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Catching Up On Mizzou Basketball Recruiting, 2016 edition

Mizzou has been active in sending out quite a few offers to some pretty impressive 2016 players, let's see who they've offered.

First let's dive in with a quick update to the 2015 class. Mizzou has sent out a few more offers since our last post on the topic and actually signed one of the players in Montaque Gill-Caesar. So that adjusted the board a bit. As did the dismissal of Torren Jones because it opens up a scholarship that you weren't counting on being open. So let's do a bit of good news bad news on the 2015s.

The Good News:

  • Jimmy Whitt (4-star Combo Guard from Columbia, MO) trimmed his list to 5 and Mizzou made the cut. He's taking his 5 official visits to: Marquette (Sept 5), Illinois (Sept 13), SMU (Sept 19), Arkansas (Oct 10) and Mizzou (Oct 25). So Mizzou will get a chance to close.
  • Thomas Bryant (4-star Center from Huntington Prep) set up 4 official visits, one being Mizzou on October 11th. Mizzou and Syracuse are thought to be the leaders for Bryant, with Kansas and Ohio State in the mix as well.
  • Antonio Blakeney (5-star Combo Guard from Orlando, FL) has further trimmed his list and Mizzou is still in the running. Rumors are circling that Louisville, LSU and Mizzou are in his top three, although Blakeney has yet to mention anything less than his top 7 or announce any official visits. Another notch in favor of Mizzou? Donovan Mitchell, another 5-star combo guard, committed to Louisville August 9th.
  • Juwan Morgan (4-star PF from Waynesville, MO) has trimmed his final list to 7 with Mizzou amongst the finalist. He's planning official visits to Indiana, Creighton, Washington and Vanderbilt. Morgan and Shake Milton (4-star SG from Oklahoma) both visited unofficially this past weekend(they're AAU Teammates for MoKan Elite), with Morgan inferring that Mizzou could get his 5th official visit.
  • It was also noted by 247Sports that Kaiser Gates (4-star SF from Alpharetta, GA) is planning at least two official visits to Missouri and Xavier, so it would appear that the offer he received while Frank Haith was here still stands. And by all reports we are still in good standing with Kaiser, who would add to our list of all name team wing players with Cam and MGC.

And the Bad News:

  • Stephen Zimmerman (5-star C from Las Vegas) trimmed his list to 5 and Mizzou did not make the cut. His 5? Kansas, UNC, UCLA, Kentucky and Arizona. Blue Blood central.
  • Alex Owens (3-star PF from Orlando) verbally committed to Providence. Mizzou was in his top three. I don't think he was high enough on Mizzou's list for him to commit to us at this point though.
  • And as I mentioned above, Shake Milton was recently on an unofficial visit to Missouri. He had previously trimmed his list to 4 and Mizzou was not on that list. Indiana, Oklahoma, SMU and Illinois did make it. We'll see shortly if Mizzou was able to get themselves back on the list with a positive unofficial visit.
  • OG Anunoby has received offers from Indiana, Ole Miss, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Kansas State. It would appear that he is getting farther away from a backup plan with major offers like that. If Mizzou doesn't offer before the fall signing period, I would doubt they can keep him in state.

Not related to "good new, bad news" as it's just news is the fact that Mizzou offered 2015 5-star and 22nd ranked Small Forward Dwayne Bacon of Oak Hill. Bacon is a very good athlete with great range on his jump shot. Florida State is thought to be the leader, and he's looking to trim his list soon, so nice of Mizzou to get in quickly and quietly.

Some highlights of Bacon...

The move to offer Bacon preceded, by a few days, the dismissal of Torren Jones. Mizzou did a lot of offering during and immediately after the July evaluation period and then things went dormant. Suddenly another offer goes out? I think they knew they were going to have that third scholarship available and offered their next top guy to NOT have an offer at that point.

Also on the new offer front is Kevin Puryear, a 3-star PF from Blue Springs South HS. Puryear is 6-7 and 225 lbs already, he's got a smooth looking left handed jump shot for a guy that big and seems to move well enough to be effective in and around the paint. He plays on the same AAU team (KC Run GMC) as Jimmy Whitt and Drew Lock. Here's a highlight video of the big guy...

As with the first go around on the recruiting cycle, I thought we could see where Mizzou is planting seeds for their incoming class for 2016. These are all players who are going to be Juniors in High School (and guys that were barely born in the 1990s), so we're two years out, but really just about a year from really seeing who is going to consider Mizzou.

