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August 14, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: Can UK do it again?

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
July 31: Who's the top SF prospect?
July 22: A closer look at the nation's best
June 25: Breaking down Miller
Kentucky fans might be getting a little greedy. Multiple fans want to know how good the chances are for the program to land two elite point guards in 2010.

Duke fans want to know what to expect from Andre Dawkins.

Also, fans from several programs are interested in what Bradley Beal, the top 2011 shooting guard, has to offer.

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer covers these topics and more in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Point guard plans

If you were to guess, what are the chances of Kentucky landing two big-time point guards (Knight and Selby for example) in this class?

-- Phil from Lexington, Ky.
Not good. In fact, it could be Brandon Knight or bust for Kentucky.

Assuming Kentucky is able to land Knight, its No. 1 point guard target, it's unlikely that Josh Selby would play in the same backcourt, especially with Eric Bledsoe on the roster as a sophomore. Bledsoe is a guy who has impressed the Kentucky coaching staff as much as any of the freshmen. Sure, the expectations for Bledsoe weren't as high as they were for John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, but Bledsoe is a player many expect to excel not only in college but also in the NBA.

Selby just visited UConn, and the Huskies appear to be positioning themselves as the team to beat.

Joe Jackson, the next highest ranked point guard Kentucky was pursuing, recently eliminated Kentucky and is down to Kansas, Memphis and Tennessee - with Memphis being his likely destination.

Kentucky has also offered multipurpose guard Keala King out of Los Angeles, but it doesn't look like King will escape the geographical clutches of the Pac-10.

The catch, however, is if Kentucky can land Jelan Kendrick, who at 6 feet 6 might just need to be labeled a point guard because of his high-level ballhandling skills.

Dawkins' impact

How much will Andre Dawkins contribute this year for Duke?

-- Matt from Lincoln
With Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith as the only viable options at the one and two, and with Kyle Singler as the only viable three man after playing almost exclusively the four during his career at Duke, Dawkins better contribute a lot.

He isn't on the Duke official roster yet, but after Dawkins completes a summer English course he is expected to be eligible for the 2009-2010 season.

Ranked as the No. 16 prospect in the Class of 2010, Dawkins has a lot to offer the Blue Devils. For starters, he is a knockdown shooter from long range. In fact, if he doesn't succumb to freshman jitters, he should be the most reliable 3-point shooter on the team.

Not quite a Gerald Henderson athlete, Dawkins is athletic enough and strong enough to defend a three man and allow Duke to play small with Singler at the four if they wish. He also has the capability of being a near lockdown defender on the two.

Dawkins isn't a great ballhandler, but he is plenty good enough to make the simple play and stay out of trouble. His gift is that he is a shot maker, not only from deep but also at the rim because of his athleticism.

It will be a heavy burden for a freshman to carry, but Dawkins will be in a position to greatly affect how good Duke can be this season.

Breaking down Beal

What can Bradley Beal bring to a program? Is he more of a scorer or a shooter? Which former or current player does he remind you of?

-- Marcus from Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Beal will bring the talent of an elite shooting guard to whatever program he chooses. At a solid 6-4 and still growing, Beal is a big-time shot maker and quality defender. He also surprises with his athleticism in the open court.

The beauty off Beal's scoring is that he can get it done at all three levels. Give him an opening behind the arc and he'll burn you with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. Rush him and he can attack the rim with effectiveness. Crowd him with the ball, and he'll drive you back for a midrange jumper.

So the answer to your second question is that he is both a high-level scorer and a high-level shooter.

As for a comparison, I can see him developing into a Courtney Lee-type player - a reliable winner who is going to make shots.

Closer look at Leslie

What's the latest on C.J. Leslie? Will he be a five-star when the new rankings come out?

-- Evan from Lexington
For starters, Leslie was an eye-catcher at last weekend's Nike Global Summit. He is still hit or miss as a finisher and his basketball IQ is sometimes lacking, but Leslie is a top-notch athlete and, most impressively, a ferocious competitor. In one game, all his teammates laid down during a brutal beat down by Brazil, but Leslie never flinched and competed to the end. Throughout the event, he was the energizer and the heart of his team. That has been the case for whatever team he played for during this travel circuit season.

Yes, Leslie will be a five-star. There are some limitations to his game, but anyone at 6-8 and that athletic and competitive is a five-star. What had me sleeping on Leslie is that I didn't realize he was this competitive. Either I missed it or he has developed it during this travel circuit season.

As for his recruitment, Leslie seemed very high on Kentucky and North Carolina when I interviewed him last weekend. He also mentioned Connecticut, Florida and Maryland as schools of interest.

Big men with game

Some of the better post players in the Class of 2010 have as much girth as game. Jared Sullinger, Fabricio de Melo, Josh Smith and DeMarco Cox have all proven that being svelte doesn't equate to success. How do you think these players' games will change as their bodies change at the next level?

-- Rick from Orlando, Fla.
Great point, Rick. Svelte doesn't equate to success. In fact, I'd rather take a big-bodied post player who controls horizontal space over a thin, horizontal athlete. For a post player winning and losing comes down to making plays against contact in traffic.

DeJuan Blair and Kevin Love are players who stick out in my mind as being successful because of their ability to control space.

As far as their future bodies are concerned, the main challenge is not gaining too much weight and losing athleticism. That could easily happen to any of the four - and has happened to Smith compared to what he was a year ago.

If they turn some of their excess weight into muscle, like Sullinger has done in the past year, then they can become even better players.

What direction these four will go is ultimately up to them, and it's one of the harder things for coaches and scouts to predict in regards to the big fellas.

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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