Frank Haith: How's It Going? (April 14 Edition)

As we continue to deal with the first major coaching change of the Rock M Nation era, I figure the best plan of action is to periodically revisit last week's "What Happens Now?" post with the updates that have recently come about.  And we've had plenty of those in the last two days, eh?

Who Ends Up on Haith's Coaching Staff?

This is still the first order of business.  We've heard plenty of rumors about Jeff Capel and random folks from the Missouri area, but nothing is official yet (though it does appear that Capel was nothing but a rumor and almost certainly won't come here).  Who does Haith bring along from his Miami staff?  How much does he try to cater to locals by either bringing in a local coach or taking a chance on a former Mizzou player like Anthony Peeler?  Are the Chris Carrawell rumors legitimate (and if so, as Gabe Dearmond mentioned yesterday, how does Carrawell deal with the "So you were too good to play for Missouri, but you think it's alright for my son?" issue)?  Clearly this is the first area in which we should soon have news.

It wasn't the first area in which we had news, but the news did come pretty quickly.  We know who will be filling a majority of the roles on Haith's staff, and the names are intriguing.  It is probably foolish to jump to conclusions about a staff that has yet to actually completely fill their Columbia offices, but it's easy to like what we see so far.  In theory, you want a "chief recruiter" assistant and an "X's and O's" assistant, and it's clear who will be serving those roles.

First, the recruiter: Tim Fuller brings to the table a big-time recruiting reputation.  He's connected to Nike, he's connected to Chris Paul ... and more importantly, he's significantly connected to Frank Haith.  As we'll see below, he's got some intriguing connections to certain recruits as well.

Now, the X's and O's guy: Ernie Nestor (who, coincidentally, looks exactly like an Ernie Nestor) has coached everywhere from Cal to Wake Forest to Penn State.  He was an assistant for Dave Odom at Wake Forest during the Tim Duncan era, he led George Mason to their first ever NCAA Tournament, and he led Elon to their first ever winning season at the D1 level.  And he had both Haith and Fuller on his Elon staff.

Oh yeah, and Haith hired a strength and conditioning coach (Todor Pandov) with an awesomely Eastern-European name.  No complaints whatsoever about that.

Who Does Haith Sign for the 2011 Recruiting Class?

I'm curious how Haith will choose to use this spring signing period.  Clearly Otto Porter is the No. 1 target, but even if he lands Porter, I'm not sure what he does with the other two scholarships.  As I've mentioned before, Haith did not target JUCOs much at Miami -- a quick perusal of Miami's offer lists on Rivals suggests that less than five of the 69 players receiving offers in the last three classes were JUCO players.  ...  Really, though, in terms of opportunities for good will, landing Otto Porter is Major Opportunity No. 1.  Haith is fighting a somewhat uphill battle -- Kansas and Georgetown have both been after him for quite a while, and Haith just walked in the door -- but Mizzou still has a pretty good chance to land the alleged homebody.  I think Porter will give Haith every chance in the world to impress him because I think Mizzou has always been his No. 1 choice ... but whether we want to admit it or not, playing for Bill Self (or John Thompson III) is still a draw, and Mizzou fans should at least prepare themselves for the thought that Porter could become a Jayhawk or a Hoya.

Correction: by the time I wrote this, it appears that Haith had already been told in no uncertain terms that the Porters were not going to give him a chance.  When Mike Anderson (and the relationship he had been building with the Porters) left Columbia, so did Mizzou's chances of signing Otto Porter.  Which ... well ... it is what it is.  He chose to pursue a relationship that John Thompson III had been building for a very long time, and it's hard to blame him for that.  It isn't a good thing for Mizzou, but it's hard to blame Porter for it.

(Meanwhile, another potential target, prep big man Braeden Anderson, signed with Kansas.)

Where do we go from here?  Honestly, I'm not sure.  We know that Louisville wing Tony Kimbro worked out for Haith last week, but that's really about all we've heard.  We have to figure that Haith will approach at least one big man, and there have been rumblings of transfers as well, but ... nothing has advanced beyond "random rumor" status yet.  It's almost a bit startling that we don't know much, but Haith clearly fits Alden's line of thinking in one way: he doesn't reveal much until it's time to do so (aside from texting Mike Dearmond about Otto Porter, anyway).  He apparently knew he was hiring Fuller and Nestor for quite a while but didn't exactly rush to spread that story, and I'm assuming he probably knows who he's going after whether anybody else does or not.  We just get to sit back and wait for news.  We're not very good at that as a whole ... but that's on us, not him.

