10 Questions with Dave Telep

As the AAU season reaches its mid-point, Inside Carolina sat down with Dave Telep -- the nation's leading basketball recruiting analyst and scout -- to look back at last weekend's Tournament of Champions and analyze the state of UNC's recruiting efforts.

1) For Carolina fans, all eyes this past weekend at the Tournament of Champions were on Kevin Love, for obvious reasons. How did you think he fared?

Dave Telep: That was a typical Kevin Love deal. He comes out, scores inside, gets his boards, throws some TD passes and they win a lot of games. If you were there and watched Kevin Love, you got a very accurate picture of who he is, what he's capable of doing and how talented he is.

2) Any insight into his decision or timetable you gleaned from sources this weekend?

DT: I was able to glean that Kevin Love enjoys having reporters eat out of the palm of his hand. There was nothing new recruiting-wise learned from Love. He was in N.C. and said the right things about the Tar Heels.

At the end of the day, his decision comes down to one question – does he want to board a plane and travel coast to coast to go to college. Marvin Williams did. Spencer Hawes didn't.

I'm sure UNC made a good impression, as UCLA did. This one will take some time because he looks like a kid who will take official visits. It has the look and feel of a guy who will go all the way through the recruiting process. Right now I just don't see this one ending abruptly.

3) Julian Vaughn and J.J. Hickson are also 2007 post players on the UNC radar. Did either's showing improve their chances at a UNC offer?

DT: Those are two guys who continue to be evaluated and are firmly on the radar. With Hickson, when you have a kid as talented as he is, there is a certain expectation because you know what he's capable of, but I still don't think he's put a three-day weekend together announcing himself as a big-timer. So in terms of playing his way into an offer, I don't think he's done that yet. But at the same time, his next tournament could be the one where you go "wow." It's really up to him. In this class there is room at his position for a guy to make a lot of waves in the same way Blake Griffin did two months ago. Everyone knows the level of talent Hickson possesses and everyone's just waiting for him to go out and consistently do it.

Vaughn, though, is just coming back from being hurt, and his AAU season just started, so he's kind of behind everyone else because of those injuries. In the game I watched him on Saturday, he was pretty good and set the tone – Trevor Mbakwe came at him and Julian did a great job of being the aggressor and he was on the way to a big game. But he didn't follow through with the same effort in the second half and that's a part of him he's still starting to realize to take the next step. The first half, he was the best inside player on the floor. He just didn't bring that same intensity in the second half.

4) Who improved their stock the most at the Tournament of Champions?

DT: To me the one guy who really helped his stock over the weekend was DeJuan Blair. I'm not sure if enough people have noticed him this spring because he's coming off knee surgery, and he's got these big knee braces that make him look lumbering, but he played with a lot of energy and he's got great hands. I don't know if that'll turn into serious UNC interest, but he was the guy who boosted his stock more than anyone else in my opinion all weekend.

5) The Tar Heel staff has now had the spring evaluation period to get a more in-depth look at the 2007 class and won't be able to evaluate again until July, per NCAA rules. Where does their recruitment of the 2007 class stand, in your opinion, and what will be their course of action over the next month?

DT: Their course of action remains the same. They're going to be extremely patient, keep close contact on the elite level guys and they'll look to see if they fall in love in the first couple weeks of July with anyone. They have Love firmly in their sights and if a guy on their B list emerges, they can move. But with a limited amount of scholarships and not many guys on the wish list, they can be patient and go home run hitting.

6) Does it seem like a case of Kevin Love and then everybody else? As in, waiting on Love's decision to dictate what they do from there?

DT: I don't think if anybody on their B list calls in to commit that they'd be willing to take him right now. They're just being patient. I'll bet they're looking to fall in love, but haven't with anyone else just yet. There are a couple guys that could make a move. A guy like DeAndre Jordan could capture their attention – you could see him have a big tournament and everyone turns the heat up on. If he ever came out and played gung ho for three days, he'd move up fast on everyone's list.

I think it's Kevin Love and then guys they're just evaluating and seeing how it goes. With UNC, because of their situation scholarship-wise, there's a chance that someone could play their way into an offer, but they're in a good situation because they can be patient and let the cream rise to the top.

7) Who are some other possible names to emerge as more serious UNC targets this summer?

DT: Patrick Patterson is a guy who will get a lot of attention. Anthony Randolph, I'm sure they'll do some work on and learn more about him. And again I wouldn't be surprised to see a guy like DeAndre Jordan go under the microscope for them as well.

8) The only other 2007 player that seems to be getting heavy attention from the UNC staff is Tyrel Reed

DT: Because of the relationship with Coach Williams and that family, they're going to be completely up front and honest with the Reeds. Their backcourt, as it stands right now, has some real horses in it. The situation may not be best for UNC or Reed, but at this point what you see is Coach Williams being completely honest and up front with a family he's known for a long time. With that I mean going into it you have to understand it's a crowded spot right now and he's got Reed's interest at heart when he gives them the run down. It's not a top priority position for them this summer because of the depth they have at this point. A guy like Reed, who's good enough for high major basketball, has to see if that's best for him. And all the while UNC's thinking the same thing seeing how the numbers play out. For now it's a wait and see situation.

9) You got a chance to watch Reed a couple weeks ago. Your thoughts on what you saw?

DT: He's a guy who could help UNC out at both guard positions. I'm not certain he's a full time point guard – he's a high major guard, a combo guard in my opinion. To take that step toward true point guard, he'll need to be a bit more of a distributor first. Guys like playing for him, he's got a presence on the floor and he can really shoot the basketball.

10) Who are the leading candidates to be top Tar Heel targets from the class of 2008 beyond the obvious names like Samardo Samuels or Tyreke Evans?

DT: Ed Davis is going to be a UNC target. Greg Monroe from Louisiana will be. There are a couple West Coast guys -- Luke Babbitt, Andy Poling or maybe Drew Gordon who could become targets. Chris Braswell could be another one. 2008 is looking to be a nice class, but we need the end of the summer to see who has a good shot to be a top target. But one of the things with North Carolina is they'll be able to take advantage of the fact that they're in such a great situation in ‘07. They'll be able to spend time watching ‘08 guys, so by the middle of August I think some guys will emerge as primetime 2008 candidates for Roy Williams.


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