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February 8, 2007

Mailbag: The power of tradition

How important is basketball tradition in recruiting is one of the questions asked of National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer in this week's mailbag.

Readers also have questions about individual prospects including Michigan guard Corperryale Harris.

Jerry's Mailbag
Have you heard how Manny (Corperryale) Harris has been tearing it up in Detroit? He has to be avg. about 30-35 pts a game,with two fifty point games. He has to be the front runner for Mr. Basketball even though he wasn't rated as high as some other players in the state.
Brad from South Haven
I have been hearing about Corperryale Harris' strong season, and it comes as no surprise to Rivals.com after watching Harris play last summer. We ranked him No. 36 overall in the country and behind only Darquavis Tucker in the state of Michigan.

Harris, who is headed to Michigan, has some outstanding qualities to his game perhaps the most important being competitiveness. His willful approach to the game makes him a magnet for the ball, giving him that edge to make big plays in the clutch.

He's not a pure shooter but he is a scorer who is slippery with the ball. Making tough shots comes naturally to him. He also has the mindset to play a set-up role if his scoring is not needed.

How much do you think "school tradition" has to do with the ability to recruit top prospects? And do you think UCLA, in its rise back to prominence, will be able to get more top notch recruits in the years to come?
Kevin from Montebello
Tradition means less and less to prospects. I think it is just a byproduct of society; our memories grow shorter with the increasing speed of technology. More teams are on television and there are not as many dynasties.

Most prospects are primarily concerned with early playing time, a fast style and a coach they feel comfortable with.

Tradition very rarely plays a big part in that equation.

As for UCLA, having a great coach and winning games will have infinitely more to do with recruiting success than all the championships under John Wooden. Unfortunately, the majority of prospects have little knowledge of John Wooden and his run of championships.

How do you feel about Jamine "Greedy" Peterson's potential? He's putting up good numbers on a team that features the #1 ranked player Michael Beasley, and leads them in scoring sometimes.
Vincent from Brooklyn

I've always liked Jamine Peterson's game but not because I think he has the potential to develop into a legitimate small forward. I really doubt that will happen.

What I like about his game is he plays with continuous intensity, comes up with rebounds and loose balls and attacks the rim.

Just as teams have a place for a shooting specialist, there is a place on a high-major team for an athletic, energetic rebounder like Peterson.

Yes, he is undersized but has the athleticism, long arms, stamina and heart to make up for it.

Once Peterson gets his academics in order, there will be plenty of high-major schools trying to sign him.

I have seen Willie Warren and Tyreke Evans play. Do you think Warren is a better prospect? I do. If you saw him play as much as Evans, you would too.
James from Dallas
I do like Tyreke Evans more as a prospect now but you might be right, James. I haven't seen Willie Warren enough to gauge his game.

Warren missed a lot of time on the circuit with injuries and has not had the national exposure of Evans.

Our mission during the spring is to get a better feel for the rising senior class and seek out prospects we have not gotten a good enough look at.

UCLA has the best basketball coach in the country and is having ok/good recruiting efforts in CA primarily. Why aren't they getting five-star players all over the US?
John from Los Angeles
Perhaps the Bruins aren't getting five-star prospects from all over the country, but Coach Ben Howland does have five-star Kevin Love coming in. UCLA's other 2007 prospect, Chase Stanback, has a lot of upside and is a solid four-star prospect.

In Stanback's case, a lot of coaches would rather have a loyal, local prospect around four years than a higher ranked player who might leave early. Many coaches believe a healthy mix of the two types of prospects is the formula for success.

When you look at the 2008 Bruin class, UCLA has the backcourt players they wanted in four-star prospects Jerime Anderson and Malcolm Lee. A big plus for Howland is they are both California kids.

The top two players left on UCLA's wish list for 2008 are an upper four-star prospect from Reno, Nev., Luke Babbitt and five-star California prospect Jrue Holiday.

I can tell you the UCLA staff would love to hand pick recruits on the west coast - primarily in California - and leave the rest of the country alone.

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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