The 2016 class is a loaded one, with many analysts saying that the top 6-7 players in the 2016 class would challenge for the top overall spot in 2015. And these are all the guys currently with a Mizzou offer.

Thon Maker, 7-0 210 lb Center, Carlisle School, Martinsville, VA

Who he is: Maker is the #3 ranked player in the Rivals150 and a 5-star center who's family became refugees from Sudan and immigrated to Australia before ending up in America because, well, because Thon is pretty good at the bouncy squeaky hoops. Maker is a gazelle that's 7 feet tall. He's got soft hands and he can run and jump. If you watch his highlight tape you immediately think: KEVIN GARNETT REINCARNATED... except Garnett is still alive, and that's just a highlight tape. The truth is that Maker has the ability to be the next Garnett, but he's not the player Garnett was at this age. His potential is absolutely through the roof.

How Mizzou is in the picture: I think Rob Fulford with some Tim Fuller thrown in for good measure. Mizzou is obviously one of about 75 schools to offer a scholarship but Fulford already had a good relationship with Maker and his American guardian, and Fuller being from the Virginia area has been in touch with Maker, and his younger brother (Matur Maker) who is pretty good too.

Is there a chance: He's already been on an unofficial visit to Mizzou, so I'd say yes, but in that Dumb and Dumber "So you're saying there's a chance" kind of way. There was talk about him reclassifying to 2015 but that seems to be dying down a bit. Maker is a bright kid who could reclassify, but his handlers think that the extra time to develop his game and put on some weight would help him. Mizzou is on a long list of suitors at this point so the odds aren't good, but there's time to improve them.

Jayson Tatum, 6-8 195 lb Wing, Chaminade Prep HS in St. Louis, MO

Who he is: Rivals #4 ranked player in the class of 2016 and a 5-star point-forward, Tatum is a big time player in Mizzou's backyard. We talked a lot about Tatum in the third part of the How Mizzou Builds a Championship, so I'll try not to repeat myself too much. I'll just say that he's a Missouri kid, and he's really really good.

How Mizzou is in the picture: Mizzou is in the picture because Jayson's Mom and Dad would prefer that he play a little closer to home. So the top 4 at this point look like Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri and SLU. Conventional thinking is that Kentucky is about as far away as Tatum would go, even though Duke has been all over the place to watch and court Tatum. Anytime you have a player that talented he's going to tracked and courted by everybody.

Is there a chance: A slim one, but yes. Tatum has spoken highly of the Mizzou staff and the lure of staying close to home. It would appear that both SLU and Mizzou have about an equal chance of talking Tatum into staying very close by, and both maybe even at or near the top of the list for now. There's a long way to go though, and Mizzou just has to keep putting in work. Next year at this time we should have a clearer picture as Tatum starts to narrow his list.

Kobi Simmons, 6-5 175 lb Point Guard, St. Francis School in Alpharetta, GA

Who he is: Simmons is the 15th ranked player according the Rivals, and a big Point Guard whose stock has been almost meteoric since the start of the offseason. He's an explosive athlete as you can see from the highlight video. He's got a soft touch with the ball and great court vision. He shoots the ball a bit low off of his forehead, but at 6-5 that shouldn't be a big issue. Simmons also plays on the same AAU team as Kaiser GatesJoshua Langford and Braxton Blackwell. All 4 have Missouri offers at this point.

How Mizzou is in the picture: Our man on the spot Tim Fuller! Fuller has a lot of connections in the Southeast and he's responsible for getting in the door on another elite prospect from the state of Georgia. Keep it up Tim!

Is there a chance: Probably not to be honest. Being in good with his teammates will help, you can prove that MIzzou is a real place to consider, but at this point its hard to see Simmons choosing Mizzou. Little is known about the "short-list" at this point, but Simmons holds 21 offers. He does plan on going on an unofficial to Mizzou at some point during his Junior year which bodes well for staying in the picture at the very least.

Jamal Murray, 6-3 180 lb Point Guard, Athlete Institute, in Kitchener, Ontario

Who he is: A Canadian who has seen his stock skyrocket over the past year. Murray currently sits as the 18th ranked player by Rivals, and a 5-star prospect. He's a strong and smooth point guard who can do it all. He doesn't get knocked off the ball easily.

How Mizzou is in the picture: CIA Bounce is the same AAU team that Montaque Gill-Caesar played for, and they were teammates. MGC was also a teammate on CIA Bounce with Andrew Wiggins. MGC and Wiggins played at Huntington Prep, Coach Rob Fulford coached at Huntington Prep. Jeez people do I need to draw you a map on this one?

