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October 2, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Who's getting the better PG?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Sept 25: Poole a big get for UK?
Sept 18: Will Cavs win under Bennett?
Sept 11: Memphis still getting the talent
Well, it looks like one SEC team is going to get Andre Stringer and another will have Trevor Releford. Of the two undersized point guards, which is better?

Does Coach Darrin Horn have the South Carolina program on the path to being a perennial SEC contender?

Does the commitment of four-star prospect Chris Crawford to Memphis push the Tigers even higher in the 2010 national team recruiting rankings?

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

Jerry's Mailbag
Point guard potential

It's looking like LSU is going to get Andre Stringer. My question as an Alabama fan is: Who is the better point guard? Trevor Releford or Andre Stringer?

-- Benjamin from Tuscaloosa
Both Releford and Stringer are undersized point guards who are ranked in the top 100. One, however, is more of a shooter and the other more of a ballhandler/passer. So, in this case, which point guard is better depends on what type of point guard you need.

Stringer, who is ranked No. 93, is an excellent shooter both off the pass and the dribble. He can also shoot with deep range. He is a shoot-first point guard at this point in his career, but he is a capable passer. His ballhandling against pressure could improve.

Releford, on the other hand, is such a good ballhandler he basically can't be pressed. His value is carving up defenses and dishing the ball off on the way to the rim. He can score, but that is not his primary focus. He is not nearly the reliable shooter that Stringer is at this point. Releford ranks No. 98 in the Rivals150.

Both prospects are just adequate on defense because they can be overpowered by bigger point guards.

In the rankings, Stringer gets the slight edge because of the pressure he can put on the defense with his long range shooting ability. Others, however, would prefer Releford's playmaking off the dribble.

South Carolina on the rise

What do you think of the job that Darrin Horn is doing at South Carolina? How does his recruiting class stack up this year? Are they a contender in the SEC East this year and is the NCAA tournament a possibility?

-- John from Columbia
Coach Horn is doing an amazing job at South Carolina. Last year he elevated the team's play and had them playing as hard as any team in the SEC.

And as far as recruiting goes, he currently has the No. 8 ranked recruiting class for the class of 2010. Perhaps more importantly, his is the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the SEC.

Although a four-star prospect, point guard Bruce Ellington might very well turn out to be the sleeper of the class. He is a physically imposing point guard with extreme speed with the ball and an intimidating level of competitiveness. It will be interesting to see what happens to his game if he does give up football in college and focuses strictly on basketball.

And the top big man in the class Damontre Harris is a high-potential prospect who could be a top SEC big man before his career is complete.

As far as this year goes, I expect the Gamecocks to build upon last year's success and compete for a division title. Although a little undersized, they have experience, depth, athleticism and a big-time senior guard in Devan Downey. I would pencil them into a March Madness bracket.

Comparing classes

Does the Chris Crawford commitment push Memphis' class ahead of Syracuse for #2 in 2010?

-- Lance from Michigan
This one is a very tough call. By the rankings numbers, Memphis has a superior class over Syracuse with Will Barton and Joe Jackson at No. 11 and No. 12, respectively. Then Crawford comes in at No. 66, and Antonio Barton is a quality unranked three-star.

Syracuse's highest ranked prospect is Frabricio de Melo at No. 16. Then there is Dion Waiters at No. 29, and C.J. Fair and Baye Moussa Kieta follow at No. 111 and No. 145, respectively.

The advantage, however, that Syracuse has is that they have a much more balanced class by positions. Fab de Melo is a dominant big man. Waiters is a high-level combo guard. Fair is a quality combo forward, and Kieta is a defensive oriented center.

On the other hand, Memphis' class is stocked with four guards and no forwards or big men.

Some more thought needs to go into this one, but Rivals.com will have an answer by Wednesday of next week when we update the 2010 national team recruiting rankings.

Roscoe's role

Where does UConn stand with Roscoe Smith? How would Smith fit into Jim Calhoun's system?

-- Chris from Bristol
As one of three finalists for Smith, the No. 31 ranked prospect in the Rivals150, UConn is in a good position. UConn will host Smith on his last unofficial visit for their midnight madness. He will visit Georgetown and Duke on the prior two weekends. I think it is fair to say that hosting a last visit on midnight madness is always a good position to be in with a recruit.

As to how he would fit in at UConn if he were to go there, I see him playing the same role that Stanley Robinson has played for the Huskies. Smith is an athletic and versatile forward who excels on the offensive glass. He is good at making overall energy plays. He should be able to guard multiple positions and be a complementary scorer.

Wroten sliding?

What happened to Anthony Wroten Jr.? His stock just seems to keep falling. Since he won't play basketball this year, how crucial will his summer be to keep his five-star rating?

-- Ralph from Saginaw
Wroten won't be playing basketball this high school season because of a torn ACL he suffered playing football this season. Whether he plays or not, however, doesn't diminish the fact that he is a five-star prospect. His physicality, size and passing ability make him a unique prospect in the 2011 class.

His stock did slide a little because some limitations in his game have surfaced since his electric finish to the 2008 travel circuit season prior to his sophomore season. He is very left-hand dominant and is not a very good long range shooter. Nonetheless, he is a terrific talent and a top-10 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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