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October 13, 2010

Ask the Experts: Most important visitors?

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.

Who has the most important visitors for Midnight Madness?

Meyer: I don't know that any school has more on the line for Midnight Madness than Kansas. With only one 2011 commitment in the fold, Kansas has three of its top 2011 targets - Angelo Chol, Ben McLemore and LeBryan Nash - scheduled to be on campus. Several top underclass recruits will be on campus as well, but the priority is securing another quality recruiting class in 2011.

Bossi: That's a tough question because there are several schools that have massive groups of prospects coming in. The two that stand out to me are Kansas and Indiana. Kansas will have a top-five 2011 guy in LeBryan Nash, another five-star in Ben McLemore and possibly five-star Norvel Pelle (status of visit is still a little up in the air). In addition, the Jayhawks have their primary point guard targets from 2012 in Marcus Paige and Nino Jackson on campus. Then, from the class of 2013, they'll have the nation's top No. 1, 3, and 10 prospects in Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and Aaron Harrison.

Moving over to Indiana, its main 2011 target, Cody Zeller, won't be there, but a ton of high-level 2012, 2013 and 2014 targets will be on hand. Five-star point guard Kevin Ferrell is No. 2 at his position in 2012 and a potential game-changer, while 2012 four-star wing Jeremy Hollowell is a guy Indiana has made a ton of progress with as well. For 2013, guys like Basil Smotherman, Zak Irvin and others are already major targets as well. One other school to look at is Illinois, which is expected to have 2011 four-star Chasson Randle plus a ridiculous amount of local 2012, 2013 and 2014 talent on hand.

Which conference is underachieving as a whole the most so far for the Class of 2011?

Meyer: The Big 12 has only one representative in the top 20 of the national team recruiting rankings with Texas at No. 7. The Big 12 has established itself as a top basketball conference with its play on the court and its recruiting prowess. In 2011, however, the conference has a lot of ground to make up.

Bossi:Right now it has to be the Big 12. Texas (No. 8) is the only program in the conference that is currently ranked in our 2011 team recruiting rankings.

Anthony Wroten's commitment to Washington spotlights the Seattle area again. How would you rank the top metro areas talentwise west of the Rockies?

Meyer: The Los Angeles area typically has the largest concentration of basketball talent in the West, and it is no different right now. The Seattle area is probably right behind Los Angeles. Las Vegas has also emerged as a growing hotbed of talent.

Bossi: Good question and I suppose one that is fluid and I think is better answered by giving three tiers of talent producing metro areas. Clearly, Los Angeles is always going to have the bulk of the talent because of size. There's never been a lack of players out of the L.A. area. Clearly, it belongs in a class of its own. After that, the next tier of talent producers would probably be the greater Seattle area and the Oakland/San Francisco/Sacramento (if Sacramento can be included with the Bay Area). Then, in third tier you have Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland and San Diego all starting to produce more players.

Who is the most physically impressive prospect in the 2011 class?

Meyer: LeBryan Nash and Branden Dawson are at the top of my list for physically impressive prospects in 2011. They are both powerful athletes with high level strength, speed and jumping ability. They can dominate in the paint against bigger players but can also defend small players on the perimeter as well.

Bossi:Each person's definition of physically impressive would probably change a little bit, but for me it's a tossup between two guys. That's Branden Dawson and Adonis Thomas. They are both five-star guys, both are incredible athletes who look like they could easily star in another sport (football). I think the way each of them plays represents the hard-scrabble cities (Gary, Ind., and Memphis) where they've made their names.



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