There are some players who become hotly recruited to fill a specific niche. Coaches may not view them as a player to lead the offense, but an elite complementary player such as Rex Pflueger nevertheless can initiate a recruiting war.
Pflueger has some athletic limitations that could prevent him from becoming a star, but he bears one asset that makes his contribution to some major program very likely: a jump shot.
When I watched Pflueger on the 2013 travel circuit, he stood out to me primarily for his ability to knock in long jumpers. More than that, he has a very quick release and I believe always will be able to get his shot even when matched against high-major defenders.
He also holds fairly good ball skills. Pflueger could serve as a fine secondary handler and is a pretty good passer. For a player who, in the eyes of most, slots as a shooter, he's able to contribute in more than one area. He's also plenty tall (6-5) for shooting guard, another plus in the column and additional evidence that he'll be able to wield clean looks at the next level.
Pflueger doesn't boast top-shelf athleticism but certainly is no sloth. He can play uptempo, finish with dunks on the break and is able to rebound his position. Defense may be the area he struggles initially, due to the fact that he doesn't possess great lateral quickness or length. He also needs to become much stronger to battle physically on both ends of the court.
His recruitment exists within the elite realm. He told colleague Josh Gershon earlier this month that Stanford, USC, UCLA, California, San Diego State, Florida, Notre Dame and Connecticut are recruiting him the hardest but that no decision is imminent. He'll have a lot to play for this summer, not so much in terms of offers — plenty of which he already holds — but more in how coaches view his fit into their system.
Pflueger may not want to be typecast as a shooter, and some programs likely will be more accommodating to him as a potential combo guard or wing slasher than merely someone who spots up from deep. Finding the right fit, not just school or level, will be key.
Junior Primer: Rex Pflueger
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