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On Gant transferring, some Recruiting and the personal impact of Prince

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Super Bowl XLI: Pepsi Halftime Show Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

News broke yesterday morning that Jakeenan Gant was seeking a transfer, thus completing the full exodus of the 2014 recruiting class that included four 4-star recruits in Gant, Namon Wright and Montaque Gill-Caesar, along with 3-star pickups Tramaine Isabell and D'Angelo Allen. A lot of promise and excitement existed around the class, which mainly focused on the future of Gant, Wright and Teki combining forces with Wes Clark and Johnathan Williams III, but alas, it was never meant to be. Gant is the last player from the 2013 & 2014 recruiting classes to make his exit from the Missouri program.

This is pretty incredible if you think about it, and it extends a bit from some of my points in the "Looking Ahead to 2016" post at the beginning of January. From that piece:

If the above happens, you're going into the summer with two would-be seniors, up to four would-be juniors, four would be sophomores and three or four freshmen. Of those players, only four would be newcomers. Which would be the fewest since Mike Anderson bolted in 2011 when Frank Haith didn't have time to put together a recruiting class, and ended up being a class of two summer transfers and a december transfer.

2015 (Anderson): 6 newcomers

2014 (Anderson): 6 newcomers

2013 (Haith): 8 newcomers

2012 (Haith): 8 newcomers

2011 (Haith): 3 newcomers

Mizzou would have... continuity. *gasp*

Instead of having continuity, Mizzou will have a complete roster flip over two years. Seven newcomers will be on the roster after six a year ago. At least we can say now that this roster is 100% Kim Anderson, and there will be no more excuses moving forward, particularly when the sanctions have been all but cleared up.

Fun with numbers

46 players have entered the Missouri program since the 2008-09 season, included is the signing class of 2008 (seven players). 16 of those players have spent just one season of eligible play (or less) at Missouri. One of those players is Jordan Clarkson, who declared for the NBA draft early. Still that's nearly one in three players (34.7%) to sign only playing a single season at Mizzou or less. 21 have spent two years of eligibility with Missouri, which is 45.6% or nearly half (for the record, I'm including the five players from the 2015 class that are still on the roster as of today and look to be playing next season). That means that 80.4% of the players (37 of the 46 signed) who have entered the Missouri program since the 2008-09 season have only played two years for Missouri or less. Six of those players were JUCO guys who exhausted their eligibility (Keith Ramsey, Matt Pressey, Ricardo Ratliffe, Tony Criswell, Keanau Post and Russell Woods). Taking those six away, you still get 67.3%, or 31/46 who didn't make it to a third season for the Tigers. Three players played three seasons, Michael Dixon, Phil Pressey and Wes Clark. Five players played their full eligibility out at Missouri: Laurence Bowers, Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Steve Moore and Ryan Rosburg.

Five of 46 is 10.8%.

Mizzou has averaged 5.1 signings per year since 2008. 1.8 completed at least a season, 2.3 left after two seasons. Math that adds up to 4.1 of the average of 5. More math says LESS THAN ONE player each year either played three or four years for the university. Do you want to see how ugly things get if we take away the outlier 2008 class?

  • 1 year: 16/39 = 41%
  • 2 years: 18/39 = 46.1%
  • 3 years: 3/38 = 7.6%
  • 4 years: 1/38 = 2.5%

As with all numbers, context may be important. Nine of the one year players were freshmen who transferred or were kicked off. Three were seniors who transferred in for their last season (Keion Bell, Alex Oriakhi and Keith Shamburger), the other three were Martavian Payne, Deuce Bello and Jordan Clarkson. One left for the NBA, one grad transfer, and then Payne.

Of the two year players, ten of them were either JUCO transfers (5), transfers who finished their eligibility with Mizzou (1), or current players who still have the chance to exhaust their eligibility at Mizzou (4). Of the three year players, one left for the NBA (Pressey), the other two were forced out for grades or conduct.

Since 2009

  • Transferred/Kicked Off - 21
  • NBA - 3
  • Exhausted Eligibility - 9
  • Still on the team - 6

Not good odds.

Now, on to recruiting

I've been told Gant leaving means that the Tigers will add one more player this spring. I haven't been able to confirm any new names, so we're looking at the usual players: Eron Gordon, Deshawn Corprew, Cheickna Dembele and Omer Yurtseven. It's my opinion the likelihood of Missouri landing a big with this last spot is pretty much a long shot. When it comes to Dembele, he's got Syracuse, Michigan State, Baylor, St. Joe's, and many many more hot on his trail. If Missouri lands an official visit that will be impressive in of itself, they're going to have to rely on the hope of getting in early and having a good relationship, which can work sometimes.

Yurtseven is a guy we've mentioned a few times, but one thing to keep in mind in all this... Yurtseven is, when all things are equal, a potential lottery pick. He's a skilled 7'0 post who has range to the 3-point line, guys like that tend to NOT fall in Missouri's lap. Plus, he'll have Arizona and Kentucky on him, along with NC State, Baylor, Cal, Oregon and whoever doesn't land Dembele. We'll likely not have news on Yurtseven until June, when we'll hopefully find out if he's even going to get his release from his Pro club in Turkey.

