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December 14, 2011

Ask the experts: Will brawl hurt Cincy teams?

MORE EXPERTS: Dec. 8 | Nov. 14 | Oct. 23 | Oct. 8

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.

Do you see Saturday's brawl between Cincinnati and Xavier having any negative impact on recruiting?

Meyer: I only think it will have a minimal short-term negative effect. It was an extremely ugly situation, but it looks like the institutions, programs and individuals involved are taking the proper steps in the aftermath. The recruiting world is marked more by short-term memory than long-term memory, and this episode will soon be forgotten by those not directly involved in the programs.

Bossi: Certainly, there's really no positive way to spin the actions of Saturday for either the Bearcats or Musketeers. But, in the long run I don't really see it having any real negative impact. In fact, in a strange way it's given both Mick Cronin and Chris Mack a way to show again that they'll stand up for their players. No matter what they did suspension-wise, people are going to complain. But, I've also had the opportunity to hear each guy speak since then -- notably Mack on national radio Tuesday afternoon -- and it's been pretty remarkable how much they've stuck by their players. Yes, they've been critical a well, but for the most part they've defended their guys as best they could and it never hurts for recruits to see that a future coach is going to have their back.

Jarnell Stokes is most likely enrolling at semester. What type of impact can he make?

Meyer: It will take some time for Stokes to be assimilated into a system in midstream and he will have to adjust to the college game. Both of these things, however, will happen sooner than later. What won't need to assimilate and adjust is the physical presence that Stokes brings to the court. He will control space immediately, and then he will emerge as a rebounding and low post scoring force. Not knowing exactly what program he might be at, it is difficult to precisely predict what impact he will have, but he will definitely make any team better with his physical presence and skilled play in the paint.

Bossi: As a five-star talent and a top 15 player in the class of 2012, there's no question that Stokes would be a huge boost to the interior scoring of Arkansas, Memphis, Kentucky, Florida or Tennessee. The 6-foot-8 power forward is a bull around the basket with touch out to 15 feet who has always reminded me some of a very young Corliss Williamson. But, at the same time I think expectations need to be heavily tempered for what would be an abbreviated freshman season. The adjustment to college from high school is difficult enough, but Stokes will be coming in several months behind in terms of conditioning and what game concepts/strategy the team has already been practicing for months and that could likely lead to early struggles. Just looking at guys I've been able to watch here locally who got 2nd semester starts, Travon Bryant struggled with it when he did it at Missouri, Billy Walker had some difficulties at Kansas State prior to tearing his ACL and missing early practice time and games undoubtedly hurt Josh Selby at Kansas last year -- although Selby wasn't a semester enrollment like Walker and Bryant.

Out of the committed 2012 point guards, which one do you see making the biggest impact with their team as a freshman?

Meyer: Assuming things don't fall apart between Kyle Anderson and UCLA, he should have a major impact immediately for the Bruins. I do see him running the point, but like he always does, he will impact the game in a myriad of ways. Kris Dunn, teamed with Ricardo Ledo will take Providence's attack to a new level. Indiana is getting solid point guard play from Jordan Hulls this year, but the dynamic playmaking ability of Kevin Ferrell will give the Hoosiers a new dimension.

Bossi: He isn't the highest rated of the point guards, but I think that Kevin Ferrell likely has the biggest impact next year. Indiana certainly has things going in the right direction but the Hoosiers are still in need of that dynamic playmaker who can really break guys down off the dribble and go make things happen for others in either scramble or late shot-clock situations. It doesn't hurt that "Yogi" is also an excellent pull-up jump shooter making it tough for defenses to play off of him.

You spend much of the year traveling and watching games in venues across the country, what are some of your favorite facilities or gyms?

Meyer: It isn't a comfortable place to watch a game because the gym is packed, but nothing beats the atmosphere of a high-level game at the The City of Palms classic in Fort Myers, Fla. The fans there are knowledgeable and support well-played basketball. The Boo Williams Complex in Hampton, Va., is a great place to host a multi-court event. The fried seafood at the concession stand isn't bad either. Then the Hoophall Classic coming up in Springfield, Mass., is special because of the origin of the game of basketball that took place there. Plus there is nothing like a comfortable seat on press row.

Bossi: Now this is a tough question. I've had an opportunity to see games in lots of incredible venues. For instance, the sold-out United Center was an awesome venue for the McDonald's All-American game last year. In terms of high school tournaments, year in and year out I have a hard time thinking of a better supported event than the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo. Often host to big and involved crowds that make games at the JQH Center fun. Here in Kansas City, I've always loved the Interscholastic League Fieldhouse and I love fieldhouses in general. When the Circle City Classic was still held at Hinkle Fieldhouse on Butler's campus, it was a favorite stop as well. The Marshall County Hoopfest and Proviso West tournament are both up there for high school events and in the summer I don't think there's anywhere out there better than Fieldhouse USA in Frisco, Texas for modern comforts. For pure atmosphere and nostalgia and memorabilia, the Spiece Fieldhouse in Ft. Wayne, Ind., would probably be at the top of my list.



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