It's been since Mid-February, so it's time to get to a recruiting update. There's been, and will continue to be, a lot of movement on where things stand with certain players. As usual, for the latest up-to-date news I recommend you follow me on Twitter, or bookmark the Recruiting Hot Board and check on it regularly. However, this will be a chance to keep up to date on everything that's happened since our last update, and of course, the scholarship situation has changed.
With three open scholarships*, Missouri is looking for a guard who can handle the ball, a scoring wing and a big man. So the only thing that has changed since our last update in that regard, is we know who isn't coming back and the scholarships are available. Gone are Wes Clark, Tramaine Isabell and Namon Wright. Now we get to see who Missouri replaces them with.
Sort of Good Things On Deshawn Corprew
Recent trends in the recruiting-sphere have shown that Kansas is now likely to land 5-star wing Josh Jackson, as well as Thon Maker. This impacts Missouri and their pursuit of Deshawn Corprew, who isn't likely to land at KU if the Jayhawks land one of their top targets at wing, either Jackson or Terrence Ferguson, plus a combo forward in Maker, who further crowds the minutes for the Jayhawks. On top of that, while Wayne Selden is likely to turn pro, it remains a question mark as he's no guarantee to be a 1st round pick, and 2nd round picks do not have guaranteed contracts. So the wing position could be incredibly crowded with Selden/Jackson if Selden returns, but if Selden doesn't return (which appears likely) then the Jayhawks will STILL have Frank Mason, Devonte Graham, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Brannen Greene and LaGerald Vick (if all return). So you can see why it appears unlikely that Corprew lands in Lawrence.
Missouri headed to watch Deshawn Corprew in the Grind Session National championship tournament in Lawrence tonight— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) March 25, 2016
With a top 3 of Kansas, Missouri and Texas A&M, it would appear to be down to Mizzou and A&M, and the Crystal Ball picks are going in for Texas A&M. The Aggies are in the opposite situation of Kansas in that they've got a lot of players leaving. With only two signees in their current class and four starters leaving, the Aggies certainly have the room and playing time to take a guy like Corprew. And because A&M is such a football school, their basketball recruiting coverage is limited at best, so it's tough to get a read on how hard they're working for Corprew, or WHO has been working for Corprew. Rick Stansbury is widely credited with some improved recruiting, and he just took the job at Western Kentucky, so does that impact Corprew? They're also in on New Mexico transfer Cullen Neal, who is a similar player to Corprew and apparently very high on A&M and Ole Miss, along with a few others. At this stage, I think it's almost certain to come down to A&M and Missouri, and the Tigers like their chances. So there's that.
Sort of Bad Things on Kavell Bigby-Williams
Missouri has backed off Bigby-Williams as he's blown up in the last month or so, including some great performances at the NJCAA National Tournament. Bigly-Williams was a very under-the-radar player two years ago when he signed with Montana State, but has steadily improved and now has offers from Texas and Oregon, and interest from Utah, USC and Missouri. Word is he's headed to Oregon, which would make sense because of the connection with Montana St where head coach Brian Fish used to be an assistant for Dana Altman at Oregon. Thems the breaks.
Eron Gordon Likes Being Recruited
Very shortly after somehow coaxing a 247sports Crystal Ball change to Missouri from Andrew Slater, Eron Gordon didn't even mention the Tigers as a possibility in a recent article in the Indianapolis Star, saying only that warmer weather schools or Big East schools could land the 4* guard. While a recent offer from the hometown Butler Bulldogs could be enticing, schools like Seton Hall and Marquette are still on the radar. At the same time, the Tigers have decided to prioritize a few other guards, which is a change from the momentum swing that seemed to happen just a week or two ago when this happened:
ORLY, looks like something may have changed in the Eron Gordon situation pic.twitter.com/E731EcHMtv— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) March 10, 2016
So at this point all I can say is that it would just seem that Gordon is enjoying the process, he's still pretty wide open. and things change quickly in recruiting. Missouri is basically out on Gordon, and I think the Tigers and their staff are totally fine with this outcome because of some of the new names that have emerged.
But what about Cheickna Dembele?
Bottom line, Mizzou coaches really like Dembele, and think he can step in and help immediately. Problem is, so do a lot of other coaches. Coaches from Syracuse, St. Josephs, North Carolina State and Iowa State appear to be atop the list, along with Missouri, for the rising 3-star big man. It's still early in the game for Dembele, but it's going to difficult for all these schools to sign him. Dembele plays for Jareem Dowling at Scotland Performance Institute, and Dowling is a former college coach at Morehead St and Souther Miss under Donnie Tyndall, so he knows how the recruiting games works. For now it looks like an open race, that's getting more crowded by the minute, and Missouri feels that them getting in early could help them win the race. I think their odds of getting a visit are good, however I'm skeptical of their ability to land a commitment.
