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July 22, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: A closer look at the nation's best

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
June 25: Breaking down Miller
June 12: Top 2010 shooting guard?
June 5: Comparing Knight and Wall
How do the top two small forwards in the 2011 class - Mike Gilchrist and Quincy Miller - compare?

And what about a comparison between the top point forward from last year's class - Jordan Hamilton - and the top point forward from this year's class - Jelan Kendrick?

And does recent Peach Jam champion All-Ohio Red get the respect it deserves?

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer answers these questions and more in this July evaluation period mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Tops in 2011

How do 2011 standouts Mike Gilchrist and Quincy Miller compare? Does Gilchrist prove to be more of a NBA-type guard? And do you think Miller will make it out of N.C. with the presence of the big three [Duke, Wake Forest and North Carolina]?

-- Cameron from Winston-Salem, N.C.
The main difference between Gilchrist and Miller is that Gilchrist is much more physically advanced and stronger than Miller. Gilchrist, the No. 1-ranked prospect in the Class of 2011, is much more likely to snag a rebound in traffic, finish against contact, successfully handle the ball against pressure and hold his position on defense.

Miller, the No. 3-ranked prospect in the Class of 2011, does have a couple inches on Gilchrist and is a better outside shooter. Otherwise, Gilchrist is superior, but Miller has great upside and his body is destined to improve.

In looking for recognizable comparisons for the two prospects, Gilchrist projects to be a Dwyane Wade-type player while Miller projects as a Kevin Durant-type player. Gilchrist has the ball-handling ability and explosiveness to be a power-type guard in the NBA. He also has the lateral quickness to guard a two or three on that level. Miller has the Durant length and shooting touch to go along with a nifty ball-handling game. Unlike Gilchrist, though, Miller doesn't have the foot speed to guard a two man. Instead, he will defend either a three or a four.

As for Miller's recruitment, Duke and Wake Forest do appear to be the unspoken leaders at this point. His recruitment, however, will truly be a national battle. The in-state schools will have to fend off strong charges from Kentucky, Kansas and other powers.

Kendrick comparison

Compare and contrast the games of 2009 prospect Jordan Hamilton and 2010 prospect Jelan Kendrick. They're both around the same height, and while Kendrick seems to weigh a lot less, they have both been described as point forwards. Also, what are the chances that Georgia Tech gets him and when does he plan on committing?

-- Kevin from East Oakland
Kevin, you are definitely correct that both Hamilton and Kendrick are point forwards. And they are basically the same height. The differences between the two mainly center on their weight.

Hamilton is a power player who overpowers defenders to get to a spot on the court. Always probing for the pass, Hamilton is more likely to score off a spin move than get near the rim and score off one foot.

Kendrick has a surprisingly quick first step and plays with more extension than Hamilton. Kendrick is also continually probing for the pass, but he also loves to score off one-foot floaters if he can't completely beat the defense to the rim.

Hamilton is a better long-distance shooter off the catch than Kendrick, but Kendrick has a more diversified scoring game off the dribble. Defensively, Hamilton has the strength to defend a bigger opponent, while Kendrick is more likely to be able to guard a true point guard. In fact, Kendrick projects as a potential NBA point guard, while Jordan projects as a wing.

It is awfully tough to get a gauge on Kendrick's recruitment since he has refused to even name any school of interest so far. At the King City Classic a couple weeks ago, he told Rivals.com the plan was to develop a school list at the end of the summer. Certainly, Georgia Tech is a likely candidate to be on that list. But it will be a national battle for Kendrick, who is the No. 4-ranked prospect in the Class of 2010. Look for schools like Texas, Kentucky and Georgetown to also be on that list.

In contention

Does West Virginia have any chance of signing 2010 top prospect Adreian Payne? Does he make WVU a serious contender in the loaded Big East if he signs?

-- Bruce from St. Albans, W.Va.
West Virginia definitely has a chance to sign Payne. He recently said that he wanted to attend school outside the state of Ohio, and based on what coaches were watching his games at the Peach Jam, I'd handicap West Virginia, Michigan State and Kentucky as favorites to land him.

Payne would help any team become a better contender for a conference title, but he isn't the type of producer to consistently take over games. There are times when Payne is the most dominant player on the court, but there are more times when he is a great role player and other times when he disappears.

He has enormous potential, but it is more likely that he will achieve it later than sooner. Nonetheless, he has the length, athleticism and developing skill game to help make any team in the country better the second he steps onto the court.

Potential points

What do you think are the chances that Josh Selby or Joe Jackson will suit up for the Memphis Tigers in 2010?

-- Mike from Memphis, Tenn.
I think the odds are very high that Jackson stays home and plays for Memphis, and the odds are high that Selby ends up at Kentucky. Just the strong possibility of Selby going to Kentucky helps Memphis with Jackson.

All-Ohio loaded

If All-Ohio Red 17U was out of New York, Chicago, New Jersey or California, would it see more front-page notoriety? This team is 189-8 over the past three years and has beaten everyone out there two and three times - not to mention having six guys in your Rivals top 150. Why doesn't All-Ohio 17U get more publication across the scouting websites? The same can be said of Jared Sullinger. He is the most productive player in the country, yet players are always picked over him for the No. 1 spot. He has outplayed every big man who was touted to be better, and his ability to rebound is incredible. This team hasn't slowed down and neither has he, so do you think if they were in another part of the country they would be considered one of the greatest teams of all time?

-- David from Columbus, Ohio
David, you're correct that the All-Ohio Red squad deserves a lot of praise. They have won a lot of games and a lot of tournaments. They play unselfish basketball, are clutch under pressure and players play their roles. Combine these three elements with six Rivals150 players and you have a winning equation.

I disagree, however, that the squad is slighted by the recruiting websites because of its location. Perhaps the team doesn't have a local hype machine behind it like a team in a bigger city would have, but when All-Ohio Red wins a tournament or one of its players is exceptional, it garners front-page attention.

As far as Rivals.com is concerned, Sullinger is the top big man in the country, and I expect him to have future success in the same vein that Kevin Love is having. Brandon Knight and Harrison Barnes, the two players ranked ahead of him, have been every bit as productive and are going to be dominant players at their positions down the road as well.

I'm glad you asked your question and am pleased to answer because as you point out, All-Ohio Red is not a "typical" AAU team. Its approach with such talented players is certainly a bright spot on the circuit.

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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