Good afternoon, hoop fans. What better time to talk recruiting than in the middle of March Madness. Looks like we got some good questions so let's get right to it.
How big of an impact will Cousins and Henry have on the Memphis program? And how does this improve if John Wall commits to Memphis?
Thanks Marc. I expect Cousins and Henry to have an immediate impact at Memphis. They will compliment each other well with Henry scoring from the perimeter while Cousins takes care of business in the paint. If Wall picks Memphis, like I expect him to do, he would become the orchestrator for this immensely talented group.
How good is Micheal Gilchrist and what are his top schools?
Ok, Darius. Thanks. It may be too early to speculate on Gilchrist's recruitment at this point but he has all of the makings of a great player. He can score inside and out on the perimeter and has a never ending motor which makes him truly special.
Where does Micheal Dixon stand from Lee Summit High School in terms of the best point guard prospects in the country?
Eric, Michael Dixon, though he may rank slightly below the elite point guard prospects in the '09 class, he has all the tools to become a success at the next level. He has very good lateral quickness and his on-ball pressure defense makes him a great fit for Mizzou's up-tempo attack.
Can Brandan Coughill immediately fill Iowa's need for a quality big man?
Kingpin, while Cougill doesn't have elite athleticism he does have a very high basketball IQ and will outwork opposing bigs. He may not have an immediate impact in the Big 10, the Hawkeyes will benefit down the road from his rebounding and impressive passing ability for a big man.
Ohio State loses both of its point guards following the 2009-10 season. Should or will the Buckeyes take a true point guard in the 2009 or 2010 class or will Lenzelle Smith Jr. be able to handle the point as a true freshman?
Jonathan, the Buckeyes remain on the hunt for a true point guard who can run the show. Word on the street is they have targeted a number of talented PG's, including 2010's Phil Pressey. Though he doesn't rank as a true playmaker, Lenzelle Smith does have a high enough bball IQ where he can play the point in a pinch. Probably not an every day 1, though.
What is West Virginia getting in Dalton Pepper?
Steiny, good to have you back. In Pepper, the Mountaineers are getting a hard nosed player cut in the same cloth as head coach Bob Huggins. He has a very physical, though style of play that will allow him to overpower weaker players on the perimeter. This should make him a favorite of Huggins.
what the chances lance stephenson teams up with another top top 10 player like john wall at kansas or sidney at usc? thanks
Jesus, If you ask me I think he'll end up at St. John's and lead the resurgence of the Red Storm on the national scene. As far as Kansas, I don't think Wall ends up there so you can scratch that combination. Also, USC looks like a longshot. Maryland could be where he ends up, too. We'll see.
Kingpin, what can you tell me about the Carolina recruits, namely Strickland? Can he play the point next year. The heels will be in big trouble if Larry Drew II is running the show!
Thanks Scott. With a little more seasoning and experience, Larry Drew will be fine at the point for UNC. Having said that, Strickland has an amazing amount of talent and can run the point if needed but his skills are best utilized when he plays off the ball and has the freedom to score at will.
Antonio, can you tell me a little more about DaShonte Riley? Is he ready to get minutes as a freshman? Does he have the desire to develop into a top-flight big man? Who does he remind you of? Thanks!
Ben, Riley has all the physical tools to be a dominant big man. He has good touch around the basket, great length and has range out to about 15 feet. When he wants to, Riley can absolutely dominate a game on both ends. His motivation has come into question and if he finds a way to stay engaged, he should see the floor early at Syracuse.
Did you see Jereme Richmond's half-court game winner last week? He looks like a great grab for Bruce Weber and the Illini, even though he's only a junior.
EK, I missed that game winner :(. Coach Weber came under fire for his 2007 and '08 recruiting classes, most notably losing Eric Gordon. It looks like that criticism was premature with the groups he's got coming in in 2009 and '10. Richmond has a very mature game which allows him to play some point-forward at times. He's got outstanding athleticism and if he stays focused he should become a pro.
What are the chances I can land both Josh Smith and Tony Wroten Jr in the next 2 years?
Hey Coach! Good luck next week! With the success the Huskies have enjoyed this season there's no reason to think that you won't be heavily involved in Smith and Wroten. Just as you have proven to be a great coach, you have also displayed your immense recruiting prowess.
What do you think of Nova's 09 recruits? Can Yarou step into the starting line up and fill the stat sheet like Cunningham does now?
Obviously, Villanova has an outstanding '09 recruiting haul. While Yarou has the physical tools to dominate inside let's give him a chance to get acclimated to life in the Big East. To ask him to produce like Cunningham is a tall task for any first year player.
Will Michigan see a boom in recruiting after making their first NCAA Tournament in 11 years?
Thanks Brad. Though Michigan has its first tourney birth since '98, expect John Beilein to stick to his recruiting formula which has obviously generated success. He'll continue to get his type of players that will execute his system, resulting in more victories and more NCAA births.
Some of the other sites have Harrison Barnes considering Minnesota but you do not. What have you heard to believe that he is not considering MN?
Barnes' recruiting is still a ways away from being resolved so teams may come and go. I wouldn't say he's not considering Minnesota. He just hasn't officially narrowed anything down.
What about the Gator recruits? It certainly seems to me they need an inside presence, and someone who can rebound/defend.
Jennifer, you are absolutely right. They have two post prospects on the way in Erik Murphy and DeShawn Painter. While Murphy is the more skilled of the two, Painter should provide the Gators with a high energy, inside presence capable of crashing the boards on both ends. Painter will also be asked to contest shots on defense.
If Ohio State already has Sullinger and Thomas as big men in 2010, why are they trying to go after a big man such as Adrien Payne out of Dayton? Are they anticipating one-and-dones?
Luke, coaches are always looking to recruit the best players they can, including multiple players at one position, You can never have enough depth in the frontcourt. However, Thomas and Sullinger are two very different front line prospects. While Sullinger works best in the paint, Thomas has the athleticism to play away from the hoop and slash his way to the bucket. I see him (Thomas) as more of a wing player at OSU.
Hi Antonio. Has BC signed anyone to fill Tyrese's Rice's vacant roster spot next season?
Thanks Nick. No, the Eagles have not signed anyone for the 2009 class. They are anticipating freshman Reggie Jackson will step into Rice's shoes next year. in 2010, they have a playmaker from Hartford, Conn coming in, Danny Lawhorn.
Will Boynton be replacing a leaving Calathes next year, or will they play together complimented by Walker?
Ken, all three of those guards can easily play together but the Gators have definitely protected themselves if Calathes leaves early for the NBA draft.
How do you feel about the big men coming into Pitt next year? Talib Zanna is underrated.
Rich, I would agree with you on Zanna. We really like this kid which is why we put him in to the ESPNU 100 in January. He's got great athleticism and attacks the boards with ferocity on both ends of the court. As he improves offensively, Zanna will become a quality big man in the Big East. The other post player coming in, Dante Taylor, also has very good athleticism and when focused can dominate the game inside with his shot blocking and scoring ability.
If Meeks and Patterson stay, do you think Kentucky can be a national threat with the addition of top recruit Daniel Orton?
Paul, if both of those guys stay, the Wildcats have a chance to jump back into the mix both in SEC and the national picture. Having a consistent perimeter threat like Meeks to go along with the inside presence of Patterson and Orton should spell relief for the Kentucky faithful next season.
Thanks for all the great questions this week. Enjoy the first and second round tourney games and we'll check back with you next Monday, same time, same place. Have a great week!