A lot of recent activity recently, let's dive right in with some good news/bad news.
The Good News:
- This is going to be a short section, but only because most of the "good" news better qualifies as just "news", so I'll talk about it below.
- Since our last "Update" Antonio Blakeney decommitted from Louisville and now seems have a final three of LSU, Mizzou and Kentucky. More below.
- Mizzou has been mentioned as a possible destination for 2014 5-star SG Jaquon Lyle, from Huntington Prep, who committed to Oregon but was not accepted into school, and is now at IMG Academy in Florida. Sort of a weird situation, but he's a very good player.
- Okay, I'm going to rattle off the players that had Mizzou offers that went elsewhere, like a bandaid, just rip it off.
- 2015 PF Juwan Morgan, from Waynesville, committed to Indiana.
- 2015 SG Shake Milton, from Oklahoma, committed to SMU.
- 2015 SF Dwayne Bacon from Oak Hill, committed to Florida State.
- 2015 CG CJ Williamson (did not have a Mizzou offer, but serious interest) from Florida, committed to Texas Tech.
- 2015 SF Kaiser Gates from Georgia, committed to Xavier.
- 2016 SG Kyle Guy, from Indiana, committed to Virginia.
The Georgia football game certainly wasn't pretty on the field, but the sidelines looked pretty good as Mizzou Hoops hosted a wealth of big time recruits. After that pretty big weekend in Columbia, I thought it would be a good time to go over the recruiting picture for Mizzou basketball, with some updates on the guys who were in town. Starting with...
Reports came out last week that Bryant had eliminated Missouri, and then that report was backtracked. Here's the situation on Bryant: Bryant grew up in Rochester, NY and his mother is still there. She wants him to go to Syracuse. The report from Adam Zagoria came from his mother, and she wants to eliminate Missouri because of the distance. There is still room for Mizzou, however. Thomas obviously feels comfortable with his former coach, the rest of the staff needs to do enough to convince his mother to let Thomas make the decision. There is still interest in Indiana from Thomas as well. I'm dropping Mizzou's chances significantly, because while the report turned out to not be entirely accurate, it also wasn't without merit. Mizzou is still solidly in the picture, but the footing is a little worse than before. Since his visit to Indiana, Bryant has stated he'll likely wait for the spring, and may still take a couple visits beyond the top 3. So no telling at this point.
Now: 35% (Syracuse 45%, Indiana 20%)
The latest on Blakeney is that the visit with Missouri went really well. He's always like Mizzou, and has a close relationship with Tim Fuller. There is an interesting situation with Blakeney though. Most think that he has a final 3 of Mizzou, LSU and Kentucky. But Kentucky seems to favor Isaiah Briscoe and Malik Newman and apparently may only have room to take 2 of the three. The longer it draws out, the tougher it gets for Mizzou on this one. I would think the best case scenario is that Blakeney takes his visits to UK and LSU and decides that he wants to go to Mizzou. I think at this point Mizzou has a slight lead, because as I said, individually Blakeney really likes Mizzou and is close with Coach Fuller. That could change and change in a hurry. At this point he's the most likely of the big three to land at Mizzou, but still has visits to LSU and Kentucky forthcoming.
Now: 40% (LSU 30%, Kentucky 30%)
Briscoe took a visit to St. Johns this past weekend, and I think there is a layer of loyalty there because of the New York roots. Lots of rumors floated out that Briscoe might commit to St. Johns, but I just don't see him pulling that trigger despite the glowing reviews that his dad offered in the press about SJU. I think Briscoe is headed to Kentucky. I do think that Missouri improved their chances with him over the weekend, but not enough to pull ahead of the Big Blue. UConn is closer to home and equally as powerful on a national scale as Kentucky, so I think they're likely even (at least) with Missouri. The best case scenario for the Tigers is that Blakeney commits to Mizzou, and immediately starts to recruit his friend to play with him in Missouri. It's a long shot though.
