New York City guard Sylven Landesberg brings a package of skills that not many other guards in the class of 2008 can offer. At 66, he has the ability to not only be a lethal scoring threat from the perimeter, but he can also run a team nearly as well. His ball handling and court vision are above average for a player of his size, which explains why the majority of schools recruiting him want him to run the show for their respective colleges. Landesberg is an awfully creative scorer, slithering his way through the lane when he doesnt kill you from the outside. His can kill you from beyond the three point arc, as well as from the midrange area with his jumper, making him one of the more versatile wings in the class of 2008.
Landesbergs two biggest weaknesses are his lack of strength and his presence on the defensive end, which he will tell you himself. He is a bit frail at only around 195 lbs for a player standing 6-foot-6, and is often effected once he absorbs contact in midair. On the defensive end he struggles at times guarding smaller, quicker defenders. Sylven has the length to eventually become a solid defender in the future, but must first refine his defensive fundamentals in order to do so.
Sylven is a player that draft fans need to keep their eyes on due to his complete offensive skill set, and the fact that the majority of the schools that are recruiting him are projecting him as a point guard in their offensive scheme. With improved strength and muscle mass for Landesberg, there is no reason that he will not be one of the more intriguing guard prospects in his class due to his outstanding size, scoring ability, and court vision.
Rodger Bohn: Can you give me a brief description of your game, for those out there who havent seen you play?
Landesberg: Last summer, I was more of a laid back player. I wasnt very aggressive, but this summer everything has changed. I got stronger, and Im much more aggressive now. I look to score on every single possession, whether it be myself or my teammates. Im just far more aggressive now and have a different mentality.
Rodger Bohn: What do you think separates you from the other guards the class of 2008 has to offer?
Landesberg: I would say my style of play and the way I do things on the floor. I like to get my teammates involved, I know when to pass, who to pass it to, and when to score myself. I also think the ways I can score, since I can score in so many different ways.
Rodger Bohn: What areas of your game do you feel you need to improve upon most?
Landesberg: My defense and my strength. I definitely need to get a little bigger.
Rodger Bohn: Tell me what the typical off-season day for Sylven Landesberg is like.
Landesberg: Oh wow. I wake up at 5:30 in the morning, take a couple hundred shots, then head over to a trainer named Jerry Powell. I work out with him for about two hours, then I eat breakfast. Then I go up to my school and get some more shots up, so I usually get over 1000 shots in for the day. Next I hit the weight room up with my trainer who works me out with the weights, and then I go back to Jerry Powell at night.
Rodger Bohn: Whats the latest with your recruiting situation?
Landesberg: Well, Ive cut my list of schools down. Now Im only looking at Texas, Virginia, Florida, Georgia Tech, St. Johns, and Rutgers.
Rodger Bohn: Do you have a leader at the moment?
Landesberg: No, I cant say that I have a leader right now.
Rodger Bohn: Which out of those schools have offered you?
Landesberg: All of the schools have offered.
Rodger Bohn: Have you taken visits to any schools yet?
Landesberg: No, not yet. Im looking to make some visits very soon though.
Rodger Bohn: What are the main factors in your recruitment?
Landesberg: I want to go to a school where I can come in and make a big impact right away. I dont want to sit on the bench my first year, I want to be able to play. The school I go to has to fit my style of play, as I like to run the floor and stuff.
Rodger Bohn: I thought that it was a bit odd that you are so strongly considering programs such as Rutgers, St. Johns, and Virginia that dont normally land top 30 caliber players such as yourself. What is it that those three schools have that keep you so interested?
Landesberg: Well St. Johns, theyre the local team. I have to keep them on there. Everyone is telling me to go there and bring the home team up. I love the coaching staff and everyone over there too, so thats why Im keeping them on the list. Rutgers, theyre local too and I love the coaching staff over there. Virginia would just be a real good fit for me. Theyre using a lot of players over there and I think I would fit in great with their style of play.
Rodger Bohn: Now the obvious assumption is that the only reason you are considering Rutgers and St. Johns is because they are so close to home. How big of a factor is staying close to home for you?
