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May 8, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Stephenson to Tucson?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 2: UL looks to replace lost big man
Apr 9: Big names waiting on Wall
Mar 27: PG transition at Memphis?
Does Arizona have a top 25 recruiting class, and will Lance Stephenson join the group in Tucson?

How about a breakdown on Dominique Ferguson's game?

Will any of the top 2009 prospects play in Europe next year?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Revolving door of talent

With UK adding Eric Bledsoe and very possibly John Wall this year, do you still see UK pursuing guys like Brandon Knight and Joe Jackson? Would Bledsoe be able to beat out the top PGs in 2010 for time? Thanks.

-- Michael from Springdale
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Without a doubt, Kentucky is going to pursue the best players at their positions year in and year out as long as John Calipari is at the helm. In an ideal Calipari world, Kentucky signs the best prospects at their positions, they go to the NBA after one year, and then are replaced by the best prospects at their position in the next class.

Concerning Bledsoe, there is only one point guard I don't think he has a chance to beat out, and that is Wall. I'm not saying that Bledsoe would beat out Knight or another top 2010 point guard, but I wouldn't be surprised if he did. Remember, Bledsoe is the No. 3 ranked point guard in 2009.

Just missed

I saw on your latest 2009 team rankings Arizona wasn't on that list. Also where do you expect Lance Stephenson to go?

-- Oscar from New York
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I like Arizona's three-man class, and think that coach Sean Miller and his staff have done an admirable job in such a short period of time. The class just missed on the top 25. If Arizona's recruiting class of Solomon Hill, Kyryl Natyazhko and Kevin Parrom covered three positions instead of having two small forwards, I'd like the class even better.

As for Stephenson, I have no idea what to expect. I think Memphis would love to have him and would give him a shot to run the point. My feel is that Arizona is trying to figure out if Stephenson would be good for the program. By slow-playing the recruitment, Miller and his staff are figuring out if it is a good fit. With Stephenson you get a very talented player, but you also get a tough-to-coach, tough-to-play-with player with a one-and-done mentality.

Ferguson makes impression

I haven't heard a lot about Dominique Ferguson. Can you tell me the strengths of his game and some areas where he may need to improve? Also, does Kentucky have a legitimate shot with any other top 25 prospects in the 2010 senior class? Thanks a lot.

-- Aaron from Lancaster
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Ferguson is a very skilled four man who could possibly play some three as well. A couple weekends ago he looked great shooting 3-pointers at the adidas Nations workout. He was also the top rebounder during the session. His body is developing nicely, and he has a chance to be an elite prospect. The main areas where he needs to improve are being tougher physically and mentally. At times he plays too passively and can disappear from the action, and he doesn't always embrace physical contact. He is, however, improving in these areas and has a bright future ahead of him.

Besides Ferguson, Kentucky has a legitimate shot at Brandon Knight, Roscoe Smith, Joe Jackson, Doron Lamb, Will Barton and Cameron Clark - who will move up in the new rankings which come out next week.

Still in the mix?

When did Georgetown fall out of the recruiting battle for Latavious Williams? I would have thought that Calipari's exit from Memphis would have dropped them out of the running.

-- Kyle from Germantown
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Georgetown is still very much in the running for Williams. In fact, Georgetown is presently hosting Williams on an official visit.

Williams had a press conference scheduled for last weekend, and all signs pointed to him signing with Memphis. But then he was in south Florida over the weekend visiting Florida International, scheduled a visit to Georgetown and postponed the press conference.

Those are not good signs for Memphis. The appeal of Memphis is that it is close to Mississippi, where Williams grew up. Also, new coach Josh Pastner was his primary recruiter at Memphis when Pastner was an assistant coach.

European detour

Is there anybody in the high school circuit right now that you see following the European trend that Brandon Jennings and now recently Jeremy Tyler has gone down?

-- Cameron from Albany
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I can't say with certainty that any of the 2009 prospects will head to Europe, but there are some prime candidates due to eligibility issues. Several top prospects still have work to do academically, and there are also questions about amateur status with at least one prospect.

John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Latavious Williams are not yet in the clear academically. Renardo Sidney has the NCAA looking into his amateur status. And I don't think that anyone knows Lance Stephenson's status on both of these fronts.

If any of these prospects can't play college basketball next year, look for them in Europe next season.

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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