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November 13, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Tigers could sign top class

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Nov 6: Barnes or bust for UNC?
Oct 23: Duke class could be great
Oct 16: Knight behind previous No. 1s
Is there a scenario out there for Ohio State to lose the top spot in the 2010 national team recruiting rankings?

Is coach Mike Anderson on the verge of bringing an elite talent to Missouri?

Why are a number of the top prospects in the country not likely to sign during the early signing period?

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer answers these questions and more in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Top class for the Tigers?

Now that Memphis has Hippolyte Tsafack, where does the Tigers' class rank? If they get Tarik Black and Jelan Kendrick, could they challenge for the No. 1 spot?

-- Jeff from Memphis, Tenn.
Memphis did secure a big man in Hippolyte Tsafack to help balance out its guard-heavy class. Securing Tsafack, however, doesn't move Memphis from its No. 2 ranking ahead of Ohio State.

Tsafack is a good fit, though, for Memphis, which is expected to continue to run a dribble drive-type offense. Limited skill wise on offense, Tsafack is an explosive athlete at 6 feet 8 who can run the floor, clean up on the weakside glass and defend on the interior.

There are not a lot of scenarios out there for Ohio State to lose its No. 1 ranking. The most plausible one is if Memphis does land Jelan Kendrick, the No. 8-ranked prospect in the Rivals150. Kendrick would give Memphis a point guard, shooting guard and small forward all ranked in the top 12 in the country.

As for Tarik Black, it has been looking unlikely that he will stay in Memphis. Marquette and Tennessee appear to be the teams to beat at this point along with Alabama and Florida.

Missouri in the mix

Do you think Mizzou will end up with Tony Mitchell? If so, will that help in the recruitment of Bradley Beal?

-- Jason from Kansas City, Mo.
Missouri certainly has a very good chance to land one of the most athletic and promising athletes in the 2010 class. The Tigers are currently in a battle with Georgetown to land Mitchell. He visited Georgetown a couple of weeks ago, and he is expected to visit Missouri in the very near future - perhaps this weekend.

Mitchell is from Dallas, in the heart of Big 12 country, and is the type of athlete who would thrive in Missouri's wide-open style of play. I'm not saying these factors would cause Mitchell to go with Missouri, but picturing him playing for the Tigers does make sense.

To my knowledge there is no connection between Mitchell and Beal, but great players want to play with other great players. Missouri isn't known for landing highly ranked prospects, so it would only help Anderson land other elite prospects if he lands a talent like Mitchell.


Why is Luke Cothron waiting to sign? I thought he was a solid commit. Is he considering another school? What is the deal with him?

-- Justin from Wallace, N.C.
Cothron says he just wasn't ready to sign and wanted to make sure he made the right decision. At the same time he is saying that he is a solid commitment.

Quite frankly, this is simply a contradiction. If a prospect isn't committed enough to a school to sign when it is time to sign, then he isn't solidly committed to that school.

Perhaps Cothron wants to see how the season goes for N.C. State and get a better sense of coach Sidney Lowe's job security. Perhaps he is having second thoughts about the Wolfpack because he still has interest in Tennessee and Alabama, which were his other finalists before he committed to N.C. State.

All we can do right now is speculate, because neither Cothron nor the people around him are shedding much light on the situation. It is clear, however, that Cothron isn't solidly committed, and it is questionable how committed N.C. State will remain to Cothron with another prospect like C.J. Leslie on the board.

Waiting it out

Why do recruits like Brandon Knight and Jelan Kendrick prefer to wait until the spring signing period? Is it because they like the spotlight on them?

-- Rob from Lexington, Ky.
I don't get the sense from either Knight or Kendrick that they enjoy the spotlight. Both are respectful young men, and it isn't like they are clamoring to be interviewed.

What fans need to remember is that it is a very difficult situation for high-profile recruits to choose a school. A lot of athletes are just happy to have a school recruit them and basically a school chooses them. Or an athlete has limited choices, and one school is able to stand out above the others as the best choice.

With prospects like Knight and Kendrick, basically every school in the country would take them. With so many options, it is not an easy process to pick one.

The bottom line is that these types of prospects have the leverage in the recruiting process. They have the ability to wait until the last minute - or at least until they are ready. Why would they make a decision before they are certain of where they want to go?

It only makes sense for them to watch the teams recruiting them play during the season, get a better feeling for the coach and his style and gain a better understanding of what the roster will be like when they get there.

Indiana's odds

What are the odds that IU lands Kendrick and Selby? If they did would this give the Hoosiers a top-five class?

-- Josh from Bloomington, Ind.
Indiana is squarely in the hunt for both Jelan Kendrick and Josh Selby. I can guarantee you that the odds are good enough for Indiana to recruit both of them to the very end.

I expect both prospects to make late decisions after studying the teams that are recruiting them. It will be imperative for Indiana to be competitive enough this season to give these recruits a sense of confidence that they can challenge for a Big Ten championship and make the NCAA tournament if they come to Indiana.

Add Kendrick and Selby to Indiana's lineup next year, and that is exactly what the Hoosiers should be able to do.

As for ranking an Indiana class with Kendrick and Selby to go along with Victor Oladipo, it would likely be a top-five class. Assuming Harrison Barnes chooses either Duke or North Carolina, one of those schools would join Ohio State, Memphis and Syracuse in the top four, and this hypothetical Indiana class would follow.

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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