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Five questions for the month of July

The month of July is very busy in the recruiting world. July 6 marks the beginning of the evaluation period in which coaches flock to various summer events to catch their top targets in action. Some of the best prospects in the country also play in many of the biggest events of the summer like the Nike Peach Jam and begin to figure out what schools they will visit in August. Take a look below to check out some of our biggest questions that only the month of July could answer.

Can Team Takeover (D.C.) remain undefeated?

One of the biggest storylines throughout the AAU circuit so far this summer has been the emergence of Team Takeover (D.C.) as the best squad in the country. They are undefeated through the first few months of their schedule which includes tournament championships at both the Pitt Jam Fest and the Southern Invitational.

However, their most impressive accomplishment is their 15-0 record in the Nike EYBL. In the first three sessions of the Nike EYBL, Team Takeover defeated other top teams in the country including the Oakland Soldiers (CA) that features stars such as class of 2012 power forward Brandon Ashley (#4) and class of 2013 power forward Aaron Gordon (Watch List). The biggest reason for Team Takeover’s success has been their ability to play as a team and playing to win rather than for individual success.

Although class of 2013 center BeeJay Anya is in the top five in blocks at the Nike EYBL, their squad measures more favorably in team statistics as they are in the top ten in points per game, defensive field goal percentage and rebounding among others categories. Team Takeover has no prospects in our top 50 in the class of 2012 and head coach Keith Stevens has doen an excellent job making sure his guys plays within themselves. They have a tough test coming up at the Nike Peach Jam where they may have to face other elite squads like BABC (MA) and Memphis YOMCA (TN) if they want to win the Nike EYBL for the second straight year.

Can John Calipari reel in the best recruiting class in the country?

Will Kentucky start landing recruits?

Kentucky has had the best recruiting class in the country for the past three years but enters the month of July without a single commitment. Although Wildcat fans shouldn’t get too worried, if you look at some of the top prospects in the class of 2012 who have a narrowed down list Kentucky doesn’t have a great shot at too many of them.

Of our top 20 prospects, that players that Kentucky looks to have the best chance of landing are center DaJuan Coleman (#5), shooting guard Ricardo Ledo (#9), power forward Perry Ellis (#10) and shooting guard Archie Goodwin (#19). The bad news for Wildcat fans is that Coleman could very easily go to Syracuse over Kentucky, Ellis seems to really like Kansas and Goodwin hasn’t even made a list of top ten schools. However, the good news is that Kentucky looks to be in good shape with Ledo, a source close to the situation says they think Kentucky is in Ellis’ top three and Goodwin named the Wildcats as one of the schools recruiting him the hardest.

Remember that these are just the guys in our top 20 and that emerging prospects like power forward Anthony Bennett could become top targets for Wildcat head coach John Calipari. We’ll probably have a better idea by the middle of July of who Calipari’s top targets are based on who he goes to see first. Based on the way things stand now, it doesn’t look like Kentucky will have the best recruiting class in the country for the fourth straight year.

Shabazz Muhammad and Andre Drummond will battle it out for the number one spot in July.

Who’s number one?

Center Andre Drummond (#1) has long held the title as the best player in the class of 2012. However, between his various struggles throughout the summer and small forward Shabazz Muhammad‘s (#3) great performance after great performance, it looks as though Muhammad has overtaken Drummond for the number one spot.

Even though Muhammad is already an elite slasher who excels in transition, he somehow seems to be getting even better and is unstoppable when he drives to the basket and fearlessly attacks the rim in transition. He is also a phenomenal athlete who is very strong and seemingly scores at will whenever he steps onto the court. However, what’s really taking his game to the next level is his improving jump shot that people must now defend.

Although Drummond has had some sore spots this summer such as the NBPA Top 100 Camp, he has also starred at various events including the Pangos All-American Camp where he got the best of class of 2012 center Isaiah Austin (#2 — Baylor). Drummond is simply a fantastic player with an unbelievably high ceiling but his inconsistency and tendency to drift to the perimeter get in the way of him making that potential a reality.

Mitch McGary has been a breakout player so far this summer. (Daryl Paunil)

Can the breakout players keep it up?

The AAU circuit has given numerous players the platform to breakout onto the scene and the class of 2012 has not disappointed so far. Guys like power forwards Mitch McGary and Anthony Bennett have gone from non-top-50 prospects to elite players because of their consistently great performances. However, the question is can they keep it up?

When it comes down to prospects like McGary, it’s highly likely that they’ll continue their success because a large part of their game is built around the tremendous motor and clear passion for the game. It’s more difficult to continue to improve your basketball skills than it is to keep up your mentality and desire.

Marcus Paige and Kevin Ferrell are two of the best senior point guards. (Daryl Paunil)

Will class of 2012 point guards prove me right or make me look like an idiot?

I made my case last week that the class of 2012 point guards are underrated… now I hope they prove me right in July. Although I pointed out the great, consistent, performances lately by guys like Marcus Paige (#16 — North Carolina) and Kevin Ferrell (#18 — Indiana), I didn’t discuss the recent emergence of point guard Gabe York who was a standout at the NBPA Top 100 Camp. York has proven that he is capable of playing at a high level against outstanding competition but now the question is can he keep it up with numerous college coaches watching him? Make sure you check back in August to see the answers of these questions and follow me on Twitter to get the latest updates.

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