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February 12, 2012
Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.
Nerlens Noel recently made the move from the class of 2013 to 2012. What type of impact could he have as a freshman?
Bossi: Noel is not only an elite shot blocker and rebounder but one of the nation's most improved players. The school that gets Noel has a shot eraser who allows his teammates to take some defensive risks because he will be there to clean up mistakes in the paint. Rim to rim he's as fast as anybody in the country and his scoring isn't quite as raw as some have made it out to be.
Meyer: I expect Noel to have a similar impact as a freshman as Anthony Davis is having this year at Kentucky. They share many of the same qualities. Like Davis, Noel is long, athletic and an elite shot blocker. He has a great feel for the game on the defensive end as Davis does, and Noel is composed and skilled with the basketball in his hands.
Bossi: A win in a big game is never a bad thing. But programs who have established themselves as elite generally won't be hurt by a loss, especially in a rivalry game. Where those wins can be more beneficial is in cases where a program on the rise knocks off a rival that has had its number for a while.
Meyer: It certainly doesn't hurt a school in recruiting to have a big win on a national stage, but fans generally overestimate the effect that it has on recruits. There is a surge of energy, a buzz around the program, but then things quickly settle down and it is on to the next game and the next recruiting pitch. Now when a lesser established program pulls off a big win and demonstrates growth and advancement as a basketball program, that has a reassuring effect on recruits that the program is legitimately on the rise.
Jakarr Sampson is one of the top remaining prospects in the class of 2012. What makes him unique?
Bossi: At about 6-foot-8 Sampson is a hybrid forward who makes things happen with his activity. He's not a polished scorer but can attack bigs off the dribble, is a versatile defender, transition finisher and playmaker on the offensive glass. I can see Sampson playing a Laurence Bowers- or C.J. Fair-type role at a high major.
Meyer: Sampson's athleticism is what makes him special. He plays above the rim and is explosive in traffic. At his size, he is also a versatile defender and can play both forward positions offensively.
Connecticut won last year's national championship, but this year the Huskies have struggled a bit and now they are looking at the possibility of being ineligible for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. Could this change how recruits feel about heading to Storrs?
Bossi: Jim Calhoun has never shied away from controversy and has kept UConn on top for years because of his tenacity. I expect Calhoun and his staff will remain vigilant but the issues do seem to have been mounting this year. At a minimum, the Huskies are going to have to fight against negative perception on the recruiting trail and will have to answer some tough questions from prospects and those around them.
Meyer: There is no other way around it. When you lose, it makes it tougher to recruit. And when you are in trouble with the NCAA, it makes it tougher to recruit. Throw in health concerns with the head coach, and it really makes recruiting difficult. Connecticut has a storied program, but it might be facing a situation when the program declines and then rises again such as Indiana is in the process of doing.
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