You had to know when I posted a roster in early June that it wasn't going to end up the same as it was when the games started in October. Still, I don't think many people saw this coming at that time. Everybody seemed to be sticking together (except J3), and we were about to embark on the complete "feel good summer".
The rumblings started when Montaque Gill-Caesar pulled out of tryouts for team Canada's U19 squad, which he was expected to make, because of ongoing back problems. After that, he didn't return to Columbia, and many asked why. The coaching staff seemed insistent that Teki was coming back, saying that he wasn't doing anything they didn't expect by taking a class back at home. They were then reported to be in pursuit of 2015 power forward and recent qualifier Andre Adams just last week.
I haven't talked much about Adams because I wasn't sure if Mizzou was going to have a scholarship, now they do.
"We wish Montaque the best," Anderson said. "In an evolving conversation this week, Montaque informed our program of his future plans. He intends to resume his education and playing career at a different institution. We will assist him in every way possible in that transition, pending the completion of academic obligations he committed to with our staff. Our program cannot thank Montaque and his family enough for being a part of the Mizzou Basketball Family."
-Missouri Head Coach Kim Anderson
Losing one of the highest rated recruits to put on a Missouri uniform in recent years is going to hurt; there's no getting around that. Montaque Gill-Caesar is a really good basketball player and a guy that has pro potential. We saw it in flashes early, and then Illinois and Leron Black happened and Teki was never the same guy.
This move hurts the roster because it was easy to see what type of player he could become. Iron out the inconsistency, and you have a potential All-Conference performer in a few years. But most of all, we saw the potential of that freshmen class and its potential growth as reason to be optimistic of the future. A big part of that was the talent that Teki possessed.
"I want to thank the Mizzou Basketball program for its support, as well as thanks to all of the fans and people of Columbia who made me feel so welcome," Gill-Caesar said. "I'd like to continue my college basketball career at a school where I am most comfortable. I certainly hope to see plenty of success for my friends on the team and the Mizzou coaching staff in the future."
-former Mizzou guard Montaque Gill-Caesar
The reality is that Mizzou was 9-23 last season, the Tigers return just one of their top four scorers, and two departed players were former top-50 recruits. The one guy in the top four coming back is coming off a severe elbow injury. Mizzou will be picked last in the SEC going into the season, so just prepare yourself for that.
Here's how I've got the depth chart without Teki on the roster.
|Terrence Phillips||Wes Clark||Namon Wright||Jakeenan Gant||Russell Woods|
|Tramaine Isabell||Martavian Payne||K.J. Walton||D'Angelo Allen||Ryan Rosburg|
|Jimmy Barton||Cullen VanLeer||Kevin Puryear||Hayden Barnard|
I don't feel good about the ceiling of this team when talented players are leaving the roster, but the one place Mizzou could afford attrition was on the wing. There are now six guys for two spots and 80 minutes instead of seven.
Terrence Phillips is probably the only true point guard on the roster, with Clark, Isabell and Payne all being combo guards and Walton, Wright and VanLeer being wings. It doesn't create a super clear picture, and it leaves even more unproven players who are going to be asked to contribute.
I still feel comfortable saying that Clark, Phillips, Woods and Rosburg are about the only guys that will be safe in their roles. At this point, based upon reports, I think Phillips likely has the edge to start at point. He also possesses a maturity that most freshmen don't have. He was a part of a major Prep program and has an older brother who plays in the NBA. He will have an edge over a lot of freshmen at this stage.
What this really does is puts pressure on certain guys to grow and mature, Namon, Tramaine especially. Now KJ and Cullen HAVE to contribute.— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) July 15, 2015
With MGC, you got a physical wing who had already been through a rough first season. You hope that a guy like that comes through stronger on the other end. Instead, Mizzou is going to have to deal without him. Specifically they are going to be looking for the two freshmen on the wings to contribute, and we saw how well relying on first-timers worked out a year ago. Expect some ups and downs.
Mizzou now has one available scholarship for the 2015-16 season, and I completely expect them to fill it. The top target at this point appears to be Andre Adams, who has interest from a host of schools after qualifying when many thought he wouldn't. Adams is a 6'8 power forward who needs work but can provide athleticism, defense and some rebounds until the rest of his game rounds out.
I don't know how much interest Adams has in Missouri, as I fully expect Adams to be linked to any school with a scholarship opening -- he's already been contacted by 12 schools. In 2014, he was a top 150 player but didn't qualify out of high school. He went to IMG Academy and tore his ACL last fall before the season. He's still not 100% back from the injury but should be ready by the time the season rolls around.
If Adams ends up elsewhere, I would still expect the Tigers to fill the scholarship. They still have a few official visits left to hand out, and I would expect them to be aggressive in attracting the best player available. The problem right now is, there isn't much talent available, especially if you're looking for a player with some size. You can usually find decent guards late, but you're rarely going to pick up a quality big guy, so I'd expect Mizzou to go all in trying to get Adams.
|MISSOURI TIGERS 2015-2016|
|1||Terrence Phillips||5-10||170||G||Fr||College Park, GA/Oak Hill Academy|
|2||Martavian Payne||6-2||175||G||Jr||St. Louis, MO/John A. Logan College|
|4||Tramaine Isabell||6-0||180||G||So||Seattle, WA/Garfield High|
|5||D'Angelo Allen||6-7||220||F||So||Dallas, TX/Kimball High|
|10||K.J. Walton||6-4||225||G||Fr||Brownsburg, IN/Brownsburg High|
|11||Jimmy Barton||5-10||160||G||RS So||St. Louis, MO/Houston Baptist|
|12||Namon Wright||6-5||200||G||So||Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills High|
|15||Wes Clark||6-0||185||G||Jr||Detroit, MI/Romulus High|
|23||Jakeenan Gant||6-8||207||F||So||Springfield, GA/Effingham County High|
|24||Kevin Puryear||6-7||215||F||Fr||Blue Springs, MO/Blue Springs South High|
|25||Russell Woods||6-8||230||F||Jr||Chicago, IL/John A. Logan College|
|33||Cullen VanLeer||6-4||195||G||Fr||Pacific, MO/Pacific HS|
|34||Adam Wolf||6-7||215||F||Fr||Lake Forest, IL/Beaver Dam HS|
|42||Hayden Barnard||6-10||225||F||RS So||Aurora, IL/Metea Valley HS|
|44||Ryan Rosburg||6-10||264||F||Sr||St. Louis/Marquette HS|
*all listed numbers are tentative until the final roster comes out