Another in-state player goes out of state as Chaminade Prep 4-star forward Tyler Cook made it official today by eliminating the Tigers from contention for his services.
ESPN 100 forward Tyler Cook (No. 51) tells ESPN he is down to Iowa and Florida. Decision coming in the near-future.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) September 22, 2015
If you've been following this recruiting battle with me for a while, you'd know by now that Cook-to-Mizzou wasn't very likely to happen past mid-August or so. It was about that time that I was talking to a friend who said the Crystal Ball was wrong. He was referring to the Crystal Ball on 247sports, which had 10 picks all for Cook to end up at Mizzou. I was a little surprised as when the consensus reached on those kinds of things, they turn out to be true more often than not. Shortly after we updated the Hot Board, and moved Cook down to warm, and let it be known that he was likely headed to Iowa in the August recruiting update.
First things first, Tyler Cook was not going to be the make or break player for this program. When the Corey Tate hire was made, many (including myself) thought that Cook would be a lock for Mizzou. But that proved not to be the case. He is a very good, extremely athletic and strong post-player. Cook has what they call a developing post game, which is a nice way of saying he is by no means polished. He struggles to shoot the ball with any sort of range, but around the basket he's a beast. I thought Mizzou would be a good fit for Tyler because he could play the role of a "short corner" big, which is a guy who excels off dump offs and put backs around the rim. And with guys on the roster like Terrence Phillips, Tramaine Isabell and Wes Clark, I think Mizzou should have the guards who can get to the rim and draw defense, they just need a big guy who can power the ball to the rim to finish off those passes.
If you, as a fan, are looking for a reason to get excited, recruiting wins help build that, and Mizzou’s losses have been very visible.— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) September 22, 2015
Losing on Cook also means that Mizzou is still in search of some beef on the inside. Mitchell Smith is a guy who is going to develop over time, but doesn't have the body right now to bang with some of the bigger bodies in the league. Cook has a college ready body. So this puts Mizzou in a whole towards finding a guy to fill that role. Who they're looking at is something I'll touch on soon.
The biggest impact is to fan excitement. If you're looking for reasons to be excited about Mizzou basketball right now, there's not much there. The Tigers were pretty abysmal on the court a year ago, they lost two of their highest ranked players to transfer following the season, and were again going to have one of the most inexperienced teams in the SEC. But areas where fans can get excited is by who the coaching staff is bringing in. Unranked 3-star prospects tend to garner an outlook like "Huh, well I hope that works out" instead of a much higher level of excitement that somebody like Tyler Cook would have brought, warranted or not. Smith might end up the better college player, but that's not what we're talking about. Instead we're talking about Mizzou missing on another talented in-state prospect.
Not since Kalen Grimes committed in 2004 has Missouri landed a top 100 Four or Five star player from inside the borders. There has obviously been some turmoil over the years, but Mizzou's track record with in-state talent, particularly from the St. Louis area certainly is an issue. They'll have another shot next year with Michael Porter, Jr, and things are mostly positive on that front, but it would be silly to think that Mizzou is going to land Porter. Not that they can't, but at this stage the odds are certainly not in their favor. And then in 2018 there are several players in-state that are going to be in that category of top 100 players. Carte'Are Gordon, Courtney Ramey and Torrence Watson are all likely to be top 100 kids when its all said and done. It's another chance to see if Missouri can retain it's home state talent. The bad news? All 3 players are from the St. Louis area.
The reality is that Tyler Cook wasn't going to save Kim Anderson's job. Jakeenan Gant, Namon Wright and K.J. Walton are a lot more likely to do that than anyone from the 2016 class. Anderson will keep his job by developing the guys who are on the roster today, and making them better. He'll need to recruit smart, and develop the guys coming in and hope that everyone sticks around to have teams that are dominated by experience. Its a method that works for programs that aren't Duke or Kentucky. Experience in college basketball matters, provided you are short on overwhelming talent. There is enough on the roster right now to turn this ship around, it's just always easier to win when you've got that overwhelming talent.