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October 25, 2007

Meyer's Mailbag: Five-star Evans in no hurry

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Oct 18: Questions impact IU recruiting
Oct 12: Class projections
Oct 4: Has Monroe found a fit?
What are the latest rumblings on five-star Tyreke Evans

What is Duke going to do now that Greg Monroe has committed to Georgetown?

What about Illinois' recruiting surge in the class of 2009?

And how about some more projected recruiting class rankings for the 2008 class?

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer digs into these questions, requests and more in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Evans waiting until Spring?

Louisville just landed its fifth freshman recruit with Jared Swopshire, and the Cardinals also have a transfer in Reginald Delk coming. Does this effect Tyreke Evans in coming to Louisville?

-- Bryant from Louisville
No, those developments won't have any bearing on Evans' decision. Evans is Louisville's top, and likely only, remaining target in the 2008 class. Wherever Evans goes to school, he will have the ball primarily in his hands, and neither Swopshire nor Delk are primary ballhandlers.

The lastest rumblings concerning Evans are that he will wait until the spring to sign and that Memphis has turned up the recruiting heat. With Connecticut, Louisville, Memphis, Seton Hall, Texas and Villanova in the hunt, Evans will be taking a close look at the talent on the court and the point guard situation at these schools if he does indeed forego the early signing period.

Connecticut has a tough sell to Evans because they already have Kemba Walker, one of the top point guards in the 2008 class, committed.

Louisville, which has been viewed as Evans' unofficial leader, has a need for Evans as a primary ballhandler.

The key to Memphis' chances of landing Evans hinge on whether Derrick Rose stays for his sophomore season. If he enters the draft as is expected, Evans could slide right into his vacated point guard position. If Rose stays, Evans likely goes elsewhere.

Seton Hall has a lot to prove to Evans. He needs convincing that he can compete for a national championship as a freshman.

Texas is in a similar position as Memphis. If D.J. Augustin stays in school, no chance. If Augustin enters the draft, then Texas has a shot.

Villanova is the hometown team and has a lot of allure for Evans, but Villanova also has a crowded backcourt with Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher. Villanova, however, runs a spread attack where all the guards have a chance to break down the defense - which is in line with the way Evans loves to play.

Illini bouncing back

Where does the Illini's 2009 recruiting class stand now that they have secured the services of D.J. Richardson, Joeseph Bertrand, and Brandon Paul?

-- Austin from Rushville
After drawing a heavy dose of criticism over his recruiting woes, coach Bruce Weber has responded with a flurry of recruiting activity over the last few weeks. In the 2008 class, Illinois landed post player Stan Simpson in addition to the three 2009 prospects you mention. And of course, Illinois already has a commitment from 2010 top-10 prospect Jereme Richmond.

Twelve schools have commitments from top 100 players in the class of 2009. Kansas State and Illinois have landed multiple top-100 players. Kansas State tapped into its DC Assault pipeline and landed four-star prospects Wally Judge and Rodney McGruder.

At this early point, Illinois has the top recruiting class for 2009, with Kansas State right behind the Illini.

The 10 other schools who have committed a top-100 prospect are (in order of player's ranking): Arizona, Baylor, Oklahoma, UConn, Villanova, Clemson, UC Santa Barbara, Marquette, Indiana and Arizona State.

More on the Class of 2008

Where is Alabama ranked for 2008 in basketball?

-- Ernest from Lakeville
Last week I ran down the top seven 2008 recruiting classes. This week I got a number of questions from fans whose teams fell outside the top seven. So let's look at the next level of top classes.

No. 14 Connecticut: Kemba Walker No. 36, Nate Miles No. 44

No. 13 Kentucky: DeAndre Liggins No. 21, Darius Miller No. 45

No. 12 Michigan State: Delvon Roe No. 14, Korie Lucious No. 93, Draymond Green No. 125

No. 11 Oregon: Michael Dunigan No. 32, Matthew Humphrey No 71, Drew Wiley No. 134, Josh Crittle three-stars

No. 10 Washington: Tyreese Breshers No. 68, Isaiah Thomas No. 91, Scott Suggs No. 97, Elston Turner No. 113

No. 9 Mississippi State: Scotty Hopson No. 9, Romero Osby No. 52, Demarquis Bost, No. 130

No. 8 Alabama: Jamychal Green No. 25, Tony Mitchell No. 38, Andrew Steele No. 50

What now?

Where can Duke go now in recruiting post players with the loss of Greg Monroe?

-- Nick from North Little Rock
A lot of questions have been pouring in concerning Duke's response to the loss of Monroe to Georgetown. In fact, one reader termed the miss on Monroe as the "tragic loss" of their prime target. After looking over Duke's roster, tragic loss isn't an overstatement at least in basketball terms.

Duke has only three players 6 feet 8 or taller on its roster. Brian Zoubek is a 7-foot-1 sophomore, 6-foot-8 Lance Thomas is a sophomore and 6-foot-8 Kyle Singler is a freshman. Zoubek and Thomas have yet to establish themselves as impact players, and Singler - whose primary position is small forward - has yet to play a college basketball game.

Combo forward David McClure, who is 6 feet 6, did average more than 20 minutes of playing time per game last year. However, the junior is undersized for the power forward position. Another option at the four position is freshman Taylor King, who measures in at 6-6 as well.

With Zoubek the only true low-post player on the roster, Duke is clearly in need of interior players. Unfortunately for Duke fans, unless the coaching staff has a big secret up its sleeve, the only post target left in the 2008 class is John Riek. But the buzz around the Sudanese big man is that he may end up in the 2008 NBA Draft once it is settled as to what high school class he belongs in.

So it is likely that three-star prospect Olek Czyz will be the only frontcourt player in Duke's 2008 recruiting class. The coaching staff is likely to turn its attention to the 2009 class. Duke is working on three quality post players in that class. Five-star prospect Deshawn Painter is a 6-foot-8 prospect from Virginia who has a lot of upside. Burly 6-foot-7 forward Reeves Nelson is a five-star prospect out of California, and Eric Murphy is a 6-foot-8, four-star prospect out of Massachusetts.

Nelson is the only player of the three with a reported offer, so it will be interesting to see if the sting of the Monroe miss will influence Duke to recruit and offer a higher number of prospects than it has been known to in the past.

Good fit for Terps

How good is Augustus Gilchrist? How does he compare to Terrence Jennings?

-- Justin from Baltimore
Gilchrist is an upper-level four-star player who has NBA potential. He should be an impact player in the ACC. At 6-foot-10, he has the frame and physicality to effectively play around the basket, and he also has the skill package to be a threat facing the basket.

He is especially dangerous in the midrange level, where he can score with a surprisingly effective pull-up jumper and can also get to the rim with quick dribble moves. Basically, Gilchrist is a skilled four man with the size to also play the five. His skill set is a great fit for Gary Williams' flex offense.

Jennings, who decommitted from Maryland and committed to Louisville, is a more dynamic talent with more explosive athleticism than Gilchrist. However, Gilchrist has a slightly more refined skill set at this point, and Gilchrist also has the physical strength to be more effective in a slower, half-court game than Jennings.

Gilchrist might not be able to run and jump at Jennings' level, but he probably has a better chance at grinding out a rebound in a crowd than Jennings. Add the fact that Gilchrist is likely to stay in college longer, and it is a pretty even swap for Maryland fans.

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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