For plainly obvious reasons, Michael Porter Jr. has drawn a lot of nearby headlines since he committed to Missouri back in the spring. That almost makes it easy to overlook the other blue-chipper in this Tiger signing class, Jeremiah Tilmon. But he’s making waves of his own in practice so far.
“He can get whatever position he wants,” Barnett said. “… When a rebound goes up, he’s so hard to box out. He’s a bull down there. That’s the biggest thing that’s shocked me honestly. I didn’t think he’d be that strong at such a young age.”
Everybody who’s matched up with Tilmon at practice this summer comes away impressed.
“Even coming here, he’s way better than I expected him to be,” Porter said. “We played together a few years ago, but he’s a monster.”
Meanwhile, Terrence Phillips, who threw out the first pitch at Friday’s Mizzou Night at Busch Stadium event, has some goals with this newfound roster of scorers he has at his disposal.
“I really would like to lead the SEC and hopefully the NCAA,” he told me Thursday in Columbia. “With the roster that we have, I feel like I could do it. As we get closer to the season, I’ll really sit down and come up with a realistic goal — and maybe even an unrealistic goal, something I can really strive for and go get.”
I’m not bold enough to predict that he’ll do it, but Phillips averaged 4.4 assists per game on a team that couldn’t shoot. He assisted 19 percent of Missouri’s buckets last year, and he could have easily been in the 5s with decent shooters for teammates. Now he’s got a new set of shooters and finishers. He should get into the 5s or 6s at least.
Of course, the national leader last year was at 7.6 per game, and nine players averaged 6.5 or more. That bar might be too high, but I more than encourage him to shoot for it. Er, pass for it. (Meanwhile, the SEC leader was, I believe, at 4.6 per game. Too easy.)
- Preview season continues: the Post-Dispatch’s Dave Matter looks at Drew Lock, Damarea Crockett, and the Tiger receiving corps, and the Trib’s Blake Toppmeyer searches for play-makers on defense. (Speaking of previews, my South Carolina preview for SBN went up on Friday, Vandy goes up today, and Mizzou goes up tomorrow.)
- Four-star Mizzou linebacker commit Chad Bailey doesn’t lack for confidence. “I’m going to text Coach [DeMontie] Cross right now and tell him I’m going to beat his record.” PowerMizzou breaks down his film, and Rivals’ Josh Helmholdt talks about the importance of Daniel Parker Jr.’s commitment as well.
- Jim Sterk’s original goal was to have Mizzou’s new south end zone project on the curators’ agenda for approval by the end of July, but it appears that won’t happen. Now they’re aiming for “end of the summer.”.
- Karissa Schweizer: USTFCCCA indoor track scholar athlete of the year. But of course.
- Women’s hoops star Sophie Cunningham has elected to pass on attending the USA Basketball women’s U23 team camp and trying out for the U23 Four Nations Tournament. The reasoning: “I want to be as healthy as I can for the season and hopefully we have a long season. I don’t think right now, with my back, that it would be the best option. My back is doing a lot better, but I don’t want to have any setbacks.” Meanwhile, meet a couple more of your new Tigers.
- Mizzou and Rock Bridge alum Tom Hart is moving up in the world. He’ll be doing the Saturday night SEC games on SEC Network in place of the retired Brent Musburger.