We’re now past one of the last big weekends of the AAU season, and the recruiting picture for Missouri has changed quite a bit since our last recruiting recap. So it’s probably a good time for a new recruiting recap!
I feel like we’ve seen more early commitments from some of top prospects than ever before. It’s obviously an anecdotal observation, but while only three of the top 20 players in the 2018 class (per the 247Sports Composite) have committed, 17 of the next 30 on the list, and 43 of the overall top 100, have already made a verbal commitment.
Mizzou has had several of its targets and early offers already commit, so let’s run down the list:
- Jordan Lathon, the 4-star guard from Grandview, committed to Northwestern.
- Christian Bishop, a 4-star wing from Lee’s Summit West, committed to Creighton.
- Brandon Johns, a 4-star forward from Michigan, committed to ... Michigan.
- Marcus Bingham Jr., a 4-star post from Michigan, committed to ... Michigan State.
- Gabe Brown, a 4-star wing from Michigan, committed to ... Michigan State.
- Ian Steere, a 4-star post from North Carolina, committed to Creighton.
- Mizzou’s top target at wing, Whitfield’s Torrence Watson committed to Ohio State.
Many, including myself, long thought the Tigers were in the driver’s seat with Watson, but I was told early on to watch out for Michigan and Butler, that Chris Holtmann and John Beilein both loved Watson and had made a strong impression on both him and his mother. When Holtmann took the job at Ohio State, the momentum shifted.
Losing Watson was a big deal. Very early on, Cuonzo Martin identified Watson as a top priority and showed Watson interest by tracking him very closely. Perhaps the early start Holtmann got on Watson was too much to overcome, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less of a hit to their plans.
There are still some targets available on the wing, and even some higher rated players. But Watson was their top target, and they missed. So let’s move on to some of the remaining offers who we’ve already discussed.
There’s just a few players who hold Mizzou offers who Mizzou won’t be landing so it’s probably best to get them out of the way.
Nazreon Reid was an early offer from the Tigers, but he’s since released a top 7 without Mizzou on it. The latest trends in the 247 Crystal Ball have Reid leaning towards LSU.
Jarius Hamilton, another early offer before Cuonzo Martin even had a staff in place, never really showed much interest in Mizzou. Most recruiting experts have him staying close to home in North Carolina to either the Tar Heels or the Wolfpack at State.
K.J. Hymes had early interest from Mizzou, but that doesn’t seem to have picked up and gone anywhere in recent weeks and months. Hymes’ struggles in the Peach Jam likely solidified the parting of ways, even with the Tigers need for a big in the class. Hymes always seemed like a difficult pull this far east for a west coast kid, but it looks like that will be a non-starter anyway.
Trending up (?)
Martin’s very first offer as Mizzou’s head basketball coach was to Alex Lomax, a high 3-star, low 4-star point guard from Memphis. Lomax is a solid 5’11 190 lb floor general who plays on Penny Hardaway’s high school and AAU teams. Gabe DeArmond caught up with Lomax at the Peach Jam and Lomax mentioned he was planning a visit to Mizzou which would mean, despite having a glut of Point Guards on the roster the Tigers remain very interested in Lomax.
I’m not sure Mizzou still has much of a shot with Nassir Little, he seems to have blown up in a way that would likely land him at one of the more traditional schools. Arizona has jumped in, with both Florida and (surprisingly) St. John’s being in the close hunt. Oregon, Kansas and UCLA have all thrown their hat in the right as well. Still the Tigers are keeping tabs on the stock rising wing and hope to get him on campus.
Another name to watch is Montez Mathis because he’s very much a Martin prototype. From Maryland, the 4-star wing has Mizzou as one of his top schools after a recent trim down, and I’d be willing to bet the Tigers are in good shape to get a visit. Long term, my guess is it may be difficult for the Tigers to get Mathis off the east coast where Rutgers has made him a primary target in their rebuild, and UConn and Virginia Tech should certainly make things interesting.
