Good afternoon hoop fans and welcome to another recruiting chat. The questions so far have been great so let's get right to it!
Is Marquette going to land any more recruits for next year's class?
Thanks Dave. I think Marquette has pretty much addressed every position but center in their 2009 class. With Junior Cadougan, he's probably their best recruit because he can replace their current backcourt. The only exception may be them losing Trevor Mbakwe to Minnesota so things may change as we see during the course of the year.
What makes Ohio State such a great recruting program?
1) They have one of the hottest head coaches in the country who has had success wherever he's gone. 2) They have unlimited resources in terms of their facilities and support form the athletic department. They are one of the elite schools in the Big Ten Conference and they have a great recruiting base in the state of Ohio, along with the border states. The school is also so well known nationally that they can pretty much recruit anywhere. They've really built on the Greg Oden-Mike Conley class from a few years ago. Their 2010 class is evidenced of this, which has four ESPNU Super 60 kids, including the No. 1 power forward (Sullinger) and the No. DeShaun Thomas (Thomas).
Reggie, any thoughts on where Jai Lucas may end up, and when he may decide?
Thanks for the question Nick. What I've heard is Texas has an interest and that Rice is going all out to try and get Jai. His hometown is Houston, his father works kids out there so Rice would love to have him. I think it would be a great fit for them. He would play immediately. Head coach Ben Braun is a veteran coach who has had great point guards in the past. Jai will take his time and not rush in to this and see whatever schools show interest. He will do his research on point guards at other schools before he does anything.
Which freshman do you think will have the biggest impact in the Big East next year?
Well Steve, you have to start with the Villanova backcourt of Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek and then you have to look Dante Taylor who will be at Pitt. Also, I think Alex Oriakhi at UConn also falls into this group along with Peyton Siva at Louisville. Basically, Cheek and Wayns combine a terrific point guard with an all-around scoring guard. Taylor brings size and strength as does Oriakhi. Siva gives you a quick, athletic point guard who can score enough to keep defenses honest. Keep an eye on those five kids next year.
Mr. Rankin, Have you had the opportunity to watch Mouph Yarou of Montrose Christian play recently? When I heard that DeMarcus Cousins was absolutely over-matched by him when they played one another, I had to get out to see him? so I did. FYI: This kid is 6'10" and at least 245 pounds and I've never seen a player at his size be so skilled with the ball and his footwork. I swore I was looking at Hakeem Olajuwon in his youth. Outside of Derrick Favors, this kid is in a whole different league then the rest of the 2009 Big Men?..Have you seen him? I'm very interested in hearing your opinion of his game.
Scott, I have seen him play recently. Yarou is an extremely skilled, athletic post who can score inside out to 17 feet. He can take advantage of less mobile post players off the dribble. He's got good hands and is a good shot blocker. He and Cousins are similar in size and skill but Mouph plays harder for longer periods of time with more energy. DeMarcus can fluctuate on his effort at times. One thing Cousins can do is step out and shoot the three but I can see why you think Yarou be a special player.
Reggie: Many of us who follow recruiting got a good laugh when Biancardi said the addition of Dom Cheek should boost Nova's class from #7 and into the Top 5. Just about every other recruiting site on the internet is moving NOVA to #1 for 2009. At this point its common knowledge that NOVA is bringing in the best group next year. ESPN Recruiting's credibility is at risk here. Are you at all concerned? I can see how one can still make an argument for UNC to be #1 but putting any other team's class ahead of NOVA is just ignorant. Do you agree?
Osman, you are right that Cheek's addition takes the Wildcats to another level. In my opinion, it puts them at No. 2 behind UNC. Villanova has added an impact player at the point, shooting guard, and the power forward/center position. We'll certainly revisit the rankings as we head into the new year as they can change on a moments notice. I do feel that with or without Cheek, however, they don't jump ahead of the Tar Heels.
Now that Jeff Whitney is transferring from Arizona, what do you think the chances are that he lands at Indiana University. Crean has already received the ok from Arizona to recruit the 7 footer and Whitney has said that he wants to play for a coach who will be there for his entire college career. Crean has a 10 year contract and can offer immediate playing time. What do you think
Jesse, I think it would be a good move for both Tom Crean and Jeff Withey if Withey landed there. You're right, Crean would be his coach his entire career. Indiana is desperately trying to fill the cupboard with quality players and if Withey ends up there it would be great for both parties.
