Yesterday we ranked the returning players. Today we’re going to take a crack at the newcomers. Missouri has, including walk-ons, nine newcomers. That is of course if you include Jordan Barnett and Trevor Gassman who were on the roster at different points during last season, but were sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules. So Buzzfeed listicle part 2, here we go:
1. Jordan Barnett
When Barnett dons his Missouri uniform for the first time, he will be one of only two upperclassmen. The former 4-star recruit and CBC Cadet hopes to make the kind of impact at the college level that many expected him to at Texas, but through coaching turnover he was never able to accomplish. Barnett is important for a variety of reasons, though he only played in 25 games at Texas, his experience should be a help to the young and developing roster. On top of that his versatility both offensively and defensively should help with the depth both in the post and on the perimeter. Missouri will need Barnett to make a big impact if they’re going to change their fortunes.
2. Jordan Geist
While most of the reporting and fan commenting around Geist have been dismissive of his impact, Missouri needs him to be a reliable and consistent player this season. Terrence Phillips is firmly entrenched at the Point Guard position but the other ball handlers on the roster are either non-existent or lacking in experience. The Tigers need Geist to be a solid backup Point Guard as well as a consistent performer at the off guard spot. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see him starting early on in the season.
3. Willie Jackson
Jackson might be the fan favorite for freshman breakout performer and there’s a lot of reason to see why. His body is college ready, he’s already an elite athlete and he’s shown at the high school level a nose for rebounding. Rebounding has been such a soft spot on this team for years (taking out the one outlier season with Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi — Mizzou hasn’t been a top level rebounding team since Quin Snyder was on the sidelines). Jackson has been noted to have an, um... developing... offensive game. But if he can provide solid minutes, be good attacking the rim and get some boards, he’ll provide just the impact the Tigers need while he develops the rest of his game.
4. Mitchell Smith
If there is a guy who those around the program feel, overall, will be a surprise it’s Mitchell Smith. Smith is in obvious need to put on and keep weight, but his overall offensive skill and athleticism are there and ready. The more polished of an offensive player he is, the bigger impact he’ll have. The downside is that with his lack of body mass, he’ll likely struggle defensively and on the glass. This doesn’t mean he still won’t be able to play a major role on the team this season.
5. Frankie Hughes
I’m not sure Hughes being a success as a freshman means much, there are likely to be players who are ahead of him right now and at the start of the season, but there are few players on the roster with as high of a ceiling as Hughes. At this point, it would seem that whatever Missouri gets from Hughes will likely be seen as just a bonus. This isn’t to say the Tigers don’t want contributions from Hughes, and he could very well play a large role, it’s just it’s less important for Hughes to have an impact than the players above him.
6. Reed Nikko
Nikko will be an interesting case. Following offseason surgery on his hips, Nikko should be cleared for full basketball contact soon if not already. And with his size (already 6’10 250 lbs) he should be able to contribute right off the bat, maybe the most of any newcomer on the roster. The problem with Nikko is a relatively low ceiling. He’s not particularly the most athletic guy, and may struggle with the ultra-athletic SEC competition. But he’s a big body who should be able to bang around the block as a freshman.
7. Jakoby Kemp
The limited word that surrounds Kemp is concerning. He has, from the video, fairly good athleticism and size for a guy who was so under-recruited and signed in late June. He also had offers and interest from other high major schools. But a 6’10 kid with athleticism and a decent 3-point shot available in late June should give pause before the excitement. If Kemp is playing regular minutes as a freshman, is that good thing? I’d image it would be, from what it appears Kemp has the ability, but any contributions from him should be considered strictly as a bonus.
8. Trevor Glassman
Glassman is a walk-on and played scarce minutes at Manhattan. Like Adam Wolfe yesterday, Glassman isn’t a guy you hope to be counting on at game time. If he’s playing big minutes, that’s a sign of scholarship players either being not good enough, or injured. Neither is a good sign.
9. Brett Rau
I’ve put Rau ninth behind Glassman only because Trevor has a little more experience and has been apart of the program at Missouri a little longer. Rau has some ability to shoot the ball and is a little bit better of an athlete than you might expect, but you don’t want him beating out the players who are on scholarship.
That’s my list. I feel there’s probably more flexibility and discussion to be had on this list than yesterdays. We all have the guys we think we have a larger impact on the roster out of this group. So please, feel free to discuss and disagree. Tomorrow I’ll do one final list and combine the two.