Ask The Expert: Dave Telep

Inside Carolina recently hosted an "Ask the Expert" chat session with basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep. Subscribers had the opportunity to post their questions to Telep on the premium board. Here are some highlights ...

opinionsarelike: Some high school guards make an easy transition to the college game, and some take longer to adjust. Which is Kendall Marshall?

Telep: Very quick and easy transition offensively for Kendall Marshall. Student of the game, understands team dynamics and has feel for people. Marshall may be the best in the country with weapons around him and he'll have that in Chapel Hill.

Defensively he'll need to tighten it up but I've seen him against the best and he'll find a way. As a player at UNC, he'll be the guy Roy puts with all the recruits, the team unifier, and I would imagine if professional basketball doesn't work out he could be a guy in the pipeline to be a coach one day.

His transition - because of his ability to use his teammates, the personnel he'll have and distribute the ball - should be seamless.

parkezaffar: What do you think about the future development of Henson in a '3' role?

Telep: Henson as a small forward is carved now more out of necessity and the desire to try and put the best five on the floor than it probably is in John's development. I've always been quick to compare him more to Chris Bosh than Durant. I think he's definitely a four man inside and his offensive game is not developed quite enough to play from those spots on the floor.

If Henson develops into a '3,' that would be much farther down the road and likely when he's getting paid. You'll see a guy next season with added beef that impacts at the four spot. This year, he's just going to have to carve out his niche but it may not be in the most natural of positions.

oldschoold: How big of an effect do you think Barnes, Bullock, and Marshall will have on improving UNC's backcourt next year?

Telep: It will solve almost any and every issue that comes up this year. Problem solved as of signing day.

krazylegs: The Barnes saga has definitely been one of the wildest recruitments I've seen. If you can, tell us one interesting tidbit from the recruitment that hasn't really been touched on or reported?

Telep: Hmmmm, an interesting tidbit ... OK, here's one. Roy Williams or a staff member visited Ames, Iowa 11 times. According to Barnes and his mother, that is more than any other program in the country. The Tar Heels did not miss a single game Barnes played in last summer. Not one.

Barnes as a competitor:

I was walking into the gym in Arkansas last year. Barnes gets out of his car and says to me, "What number is he?" I had to think for a minute what he was walking about. Harrison was about to play Casey Prather and wanted to know which guy he was. I told him he was No. 10 and his response was classic. "Maybe I'll give you something to write about. I think I'll drive him a little bit."

Well, by halftime, Barnes owned the matchup 21-4. He was beasting Prather. Barnes eventually lost because he didn't have the team to get it done vs. Prather but his point was made.

One more:

As the personnel director for the NBA Top 100 Camp, I get some interesting calls. Last May, my phone rang and it was Harrison. I picked up and he said, "I have one request." As a camp director, you never like to hear that phrase. Anyway, Barnes said, "I want to play against the best and I need to play against Michael Gilchrist." No problem.

I treated Barnes like he was a No. 16 and ran him through every No. 1 seed we had at camp. He played Jereme Richmond, Tristan Thompson, Roscoe Smith, you name it. Finally it came to Michael Gilchrist. The junior got the best of Barnes and it absolutely drove Harrison nuts.

Two days after camp ends, my phone rings. "I'm ready for him. I've got a list of his strengths and weaknesses. Next time will be a lot different. I've got him down pat. Won't happen again."

That's the kind of guy you're dealing with in Harrison Barnes.

achillestheheel: What changed in Dexter Strickland's game since the time he was ranked the #1 PG prospect in his class? I know you said he could play both positions, but I just don't see how you can go from the top PG prospect, to being thought of now as a natural wing guard.

Telep: Plain and simple: his game never evolved into that of a point guard. He was caught in between positions as a high schooler and it had nothing to do with Irving. Whether in HS, AAU or camp settings, playing the point was not something he gravitated toward doing or displayed a natural ability to do.

PGs are easy to evaluate. It's a lot like a Hall of Famer. If you have to ask if a guy belongs in the HOF, he's probably not a HOFer. Same with point guards. Strickland has always been a good athlete who can score, but not a dominating consistent scorer. His ability to pass shouldn't be confused with the label of being a point guard. Being a PG comes naturally. Some can make the transition but unless your Devin Harris it's going to take time and there will be some bumps.

Evaluating Strickland as the No. 1 point guard was an error on my part and once I figured out the riddle we didn't list him as such anymore. True combo guy, I believe, was how we referenced him coming out of St Pat's.

crushgroovin: At what point did you think UNC led for Barnes and how confident were you in where he was going on the day he announced?

Telep: I believed Harrison Barnes was going to Duke UNTIL he took his UNC official visit. To me, at that time, his tone changed. You could sense a shift in his mindset. There is no doubt Duke was the behind-the-scenes leader prior to September, but the visit to UNC began the evolution that eventually was the catalyst for him picking UNC.

After that trip, I slowly and quietly began to think he would go to UNC. in speaking with dozens of people on a weekly basis, my hypothesis was challenged but by two weeks from decision day, that was where i thought he'd end up. We spoke on national signing day for a long time, almost none of which was about recruiting. I asked him one question: "When did you know it was UNC?" He told me that if he answered that question then I'd know where he was going. That kind of confirmed my suspicion that the visit had changed his mindset.

tarheelscf88: Could you fill in the blank: Harrison Barnes is the best player to come to college since ____________?

Telep: John Wall and Derrick Favors last year and the 2007ers. Look, the guy is a stud and I have mucho expectations for him but we've had some elite players run through the past few seasons as well.

If you asked me "Harrison Barnes is the most mentally sharp player to come through college since XXX." I would say Shane Battier.

Harrison is willing to put in whatever time on and off the court it will take to win and become a great pro as needed. He's kind of robotic in that approach.

jcswain: Do you think UNC still goes after Adonis Thomas with Barnes in the fold now?