Landesberg: A lot of people ask me that question, but staying close to home really isnt that big of a thing for me. It doesnt matter where I play, as long as Im happy where Im at. Staying close to home is not really that big of a factor for me.
Rodger Bohn: What do you like about Texas?
Landesberg: Theyre losing a lot of bigtime guards. D.J. Augustin will be gone when I get there, most likely. A.J. Abrams will be gone too. They said that they love the way I played. Coach Barnes came down and saw me and told me that he loved the way I play. I really like the way that theyre going to use me, since Id be the main focal point of their offense. Theyre recruiting some big people in there, some really good big men for me to drop it down to and get assists. Its a big move over there. Theyre going to have a really good team.
Rodger Bohn: Tell me what makes Florida so appealing, since you told me that you prefer to play point guard and theyre going to use you as more of a wing.
Landesberg: Florida, they are the national champions. Billy Donovan came down, and I really like Billy Donovan. I like the way they run their offense, thats the main thing. They like to run the ball a lot, so thats why I kept them in mind. I like to run the ball a lot, so thats why I had to keep them up there. When youre running the ball a lot, it doesnt matter whose playing the 1, 2, or 3 because all of the guards just get it and go.
Rodger Bohn: What do you like about Georgia Tech?
Landesberg: They were pretty much the first school out of the six that I have on my list now that were recruiting me real, real hard since the beginning of my sophomore year. Paul Hewitt came down a lot of times, and Ive talked to him the most out of all the head coaches. I talk to Coach Hewitt a lot and I have a really good connection with them. I like the way that theyre going to use me a lot, since theyre going to use me the same way that Texas is going to use me.
Rodger Bohn: Were you happy with the way that Georgia Tech used Javaris Crittenton this past season? He is a big point guard, and you would likely be playing a role similar to him if you were to become a Yellow Jacket.
Landesberg: I was a big fan of him. I liked the way he played and the way Georgia Tech used him. They should have done better then they did as a team, but I liked the way they used Crittenton a lot.
Rodger Bohn: What position are you looking to play at the next level?
Landesberg: A lot of people are telling me that theyre going to use me as a point guard, so I guess Im going to be playing a lot of point.
Rodger Bohn: What schools are recruiting you as a point guard?
Landesberg: Well at Florida, I would be playing the 2 or the 3 since they have Nick Calathes coming in. Virginia and Texas both said I would be running the offense there. St. Johns said I would be running the offense, so did Georgia Tech. Im not so sure on Rutgers, but I would probably be a 2 or a 3 this year.
Rodger Bohn: How do you think youve played so far this spring on the AAU circuit?
Landesberg: So far I think Ive been doing pretty well. Weve played in three big AAU tournaments so far and I think I did well in all of them, except for Boo Williams. That was a pretty bad tournament for me.
Rodger Bohn: Why did you decide to leave the New York Panthers and play with the Metro Hawks this spring on the AAU circuit?
Landesberg: Playing with the Panthers, I wasnt playing my best basketball over there because there were a lot of things holding me back. I was playing the 3 or the 4 over there when I never play those positions. Playing with the Metro Hawks was a big change because I actually got to play the position that I will play in college, plus I got to play with another great player in Samardo (Samuels)?
Rodger Bohn: How do you like playing with an elite big man in Samardo Samuels?
Landesberg: With the Panthers, I was really hidden in the offense and I wasnt really able to show what I could do. Over here with the Metro Hawks, Im running the one, two, and three. Playing with Samardo has been great. Hes always someone to dump the ball to when Im penetrating and teams are double teaming me. I know hes going to be right there and its an easy two points every time.
Rodger Bohn: You played in ABCD the last few years, but ABCD is now a thing of the past. Will you be playing in the Reebok University camp or the Nike position camps and LeBron James All America Camp?
Landesberg: Im doing the Nike position camps and then the LeBron James All American Camp
Rodger Bohn: What are your thoughts on the NBAs age limit?
Landesberg: I think that its really stupid, its nonsense. I think that if a kid is good enough to go, he should be able to go.