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May 14, 2010

Meyer's Mailbag: Who's next for UNC?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 7: What makes Selby No. 1?
April 30: Why no LOI for Knight?
April 15: Miller in UK's future?

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

Where will North Carolina turn to replace the loss of several frontline players?

Is Kentucky on the verge of once again having the No. 1 recruiting class in the country?

Who is Josh Pastner working on in the 2011 class to follow up on his stellar recruiting effort in the class of 2010?

These questions and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.


Who's next for UNC?

Which of these four players are the Tar Heels likely to land? Eloy Vargas, Marcus Thornton, Kadeem Jack, or Justin Knox?

- Danny from Great Neck

Right now Knox looks like the front-runner to end up at North Carolina.

North Carolina has recently inquired about Vargas, but he is looking primarily at Kentucky, Arizona and Seattle. He didn't make his Seattle visit earlier this week, which is never a good sign. Vargas was supposed to visit Arizona this weekend, but he is also scheduled to be on Kentucky's campus today. Right now, all signs point toward Kentucky for Vargas.

Thornton has stated that he is down to Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Texas.

Jack, who was planning to attend prep school, has had contact with North Carolina. Knox is scheduled to graduate from Alabama this summer, meaning he will have one year of eligibility remaining. Knox has the ability to make more of an immediate impact than Jack.

Knox will visit North Carolina on Monday and appears to be the top recruiting target for North Carolina's diminished frontline.


Elite quartet for Duke?

What are the chances of Duke having Michael Gbinije, Tyler Adams, Austin Rivers, and Quincy Miller at the end of the 2011 recruiting process? Could you compare Adams to Michael Chandler and tell us who would be better in Duke's system?

- Daryl from Bryans Road

The chances are quite good that Duke will land the group you mentioned. Gbinije and Adams have already committed to the Blue Devils. Rivers is a heavy Duke lean, and Miller's recruitment could easily come down to a two-school race between Duke and Kentucky.

If Duke were to land this hypothetical class, the Blue Devils would have an elite combo guard, and elite combo forward, a versatile wing in the top 30 and a likely top-50 low post player.

Adams is a solid four-star center prospect, but Chandler is an elite five-star center prospect. So there really isn't that much of a comparison. Chandler is much more athletic and has a better skill level than Adams. However, Adams does play a more physical brand of basketball. Chandler projects as a better player regardless of the system.


Is Vargas headed to Kentucky?

If UK lands Eloy Vargas, does that give them the No. 1 class?

- Mike from Lexington

Landing Vargas would push Kentucky past Memphis into the top spot in the national team recruiting rankings for 2010.

As a 2008 prospect, Vargas was the No. 26 ranked prospect in the Rivals150. He wasn't healthy, and consequently struggled during his freshman year at Florida. He transferred to Miami Dade Community College, where he hit his stride. Vargas and averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds per game.


Wear brothers headed West?

Where do you think the Wear brothers will land? Is UCLA the favorite? If so, what are your thoughts on the state of UCLA.

- Drew from Los Angeles

The working assumption in the college basketball world is that David Wear and Travis Wear will end up at UCLA. The Wears chose North Carolina over UCLA coming out of high school. They are from the Los Angeles area, and most folks have them penciled in as future Bruins.

The UCLA basketball program is down. There is no doubt about that. The program, however, isn't out.

Present players like Malcolm Lee and Jerime Anderson need to step up and perform at the level that was expected of them coming out of high school. Frontcourt players like Reeves Nelson and Brandon Lane need to get healthy and stay healthy.

I expect Tyler Lamb to come in as a freshman and be a valuable, versatile and reliable player.

A big part of UCLA's success next year will hinge on center Josh Smith. The five-star prospect will need to come up big as a freshman for the Bruins. For starters, that means Smith needs to lose weight, get in better shape and play with a competitive edge.

UCLA can't afford for their prize recruit to go the path of former highly touted center J'Mison Morgan.


Worried about Memphis
Memphis has done a great job with its 2010 recruiting class, but what worries me is that the 2011 class is sort of lacking. Are there any top recruits that are leaning heavily toward Memphis?

- Matt from Memphis

Memphis does have a 2011 commitment from four-star prospect Anthony Norris. The 6-foot-6 small forward is versatile and athletic but will not be a primary scoring option in college. At this point, he is the only recruit in Memphis' 2011 class.

The top recruiting target for Memphis is elite wing Adonis Thomas. There have been rumblings in the Memphis press about people in Thomas' camp feeling that Memphis isn't recruiting him hard enough. They feel the Tigers are taking him for granted as a local prospect. I have a feeling this issue has been resolved. Working in Memphis' favor is that Thomas plays travel ball for the Memphis Magic, which has very strong ties to the Memphis program. Four players off this team signed with Memphis last year.

Other local players Memphis is involved with are Cedrick McAfee, Bobby Parks Jr. and Todd Mayo, who will spend next hear in prep school.

Memphis is also involved with five-star big man Johnny O'Bryant and four-star wing LaQuinton Ross, who are both from Mississippi.

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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