The season is a wrap, and while we’re still allowed time to say goodbyes to a roster of players who gave Missouri fans hope again, it’s never too early to start talking about next season.
Missouri has some roster moves to make, and a lot of that hinges on who is coming back — particularly the brothers Porter.
Before we discuss the different versions of what the roster could look like, let’s spend a minute to talk about who we think are coming back next season with a little more certainty than others.
The Seniors To-Be
- Kevin Puryear: Mizzou’s part-time starter and full-time leader, Kevin bleeds black and gold more than anyone.
- Cullen VanLeer: Tearing his ACL will certainly muddy the waters for Cullen’s senior year, but he’ll be on scholarship next season.
- Jordan Geist: Proved everyone wrong from last offseason and was a key cog in the Tigers tournament run.
The Lone Junior
- Reed Nikko: The big Minnesotan played limited minutes, and his 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds don’t impress much, but a 17.9 percent defensive rebound rate should.
The Sophomore Bigs
- Jeremiah Tilmon: Probably the biggest and most talented of the group, Tilmon is going to play a major role next season no matter who else is on the roster.
- Mitchell Smith: After rehabbing for a year, Smith could be ready to contribute as a redshirt sophomore.
After the returning players, the Tigers have signed three players, all wings. Torrence Watson, Javon Pickett, and K.J. Santos. Santos evens out the classes a bit by being a sophomore, with both Pickett and Watson entering as freshmen.
Here’s a “what we know” scholarship count, then:
If both Porters leave for the NBA, Cuonzo Martin has a conundrum on how to use his final three scholarships. I think we can all safely say if Courtney Ramey wants to take one of those scholarships, he can have it. Martin has applying the full court press recently.
The obvious need of a point guard aside, Ramey also qualifies as the best player available and sixth-best unsigned senior in the country. Missouri wants him badly, but so do Texas, Oklahoma State, Illinois, SMU, Minnesota, and Ohio State. It’s going to be a really interesting next three to four weeks until Ramey makes a decision, but all signs indicate Missouri is in good shape right now.
After Ramey, things get interesting. Missouri is almost certain to hunt graduate transfers because they’ll be intent on keeping spots open for the 2019 recruiting class, which is deep and talented.
So that would mean two spots for perhaps two graduate transfers?
- PG: Xavier Pinson
- CG: Jordan Geist
- WING: Cullen VanLeer, Javon Pickett, Torrence Watson
- CF: Kevin Puryear, K.J. Santos
- POST: Reed Nikko, Jeremiah Tilmon, Mitchell Smith
With Smith being ready, it frees up the Tigers to pursue a bigger need of ball handlers. Ramey would occupy one spot, but Mizzou would still need one more, likely a combo guard to compete with Jordan Geist. After that, the Tigers would likely look for a scoring wing.
This is of course IF both Porters decide to go to the NBA.
If they decided to stay, though...
Well, let’s talk about that tomorrow.