Frankie Hughes, 3-star, 6-3, 170 Combo Guard, Garfield Heights HS, Cleveland OH
Hughes is a former Louisville signee, and it appears the Cardinals decided to part ways with the 3* guard, likely because they felt they needed more immediate help and are looking at 5th year transfers. Hughes is the high school teammate and close friend of Missouri signee Willie Jackson, so the fit would be natural for Hughes to consider the Tigers. He's a silky lanky guard with a compact jumpshot and a quick release who projects as a combo guard at the next level. Although he played more off the ball in High School, he handles the ball well enough to play the point in college, so could be the answer at backup PG. Missouri is certainly very interested, and feel that Hughes would be attainable to land. So don't be surprised if he ends up in Columbia.
Tyson Jolly, 4-star, 6-4, 200 lb Wing, Elev8 Prep, Delray Beach, FL
Old name, but new situation. Jolly is a 4* guard from Oklahoma, who is finishing up a post-graduate season in Florida, and looking to get back closer to home. Missouri recruited Jolly heavily prior to his commitment to California, when he was a 2015 recruit, and expect them to be heavily involved. Early rumors are that Texas is a likely landing spot, but the Longhorns already have two guards signed for 2016, plus a couple wings already on the roster who have been playing a lot of minutes. So seeing everybody jump on the Longhorn bandwagon is surprising. What wouldn't be surprising is if Jolly suddenly got interested in playing for new Oklahoma State head coach Brad Underwood. So I'd keep a close eye on Okie State, but I think Missouri has a chance to get close due to their prior relationship.
Kyran Bowman, 3-star, 6-1, 180 lb Combo Guard, Havelock, Havelock, NC
Bowman wasn't in the last update, as he emerged almost immediately following the February post, but Bowman is an intriguing prospect from North Carolina. He was a UNC football commit and a 4-star WR who decided he wanted to play basketball in college, so he went a little under recruited until recently. Cal, Cincinnati, Memphis, Boston College and Missouri are all atop his list right now, with South Carolina making a late push. Cincinnati appears to be the favorite, but with Mick Cronin possibly moving to UNLV that could change. At this point, it would appear that Bowman is behind Hughes on Missouri's wish list, but it should be interesting to see if he gets on campus for a visit.
Eric Vila, 6-9, 205 lb Post, FC Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
A stretch-four from Spain, Vila is sort of a surprise name who popped up last week when he was making visits to Texas A&M, Missouri and Wake Forest. He was on campus Wednesday and Thursday this past week, and from all accounts the visit went really well and Vila fit in with the team. He is a little underweight at the moment, but his frame suggests it would be easy for him to add weight, and he can certainly shoot the ball, as a traditional European skilled big. The question is whether he would be able to add weight fast enough to contribute at the high major level as a freshman. As of now, Missouri has not offered a scholarship, but they could if the Tigers miss out on Dembele, though its no guarantee. Further clouding the situation is Vila's situation with FC Barcelona. It's not clear what he'd have to do to end up available to US Universities.
C.J. Jackson, 3-star, 6-1, 180 lb Point Guard, Eastern Florida CC, Charlotte, NC
Jackson is a high scoring point guard currently enrolled at Eastern Florida College after a post-grad year at Monteverde Academy, following a solid high school career in Charlotte, NC. Jackson is a freshman, which means he can play three years at his next school, and has listed a top four of UConn, Missouri, Auburn and New Mexico. We'd look towards Mizzou getting a visit from Jackson, and him being atop the list for the Tigers this spring.
Other Notes: Christian Vital was somebody Missouri checked in on, but has already released a top five that didn't include the Tigers. Vital is a point guard-combo guard who was committed to UNLV, but reopened his recruitment when the Rebels parted ways with their previous coaching staff. His top 5 is Louisville, Marquette, Iowa, UConn and Alabama. They've also checked on 6'8 Post Kalif Young from Orangeville Prep in Canada, but it would probably take some big movement and changes for the Tigers to move on Young. There are a few others names floating around, but nobody that is of serious consideration right now.
