The Future of Mizzou Basketball

Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

A look at how the Mizzou Basketball roster is taking shape for this season and future ones.

Consider this your Sunday Live Thread.

With this week's commitment of power forward Johnathan Williams III, we are starting to see how the next few years' worth of Missouri rosters will take shape. I felt it would be worth the time on this Bye Week Sunday to do a little projecting.

2012-13

We should know this roster pretty well by now.

Backcourt
Phil Pressey (Jr.)
Mike Dixon (Sr.)
Earnest Ross (Jr.)
Keion Bell (Sr.)
Jabari Brown (So.)
Negus Webster-Chan (Fr.)
Dominique Bull (Fr.)

Frontcourt
Laurence Bowers (Sr.)
Alex Oriakhi (Sr.)
Tony Criswell (Jr.)
Stefan Jankovic (Fr.)
Ryan Rosburg (Fr.)
Danny Feldmann (So.)

This Mizzou team is so much bigger than last year's. One could see the offense getting bogged down from time to time if the 3-pointers aren't falling, but the defense should be sturdy. Laurence Bowers won't have to play the center position very much with Oriakhi, Criswell and either Jankovic or Rosburg (I figure one will make the rotation for sure), and Mizzou's got frontcourt depth it could have only dreamed of last year. Perimeter defense could still be an issue, but there are certainly candidates who could help with its improvement. We have heard Frank Haith say multiple times how important it is that Keion Bell become the backcourt's lockdown defender, and that's mostly because Pressey and Dixon just aren't big or strong enough to do it, I think

Departing
Dixon, Bowers, Oriakhi, Bell

Possibly Departing
Pressey

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Pressey might test the draft waters after this year. This is the typical "good news, bad news" tidbit. If he leaves, it would hurt for 2013-14, but it probably means had an incredible 2012-13 season.

2013-14

Incoming
Jordan Clarkson (junior guard, Tulsa transfer)
Johnathan Williams III (four-star freshman power forward)
Wesley Clark (four-star freshman guard)
Travis Jorgenson (three-star freshman guard)
Up to two others

Right now, 12 of 13 scholarships are accounted for; Mizzou could sign one more in the fall signing period -- a quick perusal of the Rivals.com offer list shows two major candidates for the spot: Indiana power forward Torren Jones (No. 115 player in the class) and, potentially, lanky junior college small forward Jamal Jones. Torren Jones visited this weekend and is presumably the No. 1 target. UPDATE: Torren Jones committed on Sunday. So there you go.

(And, of course, if Pressey leaves for the pros, a fifth scholarship will open up this spring, one that might be filled by a junior college transfer or transfer transfer.)

Backcourt
Phil Pressey * (Sr.)
Earnest Ross (Sr.)
Jabari Brown (Jr.)
Jordan Clarkson (Jr.)
Negus Webster-Chan (So.)
Dominique Bull (So.)
Wesley Clark (Fr.)
Travis Jorgenson (Fr.)

Frontcourt
Tony Criswell (Sr.)
Stefan Jankovic (So.)
Ryan Rosburg (So.)
Johnathan Williams III (Fr.)
Danny Feldmann (Jr.)
Torren Jones (Fr.)

Without Pressey, this team could be in an awkward spot at point guard considering Dixon is also gone. I think Jordan Clarkson could play PG, but a good portion of the playing time would likely go to either or both freshmen, which is at least a little bit alarming.

The strength of this team could come in the frontcourt. Williams will be expected to produce at a decent level immediately, and if either Jankovic or Rosburg are ready to take a nice step forward, Mizzou will have some nice, big options. And with Ross and Brown on the perimeter, Mizzou will be able to score some points. The 2012-13 team will be quite a bit bigger than the 2011-12 team, and the 2013-14 team will be even bigger.

Departing
Pressey (if he hasn't already), Ross, Criswell, Brown?

I mention Brown here simply because I am type-casting. Brown is a former five-star recruit, and if he experiences any level of success at all, he will probably look to test the pro waters considering he'll be three years removed from high school.

2014-15

As you would expect, the projections get a little blurrier now.

Incoming
Anton Beard (four-star freshman point guard)
Up to four others

Beard is Mizzou's first 2014 commitment, but he could be joined by others relatively soon. Guard Devin Booker, Melvin's son, is the No. 26 player in the class according to Rivals; he attended Mizzou Madness, and the rumor is that Mizzou and Michigan are his favorites. For obvious (read: legacy) reasons, it is easy to feel confident about Mizzou eventually locking him up. It would be exciting to bring in Melvin Booker's son even if he weren't a Top 30 player. That he is is a lovely bonus.

Mizzou's offer list is full of four- and five-star athletes at this point. We'll take a really rough stab at a potential class, but specifics aren't really what this is about at this point.

Backcourt
Jabari Brown? (Sr.)
Negus Webster-Chan (Jr.)
Dominique Bull (Jr.)
Wesley Clark (So.)
Travis Jorgenson (So.)
Anton Beard (Fr.)
??? (Devin Booker?)
??? (Larry Austin, four-star point guard from Springfield, IL?)

Frontcourt
Stefan Jankovic (Jr.)
Ryan Rosburg (Jr.)
Johnathan Williams III (So.)
Torren Jones (So.)
??? (Jordan Barnett, three-star forward from St. Louis?)
Danny Feldmann (Sr.)

There are quite a few young point guard candidates at this point, but we'll see where the scoring comes from in the backcourt. Again, as long as Williams and either Jankovic or Rosburg are ready to contribute, the front court could be a strength here.

I still don't know what my expectations are for this season -- with so many new pieces, I do think this is a team likely to be a lot better in February than November (though the Europe trip was incredibly well-timed because of the new pieces) -- but it is interesting to see how the pieces are coming together for future Mizzou squads. Mizzou is evidently going to keep getting bigger and bigger, the defense will continue to improve, and the offense ... is uncertain. Should be fun.

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