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We asked four recruiting analysts for their thoughts on the Class of 2009. This is the final part of a two-part series. Recruiter's Roundtable, Pt. 1
7) You have one scholarship to give and you can hand it to anyone in the class. Who you giving it to and why?
Dave Telep: Well, that’s a toughie. How about giving it to John Wall and finding out if anyone on the college level could check him? I’d be very tempted to go John Henson because you could win with him as a freshman and MAYBE convince him to stay an extra year to work on his body. For that reason alone, I’ll hand mine to Henson and immediately institute a mandatory two-year strength and conditioning program!
Evan Daniels: In these types of scenarios, it’s usually a big man that people go with, but I’m going to switch it up and go with Avery Bradley. The Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep standout is a guy that will be in college for a few years and is a winner. He’s a tough, hardnosed guard that can really defend. He’s likely the best on the ball defender in his class and on the offensive side of things he a more than capable scorer, especially from mid-range. Bradley is consistent with his effort and brings it every night.
Greg Hicks: Abdul Gaddy. He's the best player at the most important position in the college game.
Eric Bossi: I think I'm going to go with Kenny Boynton and it isn't necessarily for conventional reasons. Obviously he can score the rock, he's always been able to do that. But, speaking honestly, I used to have questions about him as a teammate and defender and his game kind of turned me off.
To me, he's part of what makes this job so great. Because I kept going out to watch him I realized that I couldn't have gotten a worse read on a kid. Sure he takes a lot of shots, but he's learned how to do so without being a ball hog and his leadership ability is something that goes without praise. Team Breakdown won an awful lot of games over the past couple of years and that counts for something in my book. If I'm a college coach looking to win a national championship, I want a proven high-level winner and I can't think of anybody who has proven to be that more than Kenny has.
8) Pick three guys currently not in our Top 100 that are going to be good college players
Dave Telep: Dalton Pepper is a tough kid. Picked the right coach, right program for his style. Garrick Sherman at Michigan State hasn’t gotten a lot of exposure but he’s a guy we might be sleeping on. I’d be surprised if Garrius Adams’ rise doesn’t continue through his senior year. Gotta love the late bloomers!
Evan Daniels: The three guys that came to mind were Chris Colvin, Aaron Dotson and James Padgett. In a class with not much depth at the point guard position, Colvin is a guy that stepped up this past summer and worked his way into high major scholarship offers. He’s a tough, scrappy guard that is capable of leading a team. Dotson showed improvement on his jumper this year and is an above average athlete. He’s headed to LSU and it was a great choice for him, as he should be able to see time early on in his career. With Padgett, it’s all about his ability to play hard and scrap in the paint. He won’t be an All-ACC type of impact player at Maryland, but he’s a guy that will help them win games and will find ways to contribute.
Greg Hicks: Brandon Davies is going to be all-conference in the Mountain West. He can score in a variety of ways and he's a better athlete than people realize. Steven Bjornstad is a typical big kid who hasn't yet grown into his body, but he's got a terrific upside and I think Nevada got a steal wit him.Tony Freeland is a warrior. A bit undersized, but he'll outfight bigger players in the paint. Great shoulders and a terrific rebounder.
Eric Bossi: First I'm going to take Dane Miller. I think Rutgers is getting a quality wing that will help them out instantly. He plays under control, is a pretty versatile scorer on the offensive end and should be a good defender on the college level. I just think he's undervalued.
Second I'm going to go with Xavier Thames and it's for a variety of reasons. While I think he can be a little wild at times, there's no denying that he can get to the cup and has the athleticism to play on the next level. Also, I'm a firm believer that Tony Bennett and his staff have the tools to get the most out of him. I think he's picked a place where they really need a guy who can break people down off the dribble and because of the coaching he's going to get, he'll improve in the areas that he may lack.
Finally, I'm going to take up for a kid from my neck of the woods and say that Mike Dixon is going have a good career running the point at Missouri. I don't think we saw the real Mike Dixon over the summer because he was maybe playing to prove that he was a top-level kid and because of that he pressed at times. I think he's built for Mike Anderson's up and down system both offensively and defensively and will end up having an excellent college career.
9) What's your favorite mid-major recruiting class?
Dave Telep: None of the guys are in our Top 100 but I thought about Fordham as a Top 25 class. Lance Brown is a stud and Chris Gaston is a late bloomer. I loved Jio Fontan a year ago and now this? That’s a program to keep an eye on.
