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May 20, 2011

Meyer's mailbag: Keep eye on King

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
May 13: Poythress comparison
May 6: Best four-star freshman?
April 29: Final rankings

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

Is there a 2013 prospect that has a great chance of getting bumped up in the rankings?

Is there a good NBA comparison out of the 2013 class?

And could Devonta Pollard be that 2012 prospect whose game jumps to a whole other level a few years from now?

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


Ranking regrets?

Now that the 2013 rankings are out there, do you have any regrets about where you ranked a prospect?

- Steven from Overland Park

Regret might be to strong a word, but it just might be the appropriate word for how I feel once I see Nick King play this summer. King, a 6-foot-6 wing out of Memphis (Tenn.) East High School, registers at No. 20 in the latest rankings, but there is something in me telling me we should have been more aggressive with his ranking.

When I watched King play during the high school season, I saw a prospect with the size, athleticism and skill level comparable to that of former Tennessee wing Scotty Hopson. On top of all those positives, King doesn't play with the negative traits of Hopson. King plays a focused and physical game where he doesn't drift away from the action and makes plays in traffic.

If King is what I think he might be, we will be quick to push him up the rankings.


NBA comparison

Are there any players in the class of 2013 that you could compare to players in the NBA today or past NBA players?

- Karen from Toledo

One comparison that has struck me this spring is the similarity of No. 14-ranked Anthony Barber and Brandon Jennings. Barber is right-handed, but he has a similar build as Jennings and has that slinky quickness. Barber might not be quite the speedster and leaper as Jennings, but he scores off the dribble like Jennings and is a nightmare to keep out of the lane.


Ranking the Tide

Alabama kept Trevor Lacey in-state and away from some of the country's top programs. Where does he push the Tide's recruiting class in the rankings?

- Thomas from Montgomery

Eric Bossi and I will have to sit down and sort all this out. On a quick look at the rankings, though, it looks like Alabama will end up anywhere from No. 5 to No. 7 in the national team rankings.

If Texas doesn't get DeAndre Daniels, who is ranked No. 10, then Alabama will be at least No. 6. The question I'm not ready to answer yet is whether or not the Tide will beat out North Carolina for the No. 5 spot.

If Texas gets Daniels, then Alabama will take either the No. 6 or No. 7 spot.


Potential vs. production

I know both potential and production play a part in ranking prospects. How do you weigh them against each other? Is there a prospect in the five-star range who is primarily there because of his production?

- Calvin from Seattle

The Rivals150 is about projecting how good of players these prospects will be down the line. For the high-end prospects we are viewing how good they will be as NBA players. With the non-NBA prospects we are figuring how good they will be over the course of their college career.

I don't know that it is so much weighing potential and production against each other, but more looking at how production and potential work together in projecting the future value of a prospect. And it is a fluid equation for figuring this out.

For example, potential will carry more value when evaluating a young post player who is still growing into his body. With guards, they typically develop earlier so production would carry more value.

Then there might be a prospect, who if he can just improve in a certain skill area, it could take him to a whole other level. Justin Anderson at No. 23 in 2012 is a great example of this type of prospect. He is a superb athlete who makes plays all over the court and can guard multiple positions. If he were to get a consistent outside shot, then he will be an unbelievable player. So you track his improvement as a shooter. Depending how convinced you are about the level of shooter he will become along with all his other positive traits will dictate his value as a prospect.

Right above Anderson at No. 20 through No. 22 are three prospects whose value is based primarily on their production and how they impact a game right now. Perry Ellis, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Anthony Bennett aren't going to grow, get that much more athletic or have a major deficiency in a skill area that is expected to improve. They will naturally improve at a steady rate more than likely but the beauty of them as prospects is that they have a huge impact on games and they have the size, strength and athleticism for that impact to translate to the higher levels of play.

It certainly isn't an exact science, and the proof is in the results of your work as a scout and not in the logic of your methods. Hopefully, though, this gives you some insight into how Eric Bossi and I evaluate and discuss prospects for the rankings.


Star potential

Every class seems to have that five-star prospect who isn't ranked right at the top who seems to blossom and become one of the very best out of a class or even the best. Looking at the 2012 class, who could be that prospect who might take off in the NBA and outperform some of the prospect ranked above him?

Devonta Pollard certainly has the potential to be this guy. He is an elite athlete who could develop into a legitimate small forward at 6 feet 7. The key for Pollard will be strength development and how refined his skills become. Already a great shot-blocker and multi-skilled offensive player, Pollard has the potential to become highly skilled as a passer, slasher, shooter and post-up player. If all of that comes together, watch out.

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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