Then there's Gordon and Corprew. Welp, Mizzou is still in the picture. We'll see what happens.

Now here's a scholarship graphic... updated.


Some Other thoughts on Prince

Yesterday brought the news of Jakeenan Gant transferring, and you all know how much I love to talk hoops. But news followed Gants transfer that superseded anything else I could possibly think about for the rest of the day, and as you're reading this, I'm probably still thinking about it. Prince died.

I'm still blown away by this news. I'm rarely one to get mixed up when a celebrity dies, because for the most part, you don't know these people. They come into your life and play a part from a far and you move on. There have been very few celebrity deaths that I've been truly heart broken about, and most of those have happened recently. It's been a really terrible year so far. Phife Dawg, of A Tribe Called Quest fame, hit very close to home for me as I fell in love with hip-hop in the early 90's and Tribe was a big part of that. David Bowie was something of an alien to me. Something to admire, to enjoy, but I don't know that I was ever close enough to be heartbroken. But Prince, Prince was different.

I'll be honest in saying that I never really fully understood Prince. When I was a kid, he had so many great songs that I loved to dance to. My brother had records of Around the World in a Day, 1999, Sign of the Times and more. I purchased Batman, Graffiti Bridge and Diamonds and Pearls on CD. I came of age making mixed-tapes for my friends, and Prince was ALWAYS on them. I played the Batman soundtrack so much that the CD became unusable. Delirious, I Would Die 4 U, Pop Life, Alphabet St, Let's Go Crazy, and of course, one of the greatest songs ever written... a song that can seem to go on for hours and seem like not enough... Purple Rain.

I loved Prince, and I wish that I could construct something as beautiful as Bomani Jones did when he wrote about him yesterday:

There is no fear of hyperbole when remembering Prince. He was the best recording artist of his time, the most versatile, more influential to a broader array of artists and genres than anyone. As long as it’s not a horn, he might have been the best at playing any basic pop instrument. He was a singular tour de force, using each of his albums to defy silly record-store categories. He could be as energetic and defiant as James Brown, as traditionally masculine as Teddy Pendergrass, as unbounded as David Bowie, as vulnerable as Marvin Gaye, as insightful as Paul Simon and as electric as Michael Jackson. At the same damn time.

Read the whole thing, it's worth a few minutes. Be forewarned, this links to, which is not your father's Playboy, but still might be blocked at work. :)

So I listened and watched Purple Rain, live, from 1983, and teared up for the 10th time yesterday. I watched the cast of The Color Purple sang Purple Rain and teared up again (I mean, Jennifer Hudson... c'mon). I read tribute after tribute, and all I can think is I hoped Prince, born Prince Rogers Nelson, the man, understood the kind of impact he had on peoples lives. I think David Bowie did, he seemed really in touch and understanding. But I don't know about Prince. With him, I can only hope.

One of my favorite stories is of Kevin Smith (of Dogma and Clerks fame) going to Minnesota to do a favor for Prince, and what came of it as told by Smith. Kevin Smith is a great story teller, and his 30 minute tale is perfect and hilarious. The problem is that the Prince he describes is one that isn't necessarily in touch with reality. Sometimes the all-time greats are out of touch with reality. That's what allows them to be great. But the reason this makes me sad is that Prince impacted peoples lives in so many positive ways. He flirted with, and often went way over the line, making us uncomfortable along the way. And we loved him for it. He introduced mainstream America to pop dance songs that were so overtly sexual and vulnerable at the same time. He made it ok for you to be experimental. As they say, Prince was the dude who would steal your girls clothes, then steal your girl wearing her clothes.

When I was 13 years old, I bought Diamonds and Pearls with my own money. I felt like I was buying pornography. The video, and his performance on the MTV VMA's for Gett Off was hedonistic. Cream was one of the sexiest things I'd ever seen. And here I was, barely a teenager and this music was mine. About the same time, an album came out that changed the early 90's for me, and my impression of who and what Prince was and represented. Nirvana released Nevermind, and slowly the Seattle grunge music took over my CD collection, along with a hefty helping of hip-hop. Prince was left out, I felt Prince wasn't cool anymore. I went through the rest of my high school life not listening or caring about Prince. Then I got to college, and Prince wasn't Prince he was this symbol, but he also had this song called "Pussy Control" that was a lot of fun to dance to. And I got back into Prince.

So I certainly don't claim to be the biggest Prince fan. That award goes to my friend Scott Schepker who I knew in college. If you know Scott, I'm sorry. Seriously, I'm sorry. He loved Prince in an unholy and weird way. I can only claim to be a fan. And from a fans perspective I hope Prince knows how much we loved him and his music. He forever changed the industry, and so many follow in his footsteps that owe so much to what he accomplished.

A weird little man, he changed the world, and made it better.