Will Be Cutting My List To 3 Saturday !!— The Boogie CBG (@_IsaiahBriscoe) October 21, 2014
Now: 20% (Kentucky 40%, St. Johns 30%, UConn 10%)
Kapita didn't make the trip as originally expected. That's not a necessarily a bad thing for Missouri. They're still in good shape with him and that's welcome considering the Bryant news. It looks like Kapita will be out soon on an official visit, but this weekend he's heading to Memphis who is a new player for his services. Florida has been rumored to be one of the leaders, along with Kansas. West Virginia is said to be in the hunt along with Texas, but neither seem to have Kapita's attention. Missouri and Florida appear to be the leaders at this stage. Kapita is a prospect whose ranking has rocketed up a bit over the summer, and a lot of the big guys haven't come knocking just yet, but that could still happen as more chips fall, but it's still easy to like Mizzou's chances.
Now: 40% (Florida 30%, Kansas 20%, Memphis 10%)
Not a lot has changed with Tatum, it might be easy to give Mizzou a slight bump because Tatum was said to have a really good and exciting trip in Columbia. I don't want to get anyones hopes up because it's still a very long road and EVERYBODY is recruiting Tatum. I have a hard time seeing seeing Tatum head to Arizona, UConn, UNC or Wake Forest. He seems to want to be closer. I might be willing to give Illinois and Duke a switch, but I think the Blue Devils have been on Tatum very hard, so its easy to see him heading that way. I hear his mom prefers KU, I hear his dad prefers SLU, and I hear that Tatum is still wide open, and yet... Kentucky.
Now: 15% (Kansas 20%, Kentucky 20%, SLU 15%, Duke 15%, Illinois 5%, Wake Forest 2.5%, UNC 2.5%, UConn 2.5%, Arizona 2.5%)
With all the 2016's it's going to be the same story. It's a LONG road. Simmons has been on an unofficial visit to Ohio State, and is planning on coming to Mizzou for one despite missing the last go around. He'll also be checking out Kansas, and Syracuse is paying a visit soon. That's all that seems to be planned at this time. He's sure to be going other places, but not much is known yet. Kansas and Kentucky are thought to be the front runners, but honestly, it's impossible to know at this point. Simmons and his dad appear to be receptive to the Tim Fuller and Mizzou message, so I like their chances, but it's still a long way up. For now this is definitely in serious flux, but the Tigers are in the middle of it.
Now: 20% (Kansas 30%, Kentucky 30%, Duke 20%)
Bridges was said to have had great trip on his recent visit, and having already been recruited by Rob Fulford once it looks like Mizzou has vaulted themselves along with his home state school Michigan State into the favorites position. I still think Michigan State is a slight leader, but the next 8-12 months should be interesting for his services. Kansas has offered, so has Indiana, and I expect his recruitment to pick up in the spring as teams get more used to his skill set. Hopefully Mizzou can hold onto their position towards the front.
Now: 40% (Michigan State 45%, Kansas 15%)
Jones picked up an offer on his unofficial visit to Mizzou, and reportedly was wowed during his trip. All good things for the newest member of Huntington Prep to be on the Tigers radar. He's unofficially visited several schools, including Maryland and Virginia, who are also thought to be in the lead for Jones. There's still a long way to go, but a big step is getting him on campus and showing him your vision, and hoping the student came away impressed, and that happened. He's since received an offer from Indiana, so you can probably add them into the odds, but I'll give Mizzou a bump. At this point there aren't many that see Mizzou as a player for his services, but I think those people are discounting Fulford and the Huntington connection.
Now: 40% (Virginia 40%, Maryland 20%)
I must have been in a good mood the last time I gave the odds for Tyler Cook. I think Mizzou is in good position, and I think he had a good trip, but 50% is way too high for a 2016. Being the local school is good, showing him that he's a valuable recruit is good, but it's still a long road and for a player like Cook it's just getting going.
