Welp, it’s that time of year: time to flip the calendar. Metaphorically.
Mizzou is set to return three regular starters in junior forward Kevin Puryear, junior point guard Jordan Geist and freshman center Jeremiah Tilmon, plus sophomore center Reed Nikko and redshirt freshman forward Mitchell Smith, who sat out this season while recovering from knee surgery. Junior guard Cullen VanLeer will undergo knee surgery in the coming weeks and is expected to need around nine months to recover.
Joining the returning players will be, at least, four players signed in the 2018 recruiting class. Highlighting that class is Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year Torrence Watson. The 6-foot-5 guard is ranked No. 84 nationally by ESPN and averaged 31.9 points per game in his senior season at Whitfield. Here is a story I did on the incoming freshman earlier this season.
With Watson, Missouri signed Javon Pickett and K.J. Santos, both junior college transfers. Xavier Pinson, a point guard from Chicago’s powerhouse Simeon Career Academy, has verbally committed.
Missouri has also offered Webster Groves standout Courtney Ramey, who remains the highest ranked unsigned point guard in the 2018 class.
“Whoever returns, we’re going to be glad who we have,” Puryear said. “We have a lot of talent. Still a bright future for Missouri basketball.”
Now there’s that whole “waiting to find out what Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter will do” thing to wait on. This is probably going to take a little while.
Porter Jr. said he had not made a decision yet about whether to declare for the NBA Draft, and he does not intend to do so for “a little while.” But if his MU career is over, he said he hopes fans remember it as a “good” one in which he gave his best effort.
“I would hope that they would see that, but I didn’t play to probably their expectations,” he said.
“Or my expectations,” Porter Jr. added.
Yep, a little while.
Jontay Porter has been climbing up draft boards this season, especially as his play has improved late. Sitting a few feet from his brother, after the game, the co-SEC sixth man of the year said he hasn’t even thought about leaving early.
“I just heard different people telling me about mock drafts and whatnot. I have a lot of things to weigh in,” said the younger Porter brother. “I took as long as I could for the reclassify decision, so I’d imagine it will be a long process before I decided.”
Honesty is good, right?
This Weekend at Rock M
This weekend stunk. But the writing was good hopefully.
- Mizzou Wrestling did score four more All-Americans in Grant Leeth, Jaydin Eierman, Daniel Lewis, and Willie Miklus this weekend at NCAAs, but sixth place was definitely not what the Tigers had in mind heading into the tournament. Tough finish for Team Tigerstyle.
- Despite Sophie Cunningham’s best efforts, this weekend very much did not go as planned for Mizzou Women’s Basketball either. Robin Pingeton’s Tigers evidently ran out of gas a few games ago. It’s got her thinking about how else she can elevate the program.
- Women’s Swimming and Diving managed a 15th-place finish at nationals in Columbus, setting four school records in the process.
- Well, Mizzou Baseball is no longer winless all-time against LSU, at least. The Tigers only managed to take one of three in Baton Rouge, though, losing 4-2 on Friday, winning 12-6 on Saturday, and losing 7-5 on getaway day. (As you’re probably getting used to by now, we’ll have more on the series from Ryan Herrera later this morning.)
- Mizzou Tennis fell just short in Baton Rouge as well.
- Mizzou Softball, meanwhile, had a similar weekend. The Tigers fell to No. 20 Mississippi State by a 4-0 margin on Friday, ended a six-game losing streak with a 7-3 win on Saturday, and dropped the series with a 6-3 loss on Sunday.