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E.J. Liddell unveils his final five, and some other Missouri recruiting notes

As lists get trimmed and official visits are set, the Tigers are faring well among high-priority targets in the Class of 2019.

FloSports: FloHoops EYBL Session 2 Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri remains in the mix for E.J. Liddell.

Just a few moments ago, and after pushing back his timetable 16 hours, the top-50 talent and combo forward out of Belleville (Ill.) West dropped a list of five finalists, which included MU, Ohio State, Illinois, Kansas State and Wisconsin.

For anyone who has followed Liddell’s recruitment, MU’s presence shouldn’t register as a surprise. Coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff made him one of the earliest prospects in the Class of 2019 to pick up a scholarship offer, extending one in early May 2018. And Martin has been a steady presence at open gyms last fall, on the sidelines for Maroons games over the winter, and under the basket during Brad Beal Elite’s summer slate in Nike’s EYBL.

Over the last two months, though, Ohio State emerged as a slight favorite for Liddell who took an unofficial visit to Columbus in early June, and he is slated to use the first of five official visits for a return trip during the weekend of Sept. 2 as the Buckeye’s open up their football season.

Throughout the process, Liddell and his family have kept their cards close to the vest as he works through his deliberations. What we can divine from his list is longevity and relationships have held sway.

State of Play | Missouri’s Remaining 2019 Offers

Last Name First Name Height Weight Position City State HS/JUCO AAU Offered
Last Name First Name Height Weight Position City State HS/JUCO AAU Offered
Liddell E.J. 6'7" 220 Combo Forward Belleville IL Belleville West Bradley Beal Elite (Nike) 5/10/17
McKinney Mario 6'2" 180 Combo Guard St. Louis MO Vashon Bradley Beal Elite (Nike) 6/18/17
Mosley Isiaih 6'5" 185 Wing Columbia MO Rock Bridge MoKan Elite (Nike) 6/19/17
Beverly Harlond 6'4" 170 Wing Southfield MI Montverde (Fla.) Academy Reach Legends (NY2LA) 10/21/17
Collum Antavion 6'8" 215 Wing Memphis TN Tennessee Prep Team CP3 (Nike) 4/8/18
Thomas Khalid 6'9" 202 Combo Forward Portland OR College of Southern Idaho NA 7/16/18
Braun Christian 6'6" 180 Wing Overland Park KS Blue Valley Northwest MoKan Elite (Nike) 8/3/18

For those suitors, it’s helped that blue bloods haven’t made a concerted effort to enter the fray. During July’s live recruiting period, Duke and North Carolina scouted the 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward, but neither has extended an offer. That’s not to say that avenue is closed off for Liddell, only that — for now — those who put in the most legwork are seeing it rewarded.

In fact, the presence of the Badgers might be a bigger surprise, given the fact they didn’t extend an offer until July 18. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see what, if any, traction coach Greg Gard and his staff make with Liddell.

While the Buckeyes own some momentum, it’s likely Liddell, who is Illinois’ reigning Mr. Basketball, takes other visits and continues to patiently vet his options. Aside from his trip to OSU, no other visits have been announced. His decision is likely to come before Belleville West, the defending Class 4A state champions, open up the regular season.


FloSports: FloHoops EYBL Session 2 Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The rest of the targets on Missouri’s board are all at the same juncture: pruning lists and lining up official visits. Historically, we start to see recruits going off the board in September. So until then, we’re just seeing whether Mizzou gets spots on a dance card.

  • ICYMI: We updated you on Mario McKinney and where the Tigers stand in his recruitment late last week. Early Sunday evening, McKinney re-released a list of seven finalists: Missouri, Kansas State, Auburn, Iowa State, Kansas State, VCU, Oklahoma State and Louisville. Right now, Kansas State has a visit locked in, while others are in the works for Iowa State, Auburn and VCU.
  • Combo guard Rocket Watts released his top-nine list on Aug. 10, and the Tigers survived the cull — again. The top-40 recruit out of Detroit released a top eight last month, only to delete the tweet and say it had been premature. Instead, he wanted to take more time to consult with his family. The end result saw six programs — Michigan State, Oregon, Louisville, Florida State, UConn and Mizzou — retain their spots. A notable exception? Michigan. The Wolverines were long considered the favorite for Watts, but they doggedly pursued D.J. Carton — only to see him commit to Ohio State. Now, the Wolverines are out for Watts. Landing the 6-2, 160 pound prospect is still a heavy lift. But it gets easier with Michigan clipped.
  • Combo forward Tray Jackson hasn’t set a date for an official visit to Mizzou, but the Tigers still look like a prime contender for the top-100 prospect. The only trip locked in at this juncture is to Xavier, which has been busy after locking in a pair of prospects out of Georgia in Elias King and Daniel Ramsey. Jackson had four visits left after using his first to trek to Oklahoma in June.
  • Missouri missed the cut in combo forward C.J. Walker’s top 12. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Cuonzo Martin and the staff blitzed the top-50 talent, who became one of the country’s fastest rising prospects during the July recruiting period. In the end, Walker’s newfound consistency drew the attention of Arizona, which extended an offer, North Carolina and Kentucky. Stalwarts like Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Louisville also stuck around.
  • As for wing Donovan Williams, another top-100 player who blossomed last month, the Tigers were on the outside looking in of his final five. “It came down to SMU and Mizzou for the last spot,” said the 6-5, 185-pound native of Fort Bend, Texas. The fact Missouri was able to jockey into that kind of contention for a recruit who could be tough to pry out of the Lonestar State speaks well to the effort.
  • Wing Antavion Collum remains radio dark with us, but it was reported that he’ll take an official visit the weekend of Sept. 15 to Ole Miss. At Peach Jam, Collum told assembled media it was likely Mizzou, which is among his top seven, would receive an official visit. We’re still waiting to see if that materializes. In the meantime it would seem the Rebels have a solid hold on the top spot for the 4-star athlete.
  • Look for an update with a post later this week on wing Christian Braun, who recently earned a Mizzou offer and could end up being a late steal.