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December 25, 2010

Ask the experts: Stars match hype

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.

Have you been disappointed by any top prospects so far during these early-season tournaments?

Meyer: I'm happy to say I haven't been disappointed in a top prospect. At the City of Palms, I was worried I would be disappointed in Mike Gilchrist in relation to his No. 3 ranking. I'm not sure if he will hold that exact ranking, but I loved the way he played. Rivers, who is our No. 1 ranked prospect, didn't come away with a championship, but definitely displayed the talent of a No. 1 ranked prospect.

Bossi: I don't know that there is any one top prospect that has disappointed me. However, I have been a bit disappointed that there haven't been many guys who look like they have gotten into the gym and worked on their game since last summer. Going in the other direction, maybe the guy who I have been most impressed with in terms of taking his game to the next level and improving in all facets is Arizona-bound guard Nick Johnson.

Which non-BCS league (outside the big six conferences) has the best recruiters as a whole?

Meyer: Think it has to be the Atlantic-10. The whole point of recruiting is to produce winning results on the court. There isn't a non-BCS conference in the country that is as strong as the Atlantic-10. Xavier and Dayton often represent the Atlantic-10 in the national team recruiting rankings.

Bossi: That's a good question and one that seems to change a bit. For my money, right now, I think it's probably the A-10. Most of that conference sits right in the heart of Big East country but seems to keep pulling guys that can really play. The level of athleticism that the A-10 has been able to recruit into the conference is impressive to me.

Five seconds left, down by one. Which 2011 prospect do you want with the ball in his hands?

Meyer:I'll take Austin Rivers. There is no one in the 2011 class better at creating a shot on his own and also hitting a contested shot. With his jab step and explosive first step, Rivers always has the defense guessing. If he puts it on the floor, he has a terrific floater and has the strength and savvy to draw fouls in a pinch.

Bossi: I guess a lot of it would depend on the exact situation of the game. But, in a general scenario, I'm taking Bradley Beal. He's as competitive a guy as there is in high school basketball and is nearly impossible to rattle. He's hit plenty of big shots and he's the guy I want taking a big shot for me.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin had a bit of a meltdown with the media last week. Do those moments tend to hurt or help coaches on the recruiting trail, or does a coach's behavior in front of the media not matter to prospects?

Meyer: It would have to be an extreme, extreme meltdown to be a negative. A typical meltdown probably endears a coach to a prospect more than anything. Relationships are built in person, and then when a prospect sees a coach show emotion as Martin did, it proves the coach is human and will fight for what he cares about.

Bossi: I would tend to think that it doesn't matter all that much. That's why kids take visits and get to know the coaching staff. Look at Frank Martin specifically. How could somebody be recruited by him and NOT know that he's got a fiery personality and can get a bit heated on the sidelines. If getting upset with the media in a news conference following a loss turns a kid away from him, odds are that kid wouldn't have lasted very long with Martin to begin with.

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