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Rock M Mailbag: How will Missouri choose to dole out its two 2017 basketball scholarships?

Sam Snelling answers your questions about the state of Missouri recruiting.

Missouri v Arizona

One of our regular Rock M Nation commenters, MoonEqualsD who sent me a 5-part question via email. I thought his questions were something more people might like to hear, so here’s my first ever Mailbag-type post. We’ll jump off this train with MoonEqualsD’s 5-parter:

Q1. Are there any 5-star recruits we actually have at least a chance in getting for 2017? 2018? I say no, we never get 5 stars even when our program is good.

In the 2017 class Missouri had offered 10 5-star players, and none of them are even on Mizzou’s radar any longer. As far as 2018, Missouri really hasn’t offered many of the ‘18 5-stars, and I think they’re out of the running for the few they have offered.

Q2. Same question for 4 star recruits, specifically no doubt they are a 4 star ranking, not a border line 4 star.

In the 2017 class the Tigers have offered a bunch of 4-star players and at this point they still have an outside shot with Jordan Goodwin, but it’s a long shot at best. I know that Goodwin’s dad likes the coaches at Mizzou, but I don’t see Goodwin ending up at Missouri because of that. They just haven’t won enough games, and Goodwin has a chance to play for legitimate NCAA Championship contenders. The only other 4-star they seemed to be in good shape with recently was Victor Bailey, Jr. The problem there is Missouri doesn’t seem to be in love with Bailey enough to make him a priority, which they’d need to do to pull him out of Texas.

2018 might be a little bit of a different story, they seem to be in good shape with Torrence Watson, as they’ve made him a big priority. I’ve been told by some sources in St. Louis that Courtney Ramey has told Missouri he isn’t interested. And Carte’Are Gordon seems to be a severe long shot. There’s a couple guys that are 3-stars who could eventually see themselves as 4-stars, like Jordan Lathon or Fred Thatch who have Missouri interest.

Q3. Or is 2018 our best chance of landing these types of recruits based on our results for this coming year?

Mizzou needs to win if they want to land some impact ‘18 kids, but there are a bunch in the class who are very good players and like Mizzou right now. The aforementioned Fred Thatch, Jordan Lathon and Torrence Watson are all perimeter guys to keep an eye on. But if Missouri doesn’t win this season, I’m not sure this coaching staff is the one trying to sign those kids. If Missouri is winning enough games for Kim Anderson to keep his job, I think they can make a real run at those players. But also keep in mind the 2018-19 team may not have a bunch of scholarships to give out if Anderson stays and is able to stem the tide of turnover on the roster. A 2018-19 team could potentially feature five seniors, five juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.

Overall, if the Tigers win only a moderate amount of games, say 14, and Kim is brought back... it’s going to be incredibly difficult to sign these players as all of them are seeing their stock rise and their options expand.

Q4. Are there any on your hot board that you feel we actually have a good chance to get? Seems very few that make it on the board end up here, no matter who the coach is.

Well, on average a school like Missouri will hand out 30-40 offers in a given class. If you look at the top ranked players, most of those kids have 20 to 30 offers. It takes a while to figure out who is interested back. Couple that with the fact that Kim Anderson has really only been on the job for a few years, he’s still trying to figure out who is and isn’t interested in him and Missouri, plus Missouri hasn’t been very good... it doesn’t make up to be an attractive place. It also has to do with prioritization, and Missouri hasn’t completely prioritized a few 2017 kids. Last season Missouri really prioritized Mitchell Smith and Willie Jackson, and they got both. Once they figure out who they want to prioritize I think they’ll be able to land somebody we’re happy about, I’m skeptical that there is a 2017 kid currently on the hot board who ends up at Missouri right now though.

Q5. If Anderson and staff have done all the leg work to develop a relationship with a 4-5 star recruit and then the coaching change happens, does that pretty much ruin the chances of getting that player(s)? Seems like history tells us, yes, may as well forget about landing that player if we have a coaching change.

It would depend on who the hire is to be honest. If Missouri hires an unproven mid-major coach with no track record of success at the Power 5 level and no history with the NBA, they aren’t likely to attract bigger name players. If they hire a coach with a proven track record they’ll be able to attract those 2018 players. On the flip side, if Missouri keeps Kim Anderson and allows those relationships to run their course, but Missouri isn’t winning and competing to go to the NCAA tournament, then they aren’t likely to land 4 & 5-star players no matter how well they’ve developed the relationship.

Cass via email: From what I can gather, Tate was brought on to bring in a recruiting bump in St. Louis. Sneed. Cook. Tilmon. Tatum.... We missed on all of those guys. How close were we to landing any of those guys. And has Tate been able to help with eastern Missouri recruiting (or recruiting in general)despite not landing any of those guys?

Corey Tate was brought in for a variety of reasons, but the main selling point on his candidacy was the fact that he was a St. Louis native, a Missouri alum, and well connected with the power brokers of St. Louis hoops... the St. Louis Eagles.

Part of the problem with that selling point is that while Tate has good relationships with the people that run the Eagles, the Eagles brass has long held a position of hands off when it came to steering players one way or the other in recruiting. On top of that I’ve been told the 2016 group of Eagles weren’t close with Tate at all.

So the connection to guys like Tatum, Cook and Snead was minimal at best. Tilmon has long been an Illinois lean as well. So how close was Missouri to landing those guys? Based upon my info? Not close. At all.

Tate has helped improve relationships in St. Louis and eastern Missouri, and the best case so far is how well they’re doing with Torrence Watson and Fred Thatch. Whether or not it pays off remains to be seen but I think it’s safe to say that Tate’s impression on the coaching staff to date has left a lot to be desired.

I would not be surprised to see Larry Boyd finally pull the trigger, he’s long been pinned as a heavy Mizzou lean. I also think you could see one more commit, but Mizzou is fighting with some big time schools for some big time names still, so I still think this class comes together much later than usual.

The benefit of Drew Lock’s obsession with Chipotle is it does a great job of keeping his hips fluid on his throwing motion. A major plus for maintaining accuracy.

Missouri targeted Willie Jackson and Mitchell Smith (two guys that were solid gets) later in the summer. And Frankie Hughes they got in the spring. So I don’t think they’re doomed. If Kim Anderson stays in control and Mizzou improves significantly this season, then that will be because of the progress of guys in the 2016 and 2016 classes. They only have two 2017 scholarships to dole out right now, so the Tigers are going to be methodical and make sure they find the right fit. I doubt we’ll see anyone that excites people the way a four or five star kid would, but I think they’ll add an athletic wing and a solid post player and hope they get better on the floor enough to develop who they have.

IF IF IF (I have to phrase things this way I know who reads these things) Mizzou hires a new staff in the spring, part of who they can target will depend on who they hire and how many of the previous staffs players return. There’s enough talent in the last two classes to want a majority of those guys to stick around, at least in the short term. So I would think a coach would want to take over the roster and run with who is there and hope for the best in season one. Any new staff won’t have the worry that Kim Anderson has now, and that’s if he’ll be back next season.