Following the Rob Fulford announcement as Mizzou's last assistant coaching position, a lot of speculation started in on what would happen with the Huntington Prep players who went to Huntington for Coach Fulford. Well, some of that speculation ended today as Montaque Gill-Caesar pledged his commitment to the Tigers. MGC was originally a 2015 recruit, but graduated from HS in the spring which left the option of a reclassification to 2014 if he wanted to enroll in a college for the fall semester.
Looks like Evan Daniels broke the news that everybody seemed to think was going to happen on Monday...
BREAKING: Teki Gill-Caesar tells Scout that he has signed a financial aid agreement with Missouri. Will play this year.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) August 2, 2014
A consensus Top 50 player in the class of 2015 and the 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year in West Virginia, Gill-Caesar will reclassify to the class of 2014 and will be immediately eligible for the 2014-15 season after graduating high school last spring.
Jeff Goodman of ESPNs blurb on it:
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Gill-Ceasar was ranked No. 41 in the class of 2015 by ESPN.com.
He was coached by new Missouri assistant Rob Fulford in high school at Huntington Prep in West Virginia.
Gill-Ceasar is a big, strong, athletic wing who can get to the basket and finish -- and is also capable of making shots from the perimeter.
New Missouri coach Kim Anderson never had a chance to retain guards Jordan Clarkson andJabari Brown, who both declared early for the NBA draft. However, he was able to keep top 100 signee JaKeenan Gant. Missouri will also have Notre Dame transfer Cameron Biedscheid eligible after the first semester.
MGC also had a brief interview with Evan Daniels of Scout.com:
Gill Caesar transferred to Huntington Prep prior to his junior season. Gill Ceasar said he and Fulford got close during his time in West Virginia.
"He’s a very different guy on and off the court," he said. "On the court a coach and player can get into it. Off the court, he’s very level headed and one of the coolest guys I know."
"I can talk to him about a lot of things," Gill Caesar explained. "We’ve built a relationship where he can be real with me and I can be real with him. We can tell each other different things."
Prior to the July evaluation periods, Gill Caesar, a 6-foot-5 wing prospect, visited Missouri. Heading into the visit, he wasn’t sold on the school, but that changed after the visit.
"After I was there I felt a little bit more comfortable with the situation," Gill Caesar said. "They were telling me they were going to put the balls in my hands and let me make plays and compete and earn my position and I have no problem doing that."
Gill Caesar said he also meshed well with new Missouri coach Kim Anderson.
"When I visited there I just got a good vibe from the players," he said. "I felt good with coach Anderson and coach [Tim] Fuller. They want to help me reach that next level."
"The people there and the fans are very supportive of their players," he added. "They are going to let me rock out. They are going to let me play my game and let me learn from mistakes."
I spoke briefly about MGC in my Catching Up On Mizzou Basketball Recruiting article a few days ago:
Who he is: MGC is a 4-star Wing-Forward ranked 31st in the country. He's an explosive athlete with a great body who is effective around the rim and has very good mid-range game. His outside shot is still a bit of a work in progress but he's acceptable out there.
I also said this:
Is there a chance?: Quite frankly I expect MGC to reclassify to 2014 and pledge to Mizzou very soon. If he doesn't reclassify he has to find a prep school to attend next year as he's already graduated HS. If that happens I think the odds of Mizzou landing him go down slightly as that gives other schools a chance to make a pitch. But right now I'd put the odds at 90%.
And I was right (by simply reading what other reporters were saying at the time)! This is a big get for Mizzou, despite how it crowds the small forward position in the immediate future. MGC was ranked 41st by ESPN, 48th by 247Sports, 31st by Rivals, and 38th by Scout. He's been compared to Earnest Ross by a lot of Mizzou fans and there is some accuracy to that. I've watched as much video on MGC as I can get my hands on by searching his name on YouTube, and despite most of those being highlights where he looks like he's the next coming you can take away a few things from his video. MGC has similarities with Ross, but I think the comparison might sell him a little short for Mizzou fans. Ross never felt like a basketball player, rather a great athlete who was trying to play basketball. He worked hard and became a good player. MGC is a more natural looking basketball player. He's not a world class athlete like Andrew Wiggins, but he's a very good athlete. He has an average jump shot but the fundamentals of his shot are good, so he can improve on that quite easily with time in the gym. What we have for the coming year however is a player who is willing to go inside and bull himself towards the rim. He's able to rebound and he can become a lock-down defender.
Here is the current roster breakdown with MGC's commitment:
Keith Shamburger (Sr.)
Wes Clark (So.)
Tramaine Isabell (Fr.)
Wes Clark (Jr.)
|Wes Clark (Sr.)
Tramaine Isabell (Jr.)
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.)
Keanau Post (Sr.)
Ryan Rosburg (Jr.)
Johnathan Williams III (So.)
Torren Jones (So.)
Jakeenan Gant (Fr.)
|Ryan Rosburg (Sr.)
Johnathan Williams III (Jr.)
Torren Jones (Jr.)
Jakeenan Gant (So.)
|Johnathan Williams III (Sr.)
Torren Jones (Sr.)
Jakeenan Gant (Jr.)
We'll have time to discuss what this will do with the minutes going into next year in the next week or so. But this certainly changes the dynamics of the minutes for next year. Eric Bossi of Rivals has said that if MGC reclassifies that he would likely still be a top 50 player in the 2014 class. The summer of Kim Anderson continues to get better...