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June 5, 2008

Meyer's Mailbag: Nation's best backcourt?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 30: WVU takes another big step
May 23: Could Cards be better?
May 16: UL lands five-star Siva
What is the latest on the recruitment of five-star teammates Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley?

Will Georgia's remarkable run through the SEC Tournament help them land some prized recruits?

How does Arizona's 2008 class stack up nationally?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Sticking together?

Are guards Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley close to committing? Which team is most likely to land the dynamic duo from Washington, and what do they bring to the table?

-- Jesse from Brooklyn
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I doubt a decision is going to come anytime soon for these prospects. A couple of weeks ago, Bradley told Rivals.com that he wanted to take his five official visits in the fall before making a decision. I doubt that Gaddy would rush into a decision after his recent decommitment from Arizona. Furthermore, Gaddy has indicated that he wants to play with Bradley in college and that he wants to be re-recruited by the new coaching staff at Arizona.

Although Gaddy is on record saying Bradley and he are a package deal, the two prospects do not have identical school lists. Gaddy has Gonzaga, Oregon and Washington on his list, and Bradley is considering Florida, UCLA and Wake Forest - which are not on Gaddy's list.

Assuming the two are serious about playing together, Arizona, Kansas, Memphis, Texas and USC are in favorable positions.

Whichever school (or schools) lands Gaddy and Bradley will get two extremely talented five-star prospects. Gaddy, the No. 14 ranked prospect in the Rivals150, is a crafty and skilled point guard with good size. He has a great feel for running a team, can make difficult shots in the midrange and is an intelligent defender.

Bradley, the No. 17 ranked prospect in the Rivals150, is a great scorer off the dribble. He has the athleticism to attack the rim, and he is also terrific in the midrange. Not only is Bradley an impressive scorer, he is also a tenacious defender. Extremely quick laterally, Bradley can use his rangy build to lock down opposing guards.

Karron coming along

What is Karron Johnson up to? Is he a small forward or a power forward at the college level? Will he be a 5-star?

-- TJ from Boston
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Johnson has been on the travel circuit with a variety of teams this spring. The Richmond Squires, South Carolina Ravens and Juice All Stars are teams he's played with thus far.

When we watched Johnson last summer, he had more of a small forward game. However, Johnson has bulked up significantly since then. Now, he is doing most of his damage around the rim as a power player. He still can attack the basket off the dribble, but he isn't quite as fluid as he was a year ago. Another issue is that his outside shot just hasn't developed. This combination of factors caused him to drop out of the five-star range as a small forward. He is now No. 50 in the Rivals150 and No. 16 in the power forward position rankings.

Earlier this spring at the Boo Williams Invitational, Johnson named Memphis as a favorite. He cited his longtime friendship with Shawn Taggart as a major factor. He also stated interest in Georgetown, LSU, Miami, Seton Hall, USC and Virginia.

Bright future for the Bulldogs?

With the recent SEC Tournament success Georgia had this past season, how much of an effect do you see this having on their recruiting for the near future? Also, do the Bulldogs have a legitimate shot at any of Rivals' top recruits for 09'? If so, who would they be?

-- Brian from North Carolina
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The Bulldogs certainly did have a remarkable run through the SEC Tournament despite a less-than-spectacular regular season. Their postseason success certainly won't hurt on the recruiting front, but at the same time I doubt the remarkable run will linger in prospects' memories.

Regardless, Georgia is in position to land a couple top prospects. The most prominent of these prospects is elite talent Derrick Favors. Although Favors has a long and elusive school list, the proximity of the Bulldogs has them in the hunt to land Favors.

Georgia is also in the mix for a couple other ranked in-state players. Developing big man Shawn Kemp has Georgia on his list, and Terrance Shannon - an energetic and active forward - is considering Georgia as well.

Ranking on hold

I'm a little surprised you have not listed Aaric Murray in the top rated Centers list. He'll be a beast in his senior year and I'm hoping St. Joe's gets him.

-- Mike from Philadelphia
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We have received positive reports about Murray, but just didn't have a chance to watch him play this spring. With the hope of being able to scout him at one of the national camps, we decided to hold off on ranking him until we can watch him play.

When we get a good look at Murray, we will place him in the appropriate spot in our rankings.

Coming and going

Hey Jerry, I wanted to ask you if Arizona's incoming class has the potential to be top-five class. Do you think it's realistic that Chase Budinger or Jerryd Bayless come back next year?

-- Jason from Roselle
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Bayless is gone for good since he has already signed with an agent. It is unlikely that Budinger will come back. He hasn't yet signed with an agent, but he is expected to be drafted in the first round if he remains in the draft.

Arizona's recruiting class did hold the No. 7 spot in the team recruiting rankings prior to the spring signing period. But the class took a hit with the defection of Emmanuel Negedu and the significant upgrade of some other classes with late signees.

In particular, Kansas, Memphis, Connecticut and Tennessee surged up the rankings with significant additions.

Arizona did add a solid three-star point guard in Kyle Fogg to go along with elite point guard Brandon Jennings, four-star Jeff Withey and in-state three-star prospect Brendon Lavender. The four-man class places the Wildcats at No. 14 in the post-spring signing period team rankings.

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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