So I'd say we've done all the immediate analysis we can on the Frank Haith hire. Now it's time to see how this all plays out. The next few months will provide quite a few opportunities for Haith to build some goodwill and optimism; I won't start actually worrying about his tenure until well into his first season, but he can help himself out by doing well with some upcoming deadlines.
Let's roll through some questions...
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.
When We'll Know Something: soon ... I'm thinking early next week at the latest.
Who Does Haith Sign for the 2011 Recruiting Class?
College basketball's spring period for signing letters of intent begins next Wednesday and extends to May 18. Technically you can continue to bring in players after the period ends (Linas Kleiza never signed an LOI -- he just signed a scholarship agreement well after mid-May, and he was set), but it's pretty safe to say we'll know by mid-May just how many 2011 scholarships Haith plans to use and how many he will bank. He will have up to three available to him.
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. The last time Mizzou encountered a coaching change, Mike Anderson quickly attempted to shore up the roster with a couple of JUCOs, Stefhon Hannah and Darryl Butterfield. Does Haith attempt to find a stopgap or two, or is he confident enough in the returning roster to swallow one or two scholarships for an even larger class of 2012?
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.
Beyond Porter, there are a few uncommitted (or committed to Miami) players who had Miami offers according to Rivals:
SG Bishop Daniels (6'2, 175, Raleigh, NC). Daniels committed to Miami last October, saying "This commitment was really based on me and coach Haith and the assistant coach's relationship-wise." He signed an LOI with Miami, so it would be at least a little bit trickier getting him here if he wanted to follow Haith. We'll see.
SG Chris Colvin (6'3, Chicago, IL). A former four-star recruit from Chicago, Colvin was last seen missing a ton of shots and contributing very little for Iowa State in 2009-10. He has quite a few offers after a year at Palm Beach C.C. that saw him barely miss anything (54% on 3-pointers, 55% overall). I was thoroughly unimpressed with Colvin when he was at ISU, but maybe that was just the Greg McDermott effect.
C Yvan Ngirabakunzi (6'10, 195, Piney Woods, MS). Yvan committed to Miami a long time ago, then decided he committed too quickly and reopened his recruitment. He only lists Miami as an offer, and Rivals hasn't written about him since November, so who knows where this guy stands at the moment.
F Braeden Anderson (6'8, 225, Wilbraham and Monson Academy). It appears the odds are good that Mizzou gets a visit from Anderson in the coming weeks. Haith was recruiting Anderson at Miami, and the prep star appears to have Memphis and Mizzou atop his list for now.
Beyond these four? Who knows. But we'll probably begin hearing rumors of visits and offers in the next week or two.
When We'll Know Something: Give it another week and a half to two weeks. Porter will visit soon, and we'll get a decent idea of who else Haith is approaching.
How Many Presseys Are on the Roster Next Year?
Technically, you can decide to transfer at any time. As Larry Drew II proved, you can do it in the middle of conference play if you want. But I think the most likely time to announce a transfer would be sometime between now and the end of the spring semester, which is, I believe, May 13. We really don't know how interested Phil or Matt Pressey (if Matt is even eligible for a transfer ... I'm still unclear about that) is in transferring; we've just been making assumptions. They're saying all the right things right now.
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.
When We'll Know Something: I'll say early-May.
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.
When We'll Know Something: Probably early-May as well.
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.
When We'll Know Something: I guess I already answered this one, eh? We'll probably have a very good idea of who Mizzou is targeting by June, and there will probably be at least one commitment on the board by the end of July.