Is there a chance: Yes. Fulfords solid relationships in Canada will help ease this on through. My guess is that Mizzou will end up in the top 5 and will receive an official visit before it's said and done. And that's really all you can ask for when it comes to these kinds of elite prospects. Does that mean he ends up at Mizzou? Too hard to say at this point, some think he'll follow Tyler Ennis and end up at Syracuse.

Miles Bridges, 6-6 225 lb Small Forward, Huntington Prep, in Huntington, WV

Who he is: Bridges is the 19th ranked player on Rivals and a native of Michigan where he plays for Wes Clarks old AAU team, The Family. If you've already watched the highlights you can see that Bridges has some bounce. He's got a mature body physically and a developing all around game. He has no trouble finishing through contact and is already a high level rebounder.

How Mizzou is in the picture: Um, Huntington Prep.

Is there a chance: See above. Anytime the guy has already committed to play for Rob Fulford you have a chance. Michigan State, NC State and Oregon are among the early leaders, with MSU likely in the lead. But as with Jamal Murray I think we'll see Bridges trim his list and have Mizzou on it. We may not end up with him in a Mizzou uniform but I like our chances to be in the discussion.

Josh Langford, 6-4 185 lb Shooting Guard, Madison Academy, in Madison, AL

Who he is: Langford is the 21st ranked player by Rivals and a highly athletic shooting guard from Alabama. What you notice in his video is the quick release on his jumper, and that his release point is extremely high. That means that he can get his shot off against a lot of different defenders. Langford isn't a great ball handler at this point, but he's gotten better. He also plays on a loaded Atlanta Celtics basketball team.

How Mizzou is in the picture: Tim Fuller got in early on Langford, as he's held a Mizzou offer since the Frank Haith era. Anytime a player has an offer from the old coaching staff it's hard to get a ready on the interest level in that player, but by all accounts Fuller is still working on Langford.

Is there a chance: I think there is a small chance because of Tim Fuller and because Mizzou offered early. So Fuller was able to build a relationship with Langford. He's unofficially visited Duke, NC State and Michigan so far and it looks like the Wolverines might be the team to beat. The biggest thing will be to get him on campus to be in the running, so that might be the biggest step for Mizzou to get in the picture.

Braxton Blackwell, 6-7 205 lb Small Forward, Christ Presbyterian Academy, in Nashville, TN

Who he is: Blackwell is the 33rd ranked player on Rivals, and a SF with great ball skills. He can initiate offense from the high post, and that type of ability is coveted for a team that runs a variation of the High-Low offense. Blackwell is a good athlete but not overly explosive. He's a smart player with soft touch around the rim, expanding range and great footwork.

How Mizzou is in the picture: An offer was extended fairly recently, and by all accounts this is another Fuller recruit. Blackwell's position on the Celtics makes that part clear.

Is there a chance: Another hard to read situation at this point, as with most 2016's. The good news is that despite Blackwell holding lots of high-major offers, he seemed genuinely excited to receive one from Mizzou. He also attends Christ Presbyterian in Nashville, which may sound familiar as two Mizzou football recruits came from that school: Paul Adams and Thomas Richard. Perhaps the combination of Fuller, Adams and Richard can be enough to get Blackwell to give Mizzou a long look.

Nick Ward, 6-8 230 lb Power Forward, Lincoln HS, Gahanna OH

Who he is: The 3-star PF from Ohio was a lowly rated 2-star player until suddenly Michigan State and Mizzou got interested then suddenly he gained a star. Ward has worked hard to improve his body, and to be an effective player around the rim and in the paint. He's done that and the big schools are noticing.

How Mizzou is in the picture: It's fairly unknown at this point as the offer came a little out of the blue. Ward is from Ohio which is a largely untapped resource for Mizzou basketball. It's possible Loos or Fulford have contact in the area, but to this point it's unknown.

Is there a chance: Inasmuch as anyone in 2016. I'd say that anytime a High-Major like Michigan State and Mizzou offer this early it's likely they'll have a chance to be there in the end. Ward has a chance to be a very effective player and it should be interesting to see how his Junior season plays out.

Tyler Cook, 6-8 240 lb Power Forward, Chaminade Prep, St. Louis, MO

Who he is: Jayson Tatums High School and AAU teammate for one. Cook is also a big and smooth player who has 3 stars on Rivals. Cook has the chance to be an extremely good player if he works hard on his game, but right now he's extremely effective around the rim and can finish with strength. He doesn't have elite size but moves well enough to overcome that.

