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May 7, 2010

Meyer's Mailbag: What makes Selby top PG?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
April 30: Why no LOI for Knight?
April 15: Miller in UK's future?
April 9: Change at top of Rivals150?

Got a question? Click here to send it to Meyer's Mailbag

One reader wants to know why we have Josh Selby ranked ahead of Kyrie Irving.

Others want to know will be next year's DeMarcus Cousins, and how good St. John's recruit Dwayne Polee is and/or will be for the Red Storm.

These topics and more are addressed by National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.


Selby vs. Irving

Guards Josh Selby and Kyrie Irving proved they were the best guards in this 2010 class. Who do you think is better now, and who do you think will have the best future?

- Allen from Texas

I agree that Selby and Irving are the two best guard prospects in the 2010 class. They can both do it all as combo guards. They score, handle, create, distribute, defend and rebound their position.

Rivals.com has Selby ranked above Irving for this reason: Selby can do everything as well, if not better, than Irving. Selby also has a level of athleticism that Irving doesn't possess.

Selby is simply the most unguardable player in the 2010 class.

Some argue that Irving is a better pure point guard than Selby, but I'm not buying that argument. Just because Selby is an electric athlete and dynamic scorer doesn't mean he can't excel at the role of a distributor. I've seen Selby dominate high-level games with his penetration and passing skills.

Both prospects are going to have tremendous careers and likely will be multi-year NBA all-stars. In the end, though, Selby's superior athleticism will give him the edge.


Impact big men

Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins was a dominant force this year. Give me a couple names that we could see in the future that might be able to produce the way Cousins did this season.

- Andrew from Chicago

Two prospects have the potential to impact the college game like Cousins did this past year. I think Cousins is a better prospect than both Enes Kanter and Jared Sullinger, but both these big guys have the ability to produce like Cousins.

Kanter, the No. 3 prospect in the Rivals150, and Sullinger (No. 5) are advanced low-post scorers. Most big men do not learn how to score with their back to the basket until they get to college. These two post players come to college ready to score in the low post.

Neither Kanter nor Sullinger is an explosive leaper. Like Cousins, however, they have tremendous hands and physical strength. They will control space and snag a lot of rebounds.

Cousins never really showed his ability to score on the perimeter, but Kanter and Sullinger have the shooting touch to stretch the defense and find some easy points on face-up jumpers when their defenders don't pressure them.

I don't expect either of these guys to match Cousins' scoring and rebounding production, but I do expect them to put up a large number of double/doubles.

I'm not sure if Kanter or Sullinger can match what Cousins did on the defensive end, though. Cousins didn't necessarily block a lot of shots, but he was very difficult to score over and took a ton of charges on out-of-control drivers.


Attracting top talent

How would you rate Kentucky's John Calipari as a talent evaluator? How much work does this guy do to get the elite prospects to commit to UK when it was so difficult in the past? Also, should we expect classes like these every year?

- Andrew from Chicago

That first question is a tough one to answer. It might be difficult to place elite prospects in the correct order for ranking purposes, but it isn't that difficult to figure out whether a prospect is elite or not.

The coaches that really have to be good at evaluating talent are the coaches who are not in a position to recruit elite talent. Obviously, the majority of the prospects Calipari recruits are elite prospects.

So the trick for Calipari in recruiting is figuring out which elite guys he has the best chance of landing. Certainly Calipari has to work at recruiting, but the real work is creating an atmosphere where Kentucky is a magnet for elite talent.

Kentucky is a magnet for elite talent. Though Calipari hasn't won every recruiting battle, his batting average is pretty impressive. So yes, I would expect these type of classes every year.

The bigger issue is how far Kentucky can go in the tournament playing with almost a new starting five every season.


Polee comparison

How good is Dwayne Polee? Is he a pure [small forward] at the college level? For those on the East Coast who haven't seen him play, who does he compare to? Thanks very much.

- Bob from Hempstead

Polee is a top-shelf athlete with a limited skill package. He gets his points in transition, slashing to the basket and off the offensive glass. Basically he is an at-the-basket finisher with limited shooting range and ballhandling abilities.

On the other side of the ball, he has the potential to be an outstanding multipositional defender.

Polee is good pickup for St. John's and new coach Steve Lavin, especially with it being so late in the recruiting season.

It will be interesting to see if Polee can develop his game at St. John's like Travis Leslie has developed his game at Georgia. Leslie came into college with the same profile as Polee - super athlete but with a limited skill package.


Where's Mayo?

Have you heard the latest status of Todd Mayo's (OJ Mayo's little brother) decision and why is he waiting so long to pick a school???

- Cedric from Memphis

He hasn't made a decision yet because he will not be going to college next year. Mayo still has at least a year's worth of work to do before he can qualify academically.

Mayo is expected to attend Hargrave Military Academy next year.

Things really came together this year for Mayo. He had an outstanding year on the court for Germantown (Tenn.) High School and made progress in the classroom. In fact, Mayo established himself as one of the top players in the Memphis area - which is one of the most talented areas in the country.

Schools like Memphis, Tennessee, Louisville, West Virginia and others were heavily involved with Mayo as a 2010 prospect and will likely continue their pursuit of him as a 2011 prospect.

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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