Now: 25% (Kansas 25%, Florida 20%, Michigan 15%, UConn 15%)
You have to like where Missouri stands at this point. It's not that it's going to be easy to keep him in Columbia. In fact he'll be a hot commodity, and already is. But groundwork is really important in recruiting. And Mizzou has got the time to lay the groundwork in showing that he is a Tiger and belongs in Columbia.
Who He Is: Vick is a bit of a late riser. A high octane athlete with a developing jump shot, Vick is the kind of guy that could be very high impact over 4 years, but isn't quite as polished as a lot of other wings in the class. Vick projects more at the shooting guard, but has the body that could develop into a solid small forward. He has amazing bounce of the floor and can be scary in transition.
How Mizzou Is In The Picture: A bit late, but in the picture none-the-less. Rob Fulford kept an eye on him in the summer, as he played for Team Thad, which is a prominent Memphis AAU team. Recently Kim Anderson made a trip to Memphis to watch him play, and to put the bug in his ear that Mizzou was interested, but that he's not the top priority at this point.
Is There A Chance?: It will be interesting to see how long Vick holds out on a commitment to even see if Mizzou will be around with an offer at that point. They have not offered as of yet, but are keeping a close eye in case a guy like Blakeney or Briscoe don't work out. At this point, I'm leaning towards Mizzou getting Blakeney and if that happens, there isn't a need for a guy like Vick. But the longer Blakeney holds out the harder its going to be for Mizzou to feel Vick in.
Who He Is: Um. He's big. He's got soft hands. He's a load undernearth and around the basket.
How Mizzou Is In The Picture: I'm not sure to be honest. There is really very little evidence that Mizzou is in the picture other than Herard going to Late Night at the Phog at Kansas, and when interviewed by the Kansas reporter at Rivals, he told him that he had a Mizzou offer. So I'm going with it.
Is There A Chance?: Heard is a 2016 top 50 player, so it would make sense that Mizzou would throw their hat in the ring. But I asked Brian Austin at PowerMizzou about Herard and he barely knew who he was, much less knew whether or not he was actually on Mizzou's radar. So I'm going to go with the odds being not very good that he ends up a Tiger.
Who He Is: Rafus is already a 4-star prospect in the 2017 class. He's a smooth lefty with a nice jumpshot and the ability to take the ball off the bounce. When you can do that at 6 foot 8 as a sophomore, you're probably going to be pretty good. And he's pretty good, with the ability to get scary good.
How Mizzou Is In The Picture: Fulford was in the area and was talking to Rafus about coming to Huntington before taking the job at Mizzou. So there is a small connection. Mizzou offered a few weeks ago, so they're trying to get in early.
Is There A Chance?: It's still a long way off, but it's always a good sign when you get in early and make that offer. Mizzou offered last month, and has since been joined by UCLA, UConn, and Kansas State with offering this kid. He's bound for 5-star status with his ability to play on the wing with his size, so the recruiting process is going to be a long one, and expect all the blue bloods to come knocking before it's said and done.
So with that said, here is where we are. Mizzou has missed out on a lot of guys, but to be honest, that's not to be unexpected with a first year head coach. Most of recruiting is laying the groundwork, and Mizzou is really just getting started in that avenue. However, there is still an opportunity to make a huge impression. Antonio Blakeney still has LSU and Kentucky to visit, but Mizzou coaches are confident that they've done enough to secure the 5-star Combo Guard. With Briscoe trimming his list to 3 Saturday, we'll find out if we can move on from Briscoe or hold out hope for another few weeks, or until whenever he makes up his mind. I personally don't like the trends with Briscoe but you have to love Mizzou making that big of an impression in that short of a period. That is a good omen for things to come, but does it help in the immediate? Not much.
I like Mizzou's chances to reel in Blakeney, I'm waning on their chance to reel in Bryant. I don't think they get Briscoe. I think it will get interesting if they do not get Bryant, because I think they need a big more than anything with this class.