Special Guest - Mike Sullivan Discusses RU Hoops

Too busy with work, once again, to join Mike Sullivan, one of the leading and most respected recruiting analysts in the nation, for our Members Only Chat Session? Not to worry - we've provided the session transcript so that you don't miss a beat on the latest Rutgers basketball recruiting developments.

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matei:: Hi Mike - Thanks for joining us today.

MikeSullivan:: Sure.

matei: I guess I can start - are there any new developments with Inglis?

MikeSullivan: What I was told was, 98 percent sure that he would be enrolled ... but always leave the two percent there in case everything doesn't work out properly.

MikeSullivan: Rutgers is trying to get John Oates in for an unofficial next week...he is vacationing at the Cape and will likely visit BC since they have offered.

MikeSullivan: Oates, by the way, could make a decision in the next couple of weeks between schools like Rutgers, Seton Hall, and Boston College.

matei: What's your read on Oates? Why did RU wait so late and how much has it/will it hurt?

MikeSullivan: They didn't wait late...they were on him...most schools weren't sure if he would play in 2004-2005 or 2005-2006.

steinmeister: Mike, Could you tell the uninformed a little bit about Oates?

MikeSullivan: Oates is a big man who has dramatically improved his individual skills. He gets off his feet quicker, jumps higher, and grabs more rebounds in traffic. Now, with that said, Oates is still developing,  and is about a year away from being a player that can give you 15 minutes a game. But he's worth the risk because he always is working hard to improve his game and he has come a long way.

MikeSullivan: UCLA and St. John's tried to get him for this upcoming season.

matei: He is going to prep school?

MikeSullivan: He is supposed to go to Blair Academy. That is the plan right now.

steinmeister: Where do we stand with Bynum?

MikeSullivan: I sense Bynum will end up choosing between UCONN, Georgia Tech, and Rutgers. It's an opinion. But UCONN has made him their number one target while Farmer and Griffin are trying to spin him to RU's way.

steinmeister: Who else is RU targeting and what is the latest with Biggs?

MikeSullivan: Biggs had a so-so summer. But I don't pay too much attention to two weeks of average play. It's likely his list will be changed. He was supposed to iron out his list in the next couple of days. Rutgers is one of the schools along with Syracuse and Miami I have heard a lot recently.

MikeSullivan: Rutgers is also trying on Ahmad Nivins, who seems to have quite a few schools on his list.

MikeSullivan: He could be a candidate for an August unofficial visit. He played extremely well on the West Coast according to coaches I spoke to.

MikeSullivan: He showed a willingness to be more active offensively.

matei: So 3 "bigs" (no pun intended) for 1 ship? Generally how does this type of thing work out?

MikeSullivan: They are still trying with Long Island big man John Garcia. But Garcia has told me he is likely to consider Villanova, Pittsburgh, Connecticut, St. John's and Seton Hall. Richmond is the darkhorse here.

MikeSullivan: You try to get one of them to verbal. Take the first one. I see Rutgers in being in a big dogfight with UCONN over Bynum. RU has the friendship of Griffin and Farmer and the recent success the three had together. UCONN has the National Championship aspect going for them, plus Emeka Okafor's development as a player there.

MikeSullivan: I think what happened the past month has really given a boost to Rutgers' recruiting campaign. To have guys like Farmer and Griffin being showcased on a national level and being so successful, will only help the Rutgers program. It was a big boost for them.

matei: On that note, what were others saying about their performances...others that maybe weren't aware of these two prospects.

MikeSullivan: Opposing coaches in the Big East and outside the Big East told me they were impressed with both players, especially the way Farmer ran the offense. He was under control and able to drop in the jumper when he needed to.

steinmeister: How much has GW's stock gone up in the eyes of other BE coaches?

MikeSullivan: Well, I think everyone knew that Gary Waters is an excellent head coach. The questions relating to him were whether he could land some of the top players in the area. I think he has proven that, especially recently. You don't need to be a top ranked player to contribute to a high major program. So don't expect these guys to be ranked high, but they are the right type of players. Former Olympic coach Herb Brooks once told his assistant, "I don't want the best players, I want the right players." Griffin and Farmer appear to be the right players.

matei: Mike - In the game where Farmer nailed the jumper to win it, he was up against the number 1 ranked 2-guard in the country (according to TheInsiders.com). How well did Farmer perform in that game?

MikeSullivan: What impressed me about Farmer was he didn't lose his cool at all. The Georgia Stars had a 20-point lead in the second half and Farmer continued to run the offense and was under control. He picked his spots for his shot and made sure he kept his teammates involved. It was hard to tell who was the better guard in that game.

matei: That's very promising considering he's still learning the position.

MikeSullivan: Yes, he is someone who has his best games ahead of him. His coaches said he was under control at the Showcase more than previous events. But it's a tough position. It takes time to learn. He has another year to polish those lead guard skills.

steinmeister: How do you rank Farmer to the point guard Gary Waters recruited this year - Manny Quezada?

MikeSullivan: Manny is a scoring lead guard. I think both will contribute. I liked Manny probably more than other scouts since I saw him a lot. But he is a very capable guard who can score and distribute.

matei: Mike what can you tell us about this incoming class...is Ollie Bailey the stud of the class?

MikeSullivan: Bailey rebounds well in traffic, has good mitts and can finish reliably in the low post. Bailey is a fine player.

MikeSullivan: Russ Blake saw him more than I did and has a favorable opinion of him.

matei: Can we expect a productive 15 minutes per game from Bailey?

MikeSullivan: For sure Matei. The kid can play. He's tough, a competitor, and has already proven he can score against top talent.

matei: Okay. I had heard good things, but as a true freshman that's a lot to ask for.

MikeSullivan: The key for Rutgers is to land a guy like Bynum. This will elevate the team a few notches in the future. This could be a turning point for another level up if they land Bynum.

MikeSullivan: In today's college basketball world, freshmen are being asked to do more. So Bailey giving Rutgers 10-15 minutes I think is possible.

MikeSullivan: We shall see how much Bynum wants to stay home and be around his family. His family was at all the games I attended in Florida. His brother really gets into the game and was videotaping his brother's every move.

steinmeister: How much playing time do you see Waterstradt getting as a freshman?

MikeSullivan: I am not sure. I thought that he was pretty skilled and agile. What he does need to do is put more muscle on his body. I think once he accomplishes that, it will give him more minutes.

steinmeister: Do you see us going to the Dance this year?

MikeSullivan: I don't want to put pressure on the Rutgers staff.  But, if they land Bynum, I fully expect them to go during his years there and do some damage in the postseason. If they don't, they will certainly be right there on the fence, including this year. Waters, IMO, is one of the best coaches in the country.

steinmeister: Mike, I'm glad you said that. I think many people don't know what they have in Gary Waters.

matei: Yeah, it is ironic that Gary Waters has gotten such a bad rap considering where this program has been for the previous decade...

MikeSullivan: I think sometimes you have to be outside the emotional heartstrings to objectively judge a coach or even a player. Gary Waters has a great reputation among coaches and is highly regarded.

steinmeister: What will be the effect of having Jim Carr on staff?

MikeSullivan: Jim Carr is terrific. I have always known him to be a hard worker and well educated on the recruits across the country. He will make an outstanding assistant coach.

steinmeister: Mike, thanks very much for you time.

MikeSullivan: Thanks for inviting me. Let's try this again early next month when visits are going on and try to see what is a good time for those interested.

matei: Thanks again Mike - talk to you later.


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