Sunday, November 18, 2007

Breaking down Arizona's recruiting class

Arizona inked four recruits Wednesday in its second top 10 recruiting class in a row.

The following is what interim coach Kevin O'Neill told the Daily Wildcat and then my take. I've also put in some videos of the players.

Brandon Jennings
, 6-foot point guard (Rivals' No. 8 overall) video

Kevin O'Neill says: "Brandon Jennings - it speaks for itself. Big-time point guard, big-time skill, just a great, great talent, and a guy who's just a really great team guy. He's going to be capable of double-doubles on many nights, points and assists, and he's a guy that has got a chance to be a very, very great college player and a chance to be a great
pro already."
My take: The Wildcats nabbed the No. 1 prospect in the class of 2008. On the down side, he's yet another shoot first point guard. If Jerryd Bayless stays, will there be enough shots to go around. Jennings, who decommitted from USC and also transferred to Oak Hill from Los Angeles, comes in with some attitude. Those big egos haven't worked out too well for the Wildcats recently. But when you have the No. 1 player in the recruiting class, how can you complain.

Emmanuel Negedu, 6-foot-7 power forward (Rivals' No. 31 overall) video

O'Neill says: "Negedu is one of those guys that absolutely is a killer. Big-time energy guy, highly competitive, has a chance to be a big-time athletic rebounder on both ends and a guy that's going to manufacture extra possessions and points for his team because of his aggressiveness and the way he plays. He's going to be a great defender, probably going to be able to guard guys of all different sizes because of his
athletic ability."

My take: When O'Neill says "big time energy guy," he means Negedu doesn't have very many real basketball skills. He's a tremendous athlete, he's explosive, but it's unclear, despite his top 15 ranking on ESPN's 150 whether he can contribute right away. Sometimes great athletes develop into great basketball players. That doesn't always happen. In Negedu's case, he should at least be a good defender, hustle and block some shots. And maybe, that's just what the Wildcats need.

Jeff Withey, 6-foot-11 center (Rivals' No. 39 overall) video

O'Neill says: "Withey's got extraordinary skill for a 7-foot kid. He shoots it, uses both hands well. His best days are ahead of him. He's a guy that has a great chance as a center to also have the ability to step out to 15, 16 feet already. His skills are a very high level. I've not been around a guy coming in as a freshman as a big man that's had the skill development that he has already."
My take: Meet the next Kirk Walters. It's hard to tell from the video but this kid is a 7-footer and weights about a buck 90. The good part is he's better than Alex Jacobsen. The bad part, is Jacobsen is really, really bad. I still contend that Walters would have been a decent player if not for his slew of injuries. He could have put up 12 and 8, and been in the starting lineup, and with some added weight, Withey could one day start and put up 12 and 8. He's not ready by any stretch of the imagination though. Interesting tidbit: he was a teammate of Jamelle Horne in AAU ball.

Brendan Lavendar, 6-foot-4 shooting guard video

O'Neill says: "Lavendar's a guy who can be a great swingman-type player. I think he can play the two and three spots, probably guard a few small forwards. Shoots the ball extremely well, very athletic."

My take: Truth be told I haven't seen too much of him. But the instrumental on this video is really sick so it's worth watching just for that. Lavender won't be worth watching. He's a Phoenix kid so he'll likely be sitting and watching right next to Zane Johnson. Neither figure to play much in their first few years.
And then also: Doesn't get more ridiculous than this but there's another postseason tournament to complement the NIT.
We should just give every team in the NCAA participation medals. Now if your team doesn't make it to the postseason, you really suck.

Plus: My Daily News article on Northridge basketball's win over Pepperdine


Justin Adler said...

I believe Brandon Jennings is God.

Lavender is a nice kid, but he sucks at basketball.

I base all my opinions off YouTube vids and the AZ Cactus Classic AAU Tourney that was in Tucson last year, where they both played along with every other sick kid in their class.

Kyle said...

Gardner - Arenas was a backcourt with two shoot-first guards and that worked out fine. I could see a Bayless - Jennings backcourt being very similar to that.

roman said...

That's only IF Bayless stays past his freshman season.

Kyle said...