How Mizzou is in the picture: Loos has taken to working the state hard and putting out the offer to Cook is evidence of that. Recruiting Cook doesn't help with Tatum, but it won't hurt either. Cook is a prospect on his own, and Anderson has made recruiting the state a priority, getting the best players out of St. Louis is a good start.

Is there a chance: Cook has visited Michigan and SLU unofficially. He's got offers from Florida, Kansas, Memphis, Purdue and Wake Forest, among others. It's very easy to see that he's not going to be easy to keep in state. However the home state school will get every chance to make an impression.

In the 2015 class there are currently three scholarships available. If all holds and nobody defects then Mizzou will only have two scholarships available as Deuce Bello and Ryan Rosburg are both due to graduate in 2016. There's always the possibility of a transfer, kicked off the team or a bolt early for the NBA out of the current guys on the roster. Particularly if you consider that this is still two years off. If you look at the breakdown of offers to this point:

Point Guards Wings Posts

Kobi Simmons
Jamal Murray

Jayson Tatum
Miles Bridges
Josh Langford
Braxton Blackwell

Thon Maker
Nick Ward
Tyler Cook

It seems pretty clear what Mizzou is prioritizing with this class. They've offered 3 Wing-Forward types, 2 elite point guards and three posts. I would guess that Mizzou wants a point guard and a wing with the two scholarships they currently have available. And if another frees up they'd like a big guy. Your top two choices on the list are almost certainly Tatum at the top spot, then one of the Point Guards. Given my choice I would prefer Murray over Simmons, but only because I think he's more steady and probably going to give you at least a couple years of service. With Simmons growth he could be a one and done. If Tatum is a no, I love Blackwell's game as the Wing-Forward. He's not as explosive but he's one of the most well rounded players in the class. Maker of course would be great, but I just see how you can reasonable expect to sign him. But I could see Mizzou keeping Cook in state.

There are a few other guys on the radar, one being Montrell Dixson, who according to a report from Adam Zagoria (, picked up a Mizzou offer in June. I didn't include him because Zagoria is the only person who has reported that so far. We'll wait for further confirmation before adding him to the list of offers. Mizzou has also been keeping a close eye on Dennis SmithCurtis JonesKyle Guy and Micah Thomas. Links are for their Rivals profiles.

Now it's not that uncommon at this point to have a bunch of schools offering the best of the best players when you're two years out. Taking stock again in a year or even 6 months and you can usually tell where things might start to fall. The way that Coach Anderson, along with his assistants, are targeting the best guys they can at this point. We have to adjust the roster projection for next season as Missouri will be giving out at least three scholarships. At this point I like the odds in Mizzou's favor for either Morgan or Puryear, along with Jimmy Whitt and Thomas Bryant. With the two open scholarships and a seemingly loaded roster returning, I'm going to make projections just for the hell of it at this point. I think Mizzou lands a Point Guard, so let's say Fulford's connections to Canada pay off and we get Jamal Murray. I'll also project that we miss out on our top WF recruits and get Tyler Cook to solidify the inside. That leaves 4 ball handlers, 4 wings, 5 posts. I like the way this roster looks...

2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Point Guards Keith Shamburger (Sr.)
Wes Clark (So.)
Tramaine Isabell (Fr.)

Wes Clark (Jr.)
Tramaine Isabell (So.)
Jimmy Whitt (Fr.)

Wes Clark (Sr.)
Tramaine Isabell (Jr.)
Jimmy Whitt (So.)
Jamal Murray (Fr.)
Wings Deuce Bello (Jr.)
Cameron Biedscheid (So.)
Namon Wright (Fr.)
D'Angelo Allen (Fr.)
Montaque Gill Caesar (Fr.)
Deuce Bello (Sr.)
Cameron Biedscheid (Jr.)
Namon Wright (So.)
D'Angelo Allen (So.)
Montaque Gill-Caesar (So.)
Cameron Biedscheid (Sr.)
Namon Wright (Jr.)
D'Angelo Allen (Jr.)
Montaque Gill-Caesar (Jr.)
Posts Keanau Post (Sr.)
Ryan Rosburg (Jr.)
Johnathan Williams III (So.)
Jakeenan Gant (Fr.)

Ryan Rosburg (Sr.)
Johnathan Williams III (Jr.)
Jakeenan Gant (So.)
Thomas Bryant (Fr.)
Juwan Morgan (Fr.)

Johnathan Williams III (Sr.)
Jakeenan Gant (Jr.)
Thomas Bryant (So.)
Juwan Morgan (So.)
Tyler Cook (Fr.)
Total Scholarships 12 13 13