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May 14, 2010
Roundtable: Late signing period winding down
We're almost to the end of the late signing period. As such, we decided to get with our basketball recruiting analysts for a recruiting roundtable.
Q. Which freshman played better than you expected this past season? Which one disappointed you the most?
Eric Bossi: For me, the freshman I wasn't expecting to contribute as much as he did was Kentucky's Eric Bledsoe. Frankly, I just wasn't as much of a believer as others were when he was coming out of high school. For a disappointment (and I hate to use that word because these guys were freshmen), I'll go with Washington guard Abdul Gaddy. I was really surprised by how lost he looked after always being so poised as a high school player.
Q. Which coach hired this offseason do you see having the most long-term recruiting success?
Eric Bossi: I really like the situation that Brad Brownell is walking into at Clemson. He's at a school where there is plenty of local talent, and thanks to his previous experience at UNC Wilmington, he already has a good feel for the region that he'll need to recruit.
Q. Is there any new coach whose recruiting ability might be underrated?
Eric Bossi: Auburn has been a notoriously tough job for a while now. In Tony Barbee, school officials have hired a guy who has proven that he can recruit regionally - he's especially plugged into talent rich-Memphis - and he's a young, energetic guy. If anybody can get things headed the right way on the recruiting trail for Auburn, Barbee is the guy.
Q. How about a coach who might have some trouble recruiting at his new school?
Eric Bossi: This one is a tough call between Jeff Bzdelik at Wake Forest and Steve Donahue at Boston College. The ACC is among the most competitive recruiting conferences, and each of these new guys is coming from a vastly different environment. They will have to prove they can recruit against some of college basketball's most proven recruiters on the crowded Eastern Seaboard.
Q. St. John's, Rutgers and Seton Hall have hired new coaches this offseason. Much is made of those schools being in fertile recruiting areas. Is that talk overrated? If not, what is it going to take for those schools to keep the bulk of the top players at home? Can all three be good at the same time?
Eric Bossi: There is plenty of talent within a three-hour drive in any direction from each of these programs. But there are a ton of other programs who have established - or are in the middle of establishing - deep ties in those areas. St. John's and Seton Hall have some tradition, which could help. The bottom line, though, for any of these programs is that if they start winning, the locals will take notice.
Q. Is there an area of the country that is undervalued when it comes to the talent it produces?
Eric Bossi: A few years ago, the answer might have been either Memphis or the Pacific Northwest (specifically Seattle and Portland), but both of those areas have been getting plenty of credit lately. Strange as it may sound given how many players they've been producing lately, I still think Florida and Texas are a bit underrated. Football still rules in each of those states, and there still seem to be an awful lot of sleepers emerging from each place despite the more intense recruiting efforts of numerous programs.