Reggie, where do you see Villanova next season with this amazing recruiting class?
Justin, with this class they are certainly on track to be a quality NCAA tourney team. It would be a disappointment if they didn't make it. They not only have the best class in the Big East, but quite possibly the best freshman backcourt in the entire country.
I know that UNC had the early #1 class out of the gate, but will there be anymore additions to their recruiting class?
No, Cliff, I think their 2009 class is complete barring any changes during the course of the season. They are focused on 2010 right now and are off to a great start with Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall, who will form quite a backcourt when they arrive at Chapel Hill.
Who has the inside track on Josh Smith? (Please tell me the UW ... had to help to get Gaddy.)
TR, Josh is such a strong, physical presence in the low post that every team would want him. He can dunk in traffic, through contact and is a monster on the glass. With him being on the West Coast, you gotta believe UCLA will go after him hard and sell him on the Kevin Love success story. Duke will make a serious push because they've lacked a dominant big man the last few years. He'll probably look at a tradition rich school where he can shine as a freshman.
How do you see Daniel Orton fitting into UK's system next season, with or without Patterson?
Thanks Nick. With or without Patterson, I see Orton as an immediate impact player. If he's healthy he's a "walk-in-the-door" starter. I worry about his health right now but he has the size, skill and ability to impact the Wildcats right away. Outside of Patterson, he is Billy Gillispie's best recruit. He brings rebounding and back to the basket scoring. He greatly improve the Wildcats in the next year or two.
Can Jared Sullinger improve if he hit a weight program? He seems like he could potentially be stronger.
Richard, Jared Sullinger's No. 1 priority is to stay in tip top shape all year round. He's lost some weight recently when I saw him in Kentucky. He is very skilled, tough and can score inside and out and can make plays off the dribble. He defended his No. 1 ranking at the Marshall Co. HoopFest. As long as he's in shape he'll be an impact player.
Do you think Illinois' 09' and 10' recruiting classes are missing that banger inside? I love the guards and wings but I'm worried there's a lack of upfront difference makers there.
Dave, there is still time to add a post to those classes for the Illini. They may be looking to identify a post need and something like that may happen before the spring and certainly before next fall's signing period.
In regards to Arizona, I know Victor Rudd is still considering UofA, but how does their recruiting prospects look? Will things normalize with a new coach? Gotta keep that NCAA streak alive!
One thing we know, Rich, is with a new coach things will certainly normalize but it's almost from a start over standpoint. Once a permanent coach is in place they'll be able to land quality players because of what Coach Olson built there and the all the success the Wildcats have had in the past. Rudd is certainly in the mix along with a forward Colin Borchert who are both mid-major prospects in our system. The key is to hire a permanent coach so there is some stability in the program. But Arizona will definitely be back sooner rather than later.
Do you believe that college coaches are scared of Europeans due to not knowing if they may have played pro or not (and this could burn them)?
Jim, I think college coaches that coach at schools that don't have a solid in-state really use overseas recruiting to their advantage. If the kid's a really good player sometimes it's worth only having the player for two or three years. It's akin to recruiting juco kids. Coaches must do as much homework as they can before they sign them. The one good thing is that Europeans or other overseas prospects are usually very good academically. So while it makes coaches nervous the rewards can definitely outweigh the risks.
Do you think Demarcus Cousins will stay at UAB? Does MIZZOU have a chance to land him?
Dan, I think Cousins will be wherever Mike Davis is. He's committed to Davis not to UAB or any other school at this point. He'll wait to see what happens with Davis in the spring and what happens at other schools as far as where he'd be a good fit. I don't think it has anything to do with UAB.
Thanks for all the great questions! I've enjoyed the variety and keep them coming in the next few weeks. We'll resume this chat on Jan. 7 at the start of the new year. Following all the Holiday Tournaments we'll have plenty to talk about! Also, don't forget to watch the City of Palms 3rd place game and Championship Game next Tuesday, Dec. 23 on ESPNU. The action kicks off at 3 p.m. EDT. Also, Paul Biancardi hosts our weekly recruiting insider show every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. EDT on ESPNU. Check it out!