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PODCAST: Michael Porter Jr., Cuonzo Martin and Missouri Basketball’s future

The No. 1 recruit in the nation is playing on ESPN tonight; here are recruiting updates and a podcast for you to enjoy until then.

High School Basketball: McDonald's All-American Powerade Jamfest Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome home, faithful listeners! The Zoulogy podcast returns to cover all the hot topics in the MizzoUniverse. Oscar, Dan Keegan, David Morrison are joined by special guest and St. Louis correspondent Martin Winkler in this episode to discuss:

Then we pivot to Missouri football spring practice:

2017 McDonald’s All-American Game

Michael Porter Jr.: The blueprint

Every team at every level of basketball wants a player like Michael Porter Jr. He’s the ideal hybrid forward for the modern game, pairing the size of a big man (6’10) and the skill set of a wing with elite athleticism.

Michael Porter Jr.'s mission to be No. 1

"He might be one of the single most talented guys I've seen come through the program," said B.J. Johnson, assistant direct of USA Basketball. "A guy that has elite size, athletic ability, shooting ability ... he has the total package."

ESPN’s Paul Biancardi has already invoked the name of Paul George as a comparison. The rough outline isn’t hard to see. At 6’10, Porter combines the height of a big man with the skills of a guard. He ties it all together with a special ability to run the floor and finish above the rim. It was on full display during FIBA Americas.

Where: United Center in Chicago, Illinois
When: Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. CT
How to watch: Watch live on ESPN
Who’s Playing:

Pos. Name High School College Pos. Name High School College
F Wendell Carter Pace Academy(Georgia) Duke commit C DeAndre Ayton Hillcrest Prep (Arizona) Arizona commit
G Trevon Duval IMG Academy (Florida) Undecided F Michael Porter Jr. Nathan Hale (Washington) Missouri commit
F P.J. Washington Findlay Prep (Nevada) Kentucky commit G Gary Trent Jr. Prolific Prep (California) Duke commit
G Quade Green Neumann Goretti (Pennsylvania) Kentucky commit F Brian Bowen La Lumiere School (Indiana) Undecided
F Kevin Knox Tampa Catholic (Florida) Undecided G Troy Brown Jr. Centennial (Nevada) Oregon commit
F Nick Richards St. Patrick’s (New Jersey) Kentucky commit G Jaylen Hands Foothills Christian (California) UCLA commit
C Mitchell Robinson Chalmette (Louisiana) Western Kentucky commit F Jaren Jackson Jr. La Lumiere School (Indiana) Michigan State commit
G Collin Sexton Pebblebrook (Georgia) Alabama commit C Brandon McCoy Cathedral Catholic (California) Undecided
G Lonnie Walker Reading (Pennsylvania) Miami commit F Charles O’Bannon Jr. Bishop Gorman (Nevada) USC commit
F Mohamed Bamba Westtown (Pennsylvania) Undecided F Billy Preston Oak Hill Academy (Virginia) Kansas commit
F Kris Wilkes North Central (Indiana) UCLA commit G M.J. Walker Jonesboro (Georgia) Undecided
F Jarred Vanderbilt Victory Prep Academy (Texas) Kentucky commit G Trae Young Norman North (Oklahoma) Oklahoma

McDonald’s All-American recruiting targets

For the record, Kevin Knox’s father played football for Florida State's 1994 national championship and those other programs have really blue-blood. From everything we’ve heard, Knox is looking at which schools can provide maximum minutes and a style of play that showcases his abilities. Just getting Knox to visit may be a coup.

Michael Porter Jr. Working on Recruiting Kevin Knox and Mohamed Bamba to Mizzou

“Michael [Porter Jr.] has really been trying to get me to go to Mizzou,” said Bamba. “He was like, ‘C’mon bro. They have the best facilities.’”

Despite Porter’s efforts, Bamba said that he does not want to take any more visits, saying, “Four was plenty. It’s taken a toll on my mom, father, brother and sister.” He has taken an official to each of his final four schools, visiting Michigan (Sept. 2), Texas (Oct. 28), Kentucky (Jan. 20), and Duke (Feb. 26).

Missouri’s chances for either Bamba or Knox would seem marginal, despite Porter’s talk of working behind the scenes and having “big plans”. That’s not stopping him from trying, and all the more power to him.

A few other recruits to watch

East St. Louis center Jeremiah Tilmon isn’t playing in tonight’s game, but that’s not stopping him from being recruited.

Sharp shooting guard and former Cal commit Jemarl Baker asked out of his NLI and is looking around but so far he hasn’t shown interest in Mizzou.

Shooting guard and Illinois high school player of the year Mark Smith got a visit from Cuonzo Martin last night. The Tigers are probably in the backseat on this one but Smith is the kind of player that fits Cuonzo’s hard-nosed style.

Missouri has contacted former Washington commit, three star forward Mamoudou Diarra. According to this article in the Seattle Times, Diarra was very close with Lorenzo Romar and had not made any other visits prior to committing.

Mamoudou Diarra, a 6-foot-9 forward from Bamako, Mali who played at St. Louis Christian Academy in Missouri, has asked for a release from the national letter of intent he signed with the UW.

“He put in that request awhile ago and we’re expecting to get that any day now,” said Gateway Basketball Club’s Scott Schroepfer, who coahed Diarra’s AAU team. “With the new coach, he’s going to de-commit initially and re-open his recruiting process.”

It just so happens another former Washington big man, Matthew Atewe, is on the market and Missouri has reportedly shown interest. Atewe wouldn’t be a sexy recruit right now as he doesn’t provide the upside of some other names, but he would provide a reliable rebounding and defensive presence plus a one year lease would keep a scholarship spot open for the deep 2018 recruiting class. If needs Missouri to bring a graduate transfer in to fill its need at power forward/center this would be a viable option.

Upcoming Missouri recruiting events to watch

On April 22, 2017, Mizzou point guard commit CJ Roberts as well as women’s basketball recruits Kelsey Winfrey and Elle Brown will be playing in Kansas City at Winnetonka HS. Both women signees were recently named to MBCA all-state team.

You can check out the entire roster here.