The situation is basically that Missouri is looking to add two guards, and if they can get Dembele they'll take him. But two guards are the priority. Atop the wish list is Corprew, followed closely by Hughes, Jolly and Jackson. Bowman is a little bit of a long shot, but is still a possibility. It appears as though the Tigers would be happy with any combination of the five guards. And in terms of most likely to land at Mizzou? I'd take Frankie Hughes as the most likely, and right now the only player I'd be willing to put money on Missouri landing. Still not a guarantee, but the odds are certainly there. After him, I think they've got a good shot with Corprew, but it's more of a toss up. Then Jackson, Dembele, Jolly. Put that into percentages and I'd say 70-75% Missouri lands Hughes, 50% to land Corprew, 35% on Jackson, 25% to land Dembele, and right now around 20% on Jolly. Rounding out the rest, I'll say about 15% chance on Bowman, 10% chance on Vila... and I'll even throw out a 5% chance on Kalif Young. Although it sounds as though Mizzou would take Dembele as a big, and Vila only if the situation called for it.
Updates on 2017 and beyond
When it comes to top targets, there isn't much new out there. We know the story, Michael Porter, Jr, Trae Young, Jeremiah Tilmon, Jordan Goodwin, Parker Stewart, VJ Bailey, and I think you can probably slot Jared Ridder into that list. You can extend that list to include all sorts of players, but Missouri may not have more than 2 or 3 scholarships to give out next year if all goes as planned. I imagine that the Tigers will be unlikely to land any commitments until the big domino falls, once Porter commits, I think you'll start to see movement with Missouri.
With that said, I think we can talk some about likely destinations on some of these guys. Porter is the key, and there's still a chance that he stays home and plays for Mizzou, it's a very slight one, but it's there. An interesting twist is John Calipari's sudden intense interest in Trae Young, and what that could mean. In my opinion, it means that Kentucky could take a slight edge over Kansas in landing the Young/Porter combo, if they choose to stick with each other. That could also be enough to sway DeAndre Ayton (technically another Mizzou target, but not really one) to Kentucky as well. Mizzou isn't seriously in the discussion for landing Young, so the best case scenario for the Tigers is Young decides he wants to stay home at OU, which could convince Porter to do the same. Last of the three, TIlmon seems set to let a few more offers roll in, but I've also heard he wants to commit before the summer, if he does I'd look at Illinois or North Carolina, with Michigan State being a dark horse.
Illinois is somebody to keep an eye on with some of Mizzou's targets as they already have DeMontie Williams (4* PG from Peoria) and Javon Pickett (3* combo guard from Belleville) on board. Those two, Tilmon and Goodwin are all friends. If Tilmon is swayed to commit early, that would be enough to pull Goodwin off the board, giving Illinois a heck of a 2017 class. The key in this obviously is John Groce's job status, but it will be interesting to see if he can be solid enough to lure all these early commitments, after all, he's already got two. Goodwin and Tilmon are likely to have Missouri in any final lists they release, but it doesn't appear the Tigers will land either.
VJ Bailey is wide open at this point, and if Missouri makes him a priority they could land him. But it may depend on Parker Stewart, who is a bit more skilled, though less athletic, than Bailey. Stewart has been tagged a very high priority for the staff, and he and Bailey are both combo-guards. Another name to keep an eye on in this position is highly ranked 4* JayJay Chandler. Chandler is high on Kentucky but may get passed over by other players, and his other top choice is Texas A&M, who just lost their top recruiter (Rick Stansbury) to the Western Kentucky job. And then last of the list is Jared Ridder, who I feel is a high priority for Mizzou as the main guy they want if Porter doesn't commit. Ridder is a legit 6'7 wing with great shooting range and developing all around game, and Missouri put on the full court press for Ridder at the state championship recently.
Into 2018, another player who got the full court press at state was Torrence Watson, the 3* combo-guard from Whitfield HS who impressed in his game against Father Tolton. Fred Thatch is another 3* wing from Sikeston who led his team to state, only to find a host of Missouri coaches there to watch him. Another guy to keep an eye on is Jordan Lathon, a 6-4 combo guard from Grandview, MO. These players, along with Courtney Ramey, Carte'Are Gordon and Jontay Porter (even though he's committed, Missouri is still recruiting him) are all the priorities in 2018. As talented as the top of the line players are in 2017, I think the depth of the 2018 class is something that could really be a boost to Missouri basketball if they're able to keep some of these guys home.
Finally, 2019... yes, 2019. Right now everything is early on these guys, but two names to remember at this point: Marceedus Leech and Francis Okoro. Both will likely be 5* players before too long. Leech is from Poplar Bluff, and Okoro is from Bloomington, IL and both play for the St. Louis Eagles. Leech has a Missouri offer and has been on campus in Columbia for an unofficial visit already, Okoro doesn't hold on offer yet, but it's only a matter of time. Interesting note, Okoro does have Missouri ties, as his Grandparents live in Chesterfield.
Last note, the Recruiting Hot Board is a little out of date. I'm working on a big update and will make it easier to read, I hope. No timetable on that, however, as I'm moving this week, so you'll have to be patient. Thanks for reading.