Later today, point guard Caleb Love will check into a room at the Broadway Hotel and find candy strewn on his bed and a welcome note from the Missouri coaching staff.
Such is life when you’re being feted on an official visit. As Sam Snelling will detail in a piece today, Missouri gets the first crack at pitching the CBC product, who has landed a coveted fifth star and moved up to No. 20 in Rivals’ index. And a week from now, Mehlville post Davion Bradford, who sits rated 131st nationally by Rivals, will be in town.
After that, the docket gets murky and reflects the somewhat opaque nature of MU’s recruiting board as prospects around the country pare down lists and set itineraries.
As we sit here in early September, roughly half of the 25 players holding offers from Missouri have purged the Tigers. And of the remaining baker’s dozen, nearly half are probably realistic options at this point in the process. So it only makes sense to work through to get a loose sense of the board.
Mizzou Recruiting Board | Class of 2020 — September
|Jalen Suggs||6-4/185||Combo Guard||Minneapolis||MN||Minehaha||16|
|Isaiah Jackson||6-9/190||Combo Forward||Southfield||MI||Waterford Mott||20|
|Caleb Love||6-3/175||Combo Guard||St. Louis||MO||CBC||22|
|Adam Miller||6-3/165||Point Guard||Chicago||IL||Morgan Park||30|
|Ryan Kalkbrenner||7-0/210||Post||St. Louis||MO||Trinity Catholic||68|
|Ty Berry||6-4/180||Point Guard||Newton||KS||Newton||120|
|Davion Bradford||6-10/240||Post||St. Louis||MO||Mehlville||132|
|Scooby Johnson||6-6/180||Wing||Benton Harbor||MI||Benton Harbor||173|
|Ebenezer Dowuona||6-10/220||Combo Forward||Newnan||GA||The Heritage School||229|
|Chanse Robinson||6-0/170||Point Guard||Grambling||LA||Lincoln Prep||NR|
|Ronnie DeGray||6-7/220||Wing||Parker||CO||Woodstock Academy|
Last weekend, John Hugley, a post out of Brush High School near Cleveland, used his first official visit to take in North Carolina State. On Wednesday, Hugley told a reporter the Wolf Pack are currently atop his list of suitors but planned to make additional visits to Pitt, Kansas State, Missouri, and Miami. However, no date has been set. What we do know is Sept. 20 is off the table; Hugley is visiting the Hurricanes that weekend.
Meanwhile, Trinity Catholic’s Ryan Kalkbrenner, who continues to ascend recruiting rankings swiftly, has already used two of his visits to see Stanford and Purdue. Earlier this week, 247Sports’ Brian Snow noted that the ground has shifted in the race ($) for Kalkbrenner’s pledge, moving away from Illinois toward the Cardinal, Boilermakers and Creighton.
All of the buzz around Kalkbrenner is with