When it comes to guys who I think would be magical for Cuonzo Martin, Darius Days is atop that list. Days is a big physical scoring forward who is probably best suited as a small ball four, but has the size and strength to match on both the interior or on the wing. Days has picked up all kinds of offers around the country, and will be difficult to pull out of Florida as the Gators have made him a priority. But if style of play and fit is important, I don’t see a better fit than Martin and Mizzou.
We haven’t talked about him yet, but Jaedon LeDee, a 6’8 combo forward from Houston has a Mizzou offer and is connected to C.J. Roberts via the Texas Hoops scene. Pretty much any target for the next few years from Texas will likely have a relationship with Roberts and his father, who is a fairly prominent figure in the Texas high school hoops scene. He’s got a pretty long list of suitors, we’ll see if Mizzou can withstand the cutdowns that are likely to come soon.
Another name to watch: multiple sources have mentioned Mizzou as a player for four-star Chicago small forward Talen Horton-Tucker. I've yet to see any sufficient evidence that Mizzou is a real player for him, but I could be wrong.
Mizzou has also been tracking Kaden Archie, another Texas wing, but since they haven’t offered I’m not going to go too into depth.
Jericole Hellums, 6-6 190 lb 3-star Wing, Chaminade Prep, St. Louis MO
If you missed it over the weekend, Jericole Hellums absolutely blew up. Hellums is a 3-star wing who attends Chaminade Prep in St. Louis, and went from a lightly recruited player with one or two offers a week ago, to picking up 16 new offers since the start of the Peach Jam. Wichita State, VCU, Pitt, Florida State, Arkansas, Boston College, Florida, Ole Miss, Illinois, Wake Forest, Pitt, GWU, UMass, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, and Missouri all offered Hellums, and supposedly South Carolina had already set up a date for him to come visit. Pre-Peach Jam, Hellems was the 10th rated player in Missouri and the 389th in the country and now he can almost pick where he wants to play.
We’ll see how things play out, but the Tigers need a wing and Hellums has certainly proven at this point he can play at the highest level. His situation will be one to track moving forward.
Duane Washington, 6-3 180 lb 3-star PG, GR Christian, Grand Rapids, MI
Washington held a lot of Missouri interest from the previous staff and had even been on campus for an unofficial visit about a year ago. Washington is being looked at as a late bloomer type and is the son of former NBA basketball player of the same name and is also the older brother of Derek Fisher. Washington has good size for the position and is already very fundamentally sound. SMU, Clemson, UNLV and Mizzou have all jumped on board with offers recently.
What feels weird about the Washington offer is he’s a similar player, but lower ranked than Jordan Lathon, who was an instate kid they didn’t offer.
T.J. Moss, 6-3 175 lb 3-star CG, East High School, Memphis, TN
Moss is Alex Lomax’s high school teammate, but the two do not play AAU together. Moss was offered a short while ago and is more of an off guard than a point guard, it would be interesting to see if Mizzou pursues Moss and Lomax together. Moss is a nice player with a soft jumper who has several other high major offers, so it remains to be seen how serious the courtship with Missouri is.
Blessed to receive an offer from the University of Missouri ! #GoTigers #SEC pic.twitter.com/jy1rXRFcZz— Justin Ahrens•• (@ahrensjustin12) July 17, 2017
Justin Ahrens, 6-5 180 lb Wing, Versailles High, Versailles OH
Ahrens was offered last night and recently backed off his commitment to Ohio State after Thad Matta was let go, bu I don’t think anyone would be surprised to see him recommit. Ohio kids usually grow up dreaming of playing at OSU, that said Arenas doesn’t have the relationship with the current staff so it’s possible another school could sneak in. However Xavier has already hopped on, along with Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and Texas A&M.
So that’s the overall picture right now. We’ll have more as things flesh out over the next few months. If I had to pin point the top names to keep an eye on it would be Lomax, Mathis, Days and Hellums. I also think there are likely a few more targets out there we don’t yet know about, but the coming months are going to be interesting for Mizzou basketball recruiting.