Evan Daniels: I think it has to be between UAB and Georgia State. Both staffs did a great job reeling in a potential McDonald’s All-American player. It was certainly close, but because they scored a top 10 guy, I’ll go with UAB. Mike Davis built an impressive relationship with DeMarcus Cousins and he’s the type of guy that can help them make a post season run once he hits campus. His dominance inside has been well documented, as he’s one of the most impressive big men in the entire class. Throw in a pair of solid three-star guards in Adrien Coleman and Dexter Fields and the Blazers have a heck of crop.
Greg Hicks: Fresno State. Greg Smith has a chance to be the best player in the WAC and Garrett Johnson is very underrated.
Eric Bossi: Right now, I think I'm going to have to go with George Mason. It looks to me like they've gotten a little bit of everything. They've got some size with Memphis native Johnnie Williams and New Jersey four man Paris Bennett. Then they've added an underrated creator in Vertrail Vaughns and a solid wing scorer in Rashad Whack. Rounding it out with Luke Hancock, I think they've got a great glue guy who can do a little bit of everything from the wing spot.
10) Since 2002, only two Top 3 ranked players per Scout.com has a national championship ring (Melo and Raymond Felton). Will Derrick Favors, John Wall, John Henson, Xavier Henry or Renardo Sidney earn one?
Dave Telep: My gut says no but I think one or two get to the Final Four. School selection is a factor at making that kind of run.
Evan Daniels: Honestly it’d be a surprise if any of these guys won a national title. First off, it’s not an easy to task to win a championship, but I don’t see these guys staying in college very long, so there chances are even slimmer. Henson might have the best shot out of the group, as North Carolina will still be very deep, even with the amount of talent they will lose next year. Depending on where Wall and Henry go, it’d certainly be a possibility. If they both go to Memphis, one would think there would be a shot at them grabbing a championship.
Greg Hicks: No, the odds are against it when they're only in college for a year or two.
Eric Bossi: That's a question that can't be answered until we know where Favors, Wall, Henry and Sidney are going to school.
11) Derrick Favors is the choice as No. 1 center this year. In past seasons, Amare Stoudemire, David Padgett, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Greg Oden and Kevin Love were tops at the center spot. Whose career will Favors most likely resemble?
Dave Telep: I’ll go with Andrew Bynum. Stoudemire and Howard were bigger kids and freak athletes. I look at Bynum as an important piece for a long time in the NBA who down the road may be elite at his position. Favors’ career (not game or style) should track along with his at the very minimum. BTW, Bynum is making $2.5 million this year and $12 million the next. Not too shabby.
Evan Daniels: Out of this group of players I’m going to have to go with Dwight Howard. The biggest difference between the two is I don’t think Favors will be able to put on as much bulk as Howard did once he got to the NBA. Favors can, however, have a similar impact on the glass, as he hits the boards hard. Ultimately, I’m not sold that Favors has the upside that Howard did, but Favors will likely be a very serviceable big man once he gets to the point of paying for play.
Greg Hicks: Haven’t seen him enough.
Eric Bossi: By default I'm going to have to go with Amare. Obviously, nobody can expect for Favors to have the same type of career and turn into the NBA megastar that Amare has. But, it's who Derrick's game most resembles. Much like Amare he's already a much better shooter from 15 to 18 fee than given credit for. He's got great hands, he's an outstanding athlete and he's a guy who is most likely going to have to be a four man on the NBA level and I think he gets there.
12) Renardo Sidney, Abdul Gaddy, Avery Bradley, Jordan Hamilton and Tyler Honeycutt are the five highest-rated West Coast prospects. Which one will be the player of the year in his respective league, if any?
Dave Telep: I’m going with Abdul Gaddy. He’s the youngest on the list and while others are more of the “now” guys I’m hitching my wagon to him as a futures stock.
Evan Daniels: By the end of his career at Texas, I think Avery Bradley has a great chance of being player of the year in the Big 12. His ability to play effectively on both sides of the ball is rare and he’s a guy that should stick around college long enough to have that kind of an impact at Texas.
Greg Hicks: Tyler Honeycutt is my choice. He's really talented, but he's nowhere close to his ceiling yet. And he'll be a program that will likely be competing for league championships, which is usually a prerequisite for player of the year honors.
Eric Bossi: Since I mentioned earlier that I believe he could be one of the top college players out of this class, I think I have to go with Avery Bradley. His tenacity on both ends of the floor will win over coaches, media and even fans from other schools. Also, he's a bit of a tweener from a size/position standpoint so he's likely to stay in college for three or four years. Also, people better not sleep on the one West Coast guy who isn't listed in this question..........Michael Snaer. He's the complete package at the off guard for a college program and he's got a chance to be a terrific college player.