How Many Presseys Are on the Roster Next Year?

Honestly, I know this is the kiss of death, but I'm feeling pretty good about this one.  (My opinion is worth less than nothing, of course; I previewed eleventy billion coaches, and Haith wasn't one of them ... I previewed half the country as a potential NCAA Tournament opponent for Mizzou, and Cincinnati wasn't one of the teams I considered.)  If Matt can't transfer and maintain eligibility, then obviously he stays ... and if that's the case, then I think Flip stays for next season.  If next season goes poorly, maybe he transfers after that ... who knows ... but I feel decent about his chances of being on next year's squad.  If he does transfer, then life goes on.

I maintain this view until I hear otherwise.  I'll say this much, though: if either or both Presseys are considering transferring, they've got a couple of great poker faces.  They're always seen with other teammates, and they interact with Kim English and other teammates on Twitter all the time.  Maybe Flip and/or Matt transfer, but they're not showing even the slightest hint about that right now.

Do Those Testing the Waters Return?

The deadline for removing your name from NBA Draft consideration is May 8.  Right now, Kim English and Laurence Bowers have thrown their names into the hopper, and the rumor was that Ricardo Ratliffe would do the same.  Marcus Denmon might as well.  I expect all four to end up in Mizzou uniforms next year until I hear otherwise, but as mentioned before ... there is something of a tradition of Mizzou players making an unexpected leap to the pros following a coaching change -- Albert White in 1999, Thomas Gardner in 2006.  Just from a tools/athleticism perspective, I think Bowers is the most likely to stay declared ... but he still isn't very likely.

Again, I maintain this view until I hear otherwise.  In both football and basketball, Mizzou has done a solid job of helping their players get the evaluations they need/want to have, and I assume it's no different with English and Bowers.  Those evaluations are not going to tell English/Bowers that they are first-round caliber picks, and therefore I assume both players will be back.

How and When Does the 2012 Recruiting Class Begin Taking Shape?

Early signing period begins on November 9, so Haith obviously has a while on this one.  I think there are two spans of time that will be very interesting: July and September.  AAU kicks up in June, I believe, and with as many scholarships as Haith will have to give, I would be quite surprised if Mizzou starts August with zero commitments.  In September, the official visits kick in with full force, and I assume a majority of the fall commits will roll in between mid-September and mid-October.

The timetable hasn't changed, but now that we've got the makings of a staff, we should start seeing a decent Class of 2012 targets list at Rivals in the next month or so.  Obviously the name that has Mizzou fans buzzing right now is that of Rodney Purvis, the five-star point guard and Louisville commit for whom Tim Fuller was allegedly the primary recruiter.  He told a reporter yesterday that he was still committed to Louisville, and I have to figure the odds of swaying him aren't just amazing, but I also have to figure that Fuller will try.  The recruiting ceiling is quite high with a Haith-Fuller duo, and I'm quite interested in who they might be able to land.

The biggest obstacle with the 2012 class is timing.  This past season, the state of Missouri produced a rather insane amount of in-state talent in guys like Brad Beal, Ben McLemore and Otto Porter.  Mizzou landed none of them.  Now, Haith enters a situation in which he will be divvying out up to ten scholarships in the next 12 months ... and there are almost no D1-caliber Missouri athletes who might receive them.  Obviously the well is now dry for the class of 2011, but it's already almost dry for the Class of 2012 as well.  The one sure-fire prospect in the state -- Cardinal Ritter's Cameron Biedscheid -- is committed to Notre Dame; maybe he gives Haith and company a look, but even then, it's only one player.  The only other players in the state to whom Rivals has assigned star ratings so far are Dorial Green-Beckham, the five-star receiver who almost certainly won't be playing basketball, and McCluer North forward Jordan Granger, who had an offer from the last Arkansas staff and has offers from a host of mid-majors (SLU, Missouri State, Tulsa, Detroit, etc.).  That's pretty much it.

In a way, this is exactly the opposite problem that Mike Anderson inherited when he came to Mizzou.  After addressing some immediate needs with JUCOs, he entered his first full year of recruiting with only one scholarship to give (it went to Justin Safford).  With Haith, he has all the schollies in the world ... and really no local kid to whom he can give them.  The huge 2012 class will be made up mostly of non-locals, that much we know.

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