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May 2, 2009

Meyer's Mailbag: UL looks to replace lost big man

Jerry Meyer is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. He tackles your questions in his weekly mailbag feature.
Previous mailbags
Apr 9: Big names waiting on Wall
Mar 27: PG transition at Memphis?
Mar 20: GU's recruiting hurt by offense?
Where does Louisville turn now that its prized 2010 recruit Jeremy Tyler is headed to Europe?

Will Avery Bradley impact the Texas program as a freshman like Derrick Rose impacted Memphis as a freshman?

And where are a couple of unsigned five-star prospects Eric Bledsoe and Latavious Williams headed?

National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer addresses these questions and more in this week's mailbag.

Jerry's Mailbag
Another big man in the Cards?

Now that Jeremy Tyler is going to Europe, does Louisville have a real chance at Josh Smith and Dominique Ferguson or is there a big man out there under the radar.

-- Vic from Louisville, Ky.
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Louisville is in the picture for both Smith and Ferguson. Something tells me that Smith will be tough to pull away from the West Coast, however, and Ferguson's recruitment will entail a vicious recruiting battle with Kentucky and others.

There is a big man out there who emerged on the national radar with his strong play at the King James event in Akron, Ohio, last week. He is a 7-foot center from Brazil named Fabricio de Melo. He was under the radar because he was ineligible to play for Weston (Fla.) Sagemont High School this past season.

Louisville and Connecticut got a jump on the competition after spotting Melo in fall workouts while recruiting his teammates. Besides the fact that Melo is establishing himself as one of the top big men in the 2010 class, the fact that Louisville has an inside track in his recruitment makes him a prime target for the Cardinals.

Options for Clark

Will the escalation of Cameron Clark land him in Kansas?

-- Brandon from Denison, Kan.
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I don't know about Kansas, but Clark is going to have plenty of options. Two weeks ago Clark listed offers from Oklahoma, USC, Arizona State and Oklahoma State. Chances are that his offer list has expanded after the reports of his stellar play at the Real Deal in the Rock.

Kansas is interested in Clark, but Harrison Barnes is the Jayhawks' top target at the small forward position. Clark has a very similar game to Barnes as a wing player who can do pretty much everything a wing can do. The question for Kansas is whether or not Barnes and Clark can play the wing positions together, and the answer to that question might very well be yes.

Don't be surprised if Kentucky makes a strong run at Clark. Kentucky really isn't in the picture for Barnes. The bigger question for the Wildcats is whether they like Clark or Roscoe Smith better as small forwards.

Bradley's impact

I was very impressed with Avery Bradley's play at the Nike Hoop Summit event a week or two ago. His body style, demeanor, length, athleticism and skills set remind me a lot of Derrick Rose at the same stage. Do you think that is an apt comparison, and do you believe that Bradley can have the same impact as a freshman at Texas as Rose did at Memphis?

-- Rick from Orlando, Fla.
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Rick, for the most part I agree with you. Bradley has a serious and competitive edge to his game like Rose, and physically they are very similar. The difference, though, is that Bradley is not near the point guard as Rose but is a much more reliable shooter than Rose at the same stage in their careers.

Perhaps Bradley can develop into a point guard, but it is far from his natural position. His abilities as a shooting guard are what make him so special.

Can Bradley have the same impact as a freshman at Texas as Rose did as a freshman at Memphis? It is possible since Bradley is so talented, but it will be difficult because of the difference in positions. A point guard just has so much more control of the game with the ball primarily in his hands. The one thing about Bradley, though, is that he guards the ball as well as anyone in the 2009 class and will have more of an impact defensively than Rose had. If Bradley scores more than 15 points a game and dominates defensively, then he will have an early impact that could rival the impact Rose had as a freshman.

Waiting on Wall?

Pretty simple question, where does Eric Bledsoe end up?

-- Dan from Cincinnati
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Bledsoe is down to Kentucky and Memphis. On Thursday he visited Memphis and on Saturday he will be in Lexington. Kentucky isn't recruiting Bledsoe as a backup plan for John Wall. Coach John Calipari would love to reel in both players with Bledsoe taking over the reigns completely after Wall leaves for the NBA after his freshman season. In addition, Bledsoe is publically saying that he will decide between Kentucky and Memphis regardless of Wall's school choice.

I'm buying that Kentucky would love to have both guards, but I'm not buying Bledsoe's assertion that he doesn't have an eye on Wall. Bledsoe wants to start right away, and start right away at point guard. That is not going to happen if he is on the same team as Wall.

If Wall goes to Kentucky or Bledsoe thinks he is going to Kentucky, look for Bledsoe to choose Memphis. If Wall opts for a school other than Kentucky, expect Bledsoe to choose Kentucky.

Good news for Memphis?

What is the recruiting status of Latavious Williams? Has he qualified? Does Memphis have the best shot of landing him now that Georgetown signed a class of three?

-- Cole from Champaign, Ill.
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Williams is expected to sign with Memphis on Monday, choosing the Tigers over Georgetown and Kansas State.

No, he hasn't qualified, and the chances of him qualifying are iffy.

Williams' camp has been in the process of exploring options for him to play professionally overseas if he is unable to qualify academically.

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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