Telep: Why wouldn't UNC go after him? Barnes is at best a two year guy. Thomas is going to be the No. 1 recruit for every major program who doesn't try to get Gilchrist at the SF spot. He fits every profile the two major powers in the ACC have.

The problem from a UNC perspective is the strength of Memphis within the city limits now. With EWill, Joe Jack and Tarik Black in the fold, all of the sudden staying home isn't a bad option. I haven't talked to Adonis since USA Basketball but I guarantee the big boys take aim at him.

ma986: How do you think James McAdoo will fit into the UNC system? What will be his strengths and weaknesses in Roy's uptempo system?

Telep: Think about this. Henson was No. 3, Barnes No. 1 and McAdoo No. 2. Process the depth of those three impact recruits for a second. WOW!

McAdoo is a Tim Duncan knockoff. By that I mean he's got this quiet mannerism to his game. He is fundamental, can shoot and places a premium on rebounding. Plus, the kid is a winner. Needs to keep expanding his range. Strength is versatility in the power forward position. He can do a lot of things well.

heelsfan74: Why do you think Kendall Marshall is ranked as low as he is, compared to Josh Selby for instance?

Telep: Let's dismiss the notion that Kendall Marshall is ranked LOW. That's absurd. There are other guys who have bigger measurables and more basketball gifts physically. They'll play longer and maybe even make more money than Kendall. Kyrie Irving is the best mix of point and scorer in the class. Knight probably most talented, best defensive guy. Jackson the fastest, Selby the most athletic.

Kendall Marshall is tops when it comes to distributing and using your weapons. For UNC, the right guys at the point in this class for them would have been Kyrie Irving, Kendall Marshall or Ray McCallum. For what they do, those were the high level guys that fit best. Selby is above the rim, athletic as they come and finishing everything. COMPLETELY different kind of guard than Kendall.

I can't explain to you how much Kendall will impact your program until you see for yourself. He's a natural leader, understands the dynamics of a team, throws pinpoint passes and his success is not determined in the scoring column.

unc1012: Who in the 2012 class do you think UNC is showing the most interest in?

Telep: Projecting by position ...

PG: L.J. Rose, maybe a Marcus Paige (might not be needed); Rose is like Marshall

SG: TBD

SF: Somebody out of this bunch: Tokoto, Jefferson, Justin Anderson, Shabazz Muhammad, T.J. Warren

Posts (who knows?): Nerlens Noels, Khem Birch, Tony Parker, Robert Upshaw, Brandon Ashley, Dajuan Coleman

capitalone: How big of an immediate impact do you expect from Barnes, using recent players as comparisons? Carmelo-type superstar (I know that's probably too ambitious)? Luol Deng? Marvin Williams? Again, I'm asking more about impact than playing style.

Telep: One thing we tend to forget when talking about impact is how it relates to a team. Melo's Syracuse team had one other pro (Warrick) and a great college player in McNamara.

Barnes' UNC team could be chock full of picks. His impact will be significant but impact can be situational. Is he going to be one of the best players in the country? Yes, but Barnes knows that his playing time will have to be earned and the competition will be there.

Next year's team will be loaded. Barnes will help in a big way but the burden to carry a team ala Melo might not be there. Next year's team could wind up being a breakout party starring Henson, Barnes and a litany of good players.

Impact depends on situation.

sandie: In what year will Carolina be in its best position to win another national championship?

Telep: I think the next time they compete for a national championship is the 2010-2011 season. They'll be young but because of the background of the players involved (guys who value winning) I would expect once the differences between the classes get hammered out - and there's always an adjustment when a touted player or group rolls in - this team would be capable of winning it even with a frontcourt loss this season.

unc879wins: Does the 'ship situation require someone to leave UNC early?

Telep: 13 is the limit for scholarships. The game of college basketball is different than it was 25 years ago. You can no longer count on your roster being as predicted. With this team and this program, you could easily lose a player or two to the draft or to transfer. I'm sure the staff thinks that way and has prepared for both scenarios.

tarmed: Do you see Barnes and Bullock having the maturity and capability to either start and/or contribute immediately?

Telep: Yes, I think anyone who has seen UNC play this season would be in agreement that Barnes/Bullock would bring a new element to the game.

Barnes is a monster, he can play all over the floor. Bullock has a quieter game BUT when he decides to be aggressive he's a load to deal with. Reggie has been a quiet star. There will come a day when he kicks it into the next gear and makes a lot of money.

rockymountainheel: I wanted to ask your thoughts on how big a threat Coach Cal is to Roy on the recruiting trail?

Telep: Over time, Williams and Calipari will butt heads. However, I don't think it'll be a situation where the look at the exact same guys each year. Each has a different profile they look for.

I'd bet out of 10 Top 25 players each recruits next year, four of them would be common between UK and UNC and when it comes down to the final lists, 1-2 guys each year. Let's not be naive, they will tangle, but to me the biggest rivalry out there right now is Self/Calipari.

I just think the head coaches look for different styles of guys. I think Calipari is more likely to run into Self/Donovan/Calhoun and Williams is more likely to have to deal with Barnes/Izzo/Krzyzewski/Boeheim/Pitino.


Dave Telep Bio: Simply put, he is the most respected recruiting analyst and high school scout in the nation. The Raleigh native started with Prep Stars and the Recruiter's Handbook in 1997 and has since worked for Rivals, CNNSI, The Sporting News and the ACC Handbook before joining Scout and forming ScoutHoops.com in 2001, where he is now the national director. He also runs the nation's most popular high school scouting service for college coaches. Telep is the personnel director of the NBA Top 100 Camp and runs the Carolina Challenge. He is a voting member of the McDonald's All-American Game.


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