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October 27, 2010

Ask the Experts: Team ranking tough calls

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

Of your latest team rankings, which team is the most difficult to place?

Meyer: I find myself going back and forth on the Rutgers class. On one hand it is a solid six-man class with a couple of four-star prospects and a couple of ranked three-star prospects. On the other hand, it might be a class without an impact player. The class sits at No. 13 nationally right now, but it will be interesting to see how it pans out in the coming years.

Bossi: For me, it's Illinois. I really like what the Illini have done with their class and I think Tracy Abrams is going to be a leader for them. The X-factor is Nnanna Egwu. The big man can run and block shots, but how quickly he will help out could have a big impact on how one looks at that class. Of course, if they add Mike Shaw this week, it will be an easy call to give them a bump.

How much has Butler's NCAA title game appearance helped it in recruiting this year?

Meyer: I don't know that it has had a tangible effect on Butler's recruiting. Getting that national exposure broadens Butler's recruiting base to more of a national nature than regional nature and makes it easier to get a foot in the door, but I don't know that it will help Butler land any better players than it had already been recruiting.

Bossi: It has helped in that you hear their name mentioned a bit more. But for the most part they look to still be targeting the types of guys that allowed them to build such a strong program. Three-star Roosevelt Jones is in our Rivals150 for the class of 2011 and he's just the type of guy that should blossom in college.

Which coaching situation will be examined most closely this season by elite recruits?

Meyer: I'm sure that prospects being recruited by Tennessee are looking closely at Bruce Pearl's situation. Pearl is the reason why Tennessee is having the success it is having. It is hard to picture Tennessee basketball being as successful without Pearl at the helm.

Bossi: Well, Jahii Carson is back in the fold, but recruits seem to be anxious to see whether or not Herb Sendek and Arizona State are really going to play faster this season. Another Pac-10 program that will be monitored closely is Oregon. The Ducks are opening ridiculous new facilities and if kids out West like their style, Dana Altman's program could see more high level guys like five-star shooting guard Jabari Brown headed their way.

What's the most bizarre recruiting tactic you've ever heard?

Meyer: I always think of the story of how Billy Donovan sat in his car for hours outside of Mike Miller's house until the time when he could legally visit with him in the house.

Bossi: Over the years you see just about everything. Coaches becoming friends on myspace and facebook with a player's friends, family and others to foster relationships. Guys going out of their way to do something out of the ordinary just to draw a look. One memorable moment was when then-Georgia Tech assistant Dean Keener, showed up to watch target Deron Williams wearing a t-shirt from Williams' high school, The Colony in Texas. Williams ended up at Illinois.

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