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Future of Mizzou basketball — both of them — got some big boosts on Wednesday

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

1. As expected, both Missouri men’s and women’s hoops picked up some big signatures on Wednesday.

The Missouri men added two four-stars — Mario McKinney and Tray Jackson — to its coffers. This gives Cuonzo Martin seven four or five-star recruits in his three(ish) recruiting classes; between 2010 and 2016, Missouri signed 10 four-or-five star recruits total.

(And, not to beat that dead horse, but, man, hardly any of ‘em actually stayed and contributed for Missouri, outside of the Phil Preseey-Ricardo Ratliffe 2010 class.)

From the MUTigers.com release:

“Tray has the potential to be an immediate impact player in the SEC,” Martin said. “He fits that positionless mold, with the ability to shoot, score at the rim and defend at a high level. The Detroit-to-Mizzou connection has a storied tradition here in Columbia and we’re excited for Tray to join the program and continue that legacy.”

“Mario is an incredible athlete, he’s tough, quick and his ability to attack the rim will help our program immensely,” Martin said. “I know he’s excited to represent his home state and his family legacy at Mizzou, and that’s important to our program. We’re looking forward to him joining the Mizzou Basketball Family next season.”

The news was even better for the Missouri women, who signed the nation’s 11th-ranked recruiting class (according to ESPN) that included two five-star players in Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank, in addition to three-star Micah Linthacum.

And Robin Pingeton didn’t even have to leave the state to do this. From the release:

“Words can’t describe how excited we are about this recruiting class,” said Pingeton. “They are elite level players and high character individuals who will help us continue to elevate our program. The fact that they are from the state of Missouri makes it even that much more special.”

Here’s what ESPN said about the class:

Hear them roar? The Tigers are celebrating a class featuring three in-state stars.

Aijha Blackwell, a 6-foot guard at Whitfield (St. Louis), a USA Basketball gold medalist and the No. 8 prospect in the country, headlines the Tigers’ class.

Hayley Frank, the No. 29 prospect, is the reigning Gatorade player of the year in Missouri. The 6-1 wing at Strafford averaged 24.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.0 blocks as a junior. She also led her team to its third straight state title in 2017-18, topping Blackwell’s team along the way.

Micah Linthacum, a 6-3 post player at Jefferson City, rounds out the class.

And here’s a video from Blackwell’s signing:

2. Dominic Gicinto is really easy to root for.

Especially after reading this article by Mitchell Forde of PowerMizzou.com (it’s free).

This part jumped out to me:

During the summer before his senior year, Dominic attended a recruiting camp on Missouri’s campus. When prospects lined up to run the 40-yard dash, Dominic clocked a blazing time, somewhere around 4.4 seconds, according to wide receivers coach A.J. Ofodile. Then he got right back in line. He wanted to run again, to try to better his time. Odom took notice.

Seems like Odom is hitting on a lot of these under-the-radar guys already, doesn’t it? Tyler Badie, Kam Scott, Gicinto — these guys are coming up big as true freshmen. It’s certainly giving more credence to the fact that Odom, like Gary Pinkel, knows what he’s doing in evaluating talent.

Another part in the article jumped out, when A.J. Ofodile mentioned that they needed to see his senior tape before they offered because “sometimes those senior evals are the most accurate ones.” In my years covering recruiting, this always seemed like an area that Missouri had success — keeping some spots open to be able to see how gifted yet unproductive high school players would develop in their final year. This was especially true with in-state players.

Dom Gicinto is carrying that torch well.


Yesterday at Rock M


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