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Everyone is starting to talk about Dru Smith

The Evansville transfer is ready to take the court and he’s stepping into the limelight.

Everyone is starting to catch on. Dru Smith is pretty good at basketball.

If you’ve been paying attention to this space, we’ve been on the Dru Smith train in a big way since... well since before he committed.

Now Dru Smith is starting to get the regular coverage he deserves:

Rock M Nation’s own Ryan Herrera, pulling double duty with the Missourian, had a tremendous lede to his piece on Smith:

As soon as he sat on a stool on the court of the Mizzou Arena practice gym Friday, Missouri guard Dru Smith was surrounded by a group of reporters.

Smith was calm and collected as he spoke about his excitement for the upcoming season, his second in Columbia.

He isn’t nervous about getting on the floor with the Tigers. In fact, his confidence in front of the cameras proves just how much he’s relishing his first opportunity to put on that Missouri uniform and take the court.

This says a lot about Smith and his preparedness for the role he’s about to take on. In a way he’s been able to prepare for this over the last year. Working silently to show everyone what he’s capable of.

We’ve long projected Smith as a starter as long as he’s eligible to play. Evansville didn’t support his post-transfer waiver request and Smith had to sit out, but had he been eligible to play last year he would have been a starter.

Smith’s sophomore season numbers at Evansville were elite and underrated, especially considering the Purple Aces weren’t very good. Even with a losing record in the Missouri Valley Conference play, Smith still put up ridiculous offensive numbers of 115.5 Ortg, a 71.3% true-shooting percentage (SEVENTY ONE POINT THREE!!!!), and a 37.5% assist rate. Even with those offensive numbers Smith was still largely known as one of the best defenders in the Valley, something that has seemingly translated with ease during his time at Missouri.

Torrence Watson heaped high praise onto him as well:

“I’m not going to say he’s a perfect player, but he’s probably the closest that I’ve seen to it,” Missouri wing Torrence Watson said. “He’s one of the hardest guys to guard and he’s also a great defender as well. And then he’s a great leader. He really leads by example. You see him go hard every day, you see him getting up shots every day. It doesn’t go unnoticed that Coach never has to say anything to him.”

Not having to say anything to a player is tough to find. It’s exciting to think about the Missouri basketball season forthcoming with Cuonzo Martin having a (former purple) Ace up his sleeve.

Mizzou offers 4-star Combo Guard in 2021 class

Malaki Branham achieves a rare feat, a 2021 offer from Missouri. He’s a top 50 player right now out of Akron, OH and in fact plays at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s. If that school sounds familiar it’s because it was LeBron James high school. The offer marks the 8th sent out by the staff, and only the fourth since May 1st. The summer months are usually a time when a lot of offers go out to juniors-to-be, but the Mizzou staff has been playing a slower game. The other seven offers have been to:

  • Jaden Hardy — top 10 combo guard
  • Patrick Baldwin — top 10 wing
  • Chet Holmgren — top 10 post
  • Kennedy Chandler — top 30 PG
  • Bryce Hopkins — top 100 combo forward
  • Ahmad Bynum — top 100 combo guard
  • Kaleb Brown — not ranked combo guard (Kobe’s younger brother)

Brandon Kiley had someone named Bill Connelly on his True Son podcast to talk about Kelly Bryant: