (2:59 PM)
Thanks, Matt. Duke is involved with John Wall but his schools remain the same. But with Thornton on the way that will give the Blue Devils considerable help in the backcourt. He handles and passes the ball extremely well and scores at will off his dribble drives.
Do you see Mike Brey ever being able to recruit top tier prospects to ND? He runs a great program but to compete for a championship I would think he needs to be able to attract some top talent.
Paul Biancardi (3:05 PM)
Paul, after coaching at the high-major level for 15 years I've learned there's different ways to win a title. Most would agree you need a superstar to win a championship. But most of those kids are gone after a year or two. The other way to get a superstar is to develop one over the years. The way Brey does it and others do it, is to recruit those kids and turn them into stars. Take Luke Harangody, every coach in the country would take him right now. This is another way to win a championship or at least make a deep run in the NCAA tournament.
John (San Jose, CA)
Paul - 2008 was a down year from 2007, in terms of elite players. Can you comment on class of 2009 and 2010 compare to 2007 and 2008?
Paul Biancardi (3:09 PM)
Dear John, you are correct about 2007 being a year of great talent with players that went from high school to college and dominated with a handful moving on to the pro's quickly. When you look at future classes, 2009 is a good class but thins out very quickly after the top 10 players. I think 2010 is better than '09 and I would get really excited about 2011. I think that's your next class of real superstars.
Any news on Jamil Wilson? Please tell me he is going to join Izzo in East Lansing!
Paul Biancardi (3:11 PM)
Jeff, I think MSU has a great shot at landing him. They look to be the leader in the clubhouse.
Paul, are you going to any good events coming up? I hear Flyin' to the Hoop in Dayton is going to be pretty big.
Paul Biancardi (3:13 PM)
Branden, Flyin' to the Hoop in Dayton will be an excellent event and I encourage people in the area to check it out. I will be at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass. on Jan. 19 which has 45 teams and is a premier event. I will be doing two games on ESPNU at the event so tune in if you can't be there.
What is the word with Harrison Barnes? I've been hearing rumors that he is a Kansas lean now. Is this true? I really want to see him in a Duke uniform.
Paul Biancardi (3:16 PM)
Hi Chris. Barnes recently attended a Kansas game where Bill Self made it a point to say hi to him. He is a priority for so many major programs. Kansas, Duke, Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and the possibility of him staying home in Ames and going to Iowa State.
If Memphis lands Wall, will they have the # 1 class?
Paul Biancardi (3:21 PM)
Jeremy, if Memphis lands Wall, coach Cal and Memphis will have the best tandem of freshman guards in the country with he and Xavier Henry which could bring the Tigers back to the Final Four. I don't think it will put them at No. 1 because UNC's class is so strong top to bottom but it would definitely put them a No. 2. Stay tuned for this. I just saw Wall at the City of Palms and he is as good as advertised. When he develops a jumpshot behind the 3-point line, he will be a superstar.
What's up with the Gator recruits and how do you think they compare with past Gator classes?
Paul Biancardi (3:25 PM)
Thanks Jennifer. I Florida's class this year. I just saw Kenny Boynton at the City of Palms and the Great Florida Shootout and he's going to be an exciting scoring guard. The big guys of Painter and Murphy will bring skill and athleticism to Billy Donovan's frontcourt. This is as good a class, if not better, as the Gators have had in the last few years.
Does Michigan have anyone of note coming in for 2009? I like what Beilein is building. Need more talent though. Thanks!
Paul Biancardi (3:30 PM)
John, Matt Vorgrich will give the Wolverines a high basketball IQ and a nice 3-pt jump shot. Darius Morris gives them a point guard with good size at 6'3. These two players are great compliments to each other. They bring a good feel for the game which John Beilein puts a premium on. They're two players that fit well into a structured program.
What are your thoughts on Juanya Green? There's some talk he's ready to commit to Villanova for '11, would this be too soon?
Paul Biancardi (3:36 PM)
Thansk Dan. Juanya is a terrific athletic wing scorer. He doesn't over dribble which is a rare quality for a young player. He's plays in an extremely competitive Philadelphia Catholic League which will only make him better. As far as committing after his sophomore season as long as he's comfortable with the decision and the school. I think this is the earliest kids should commit because it gives the school and the player a chance to get to know each other. I haven't heard that 'Nova was his school of choice but Dan, you may know something we don't.
Paul Biancardi (3:38 PM)
Thanks for all your great questions! We'll be back next week at the same time. With the high school season in full swing the recruiting never stops. Don't forget to check out all the H.S. action on the ESPN family of networks, including next Thursday's showdown between LeFlore (Ala.) and South Atlanta. Take care everyone!