Not content to let Mizzou Football have the recruiting headlines to itself for a day, Mizzou Hoops butted in and landed the first piece of its 2018 recruiting class.
MIZZOU!!!!— Javon Pickett (@JavonPickett) June 4, 2017
This was ... unforeseen. A little background:
Pickett first committed to Illinois in January 2016, but several weeks after the school fired coach John Groce in March, Pickett asked the school to release him from his letter of intent. East St. Louis forward Jeremiah Tilmon also asked out of his Illinois letter of intent this spring and signed a financial aid agreement with Mizzou. He's expected to join Martin's program this summer. Pickett said he's close with Tilmon and their relationship played a factor in his decision to choose Mizzou.
"But I didn't talk to him at all," Pickett said. "I never told him about it. It was just a decision I made on my own."
Pickett is a 6’3 shooting guard who ranked 288th in the 2017 class, per the 247Sports Composite. His main strength: he can score the damn basketball. He averaged 25 points per game last year at Belleville East.
He said he was recruited by Saint Louis, Western Kentucky, Indiana State, Milwaukee, Bradley and Drake after getting his release from Illinois, but first spoke with Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin a couple weeks ago.
Picket was originally a member of the Class of 2017. He’ll attend one year of prep school before coming to Columbia, though he hasn’t decided where he’ll play yet.
What is Mizzou getting? They are getting an ultra-smooth scoring wing who consistently put up 20+ points per game every time we saw him play over the last few years. Has the ability to score at all three levels with ease. A year of prep school will allow him to physically prepare for the SEC by concentrating on getting stronger. We expect Pickett to be a very nice addition to Mizzou in the future!
Powerhouse IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., might be an option, but Pickett is still awaiting a recommendation for the best prep-school landing spot, according to Creek.
Pickett’s no longer taking recommendations for his college career.
“One, (Mizzou) is close to home,” he said. “Two, being able to play with (fellow former Illinois signee) Jeremiah (Tilmon) played a role. But with Coach Martin, when I talked to him I just really liked his vibe and his demeanor as an up-tempo guy. His energy level is always high and I just liked that about him a lot. I felt comfortable talking with him and just believe in what they are going to do with the program, the players they brought in now and what they’re going to do in the future.”
Of course, technically Mizzou has a scholarship available for 2017, and technically Mizzou already has a 2018 commit in Jontay Porter. But at this point we’ve stopped playing the technicalities there — it appears common knowledge that Jontay will be reclassifying as a 2017 guy later this summer, which means there is indeed no scholarship available. Pickett decided he really, really wanted to come to Columbia all the same, however, and he’s willing to wait a year to do it.
And as is now customary with Mizzou Hoops, it’s time for one Mizzou commit to go out and recruit others.
He said he was hanging out with E.J. Liddell earlier on Saturday and plans to start recruiting him to Missouri immediately. Liddell is a Belleville native like Pickett and a major target for the Tigers in the 2019 class.
"I'm going to get in his ear real soon," he said.
Okay then! Mizzou has its shooting guard for 2018! Stop hogging the headlines, Cuonzo Martin! Before then, the only hoops news for the weekend was that the new Tigers were moving in. That’s pretty damn exciting in and of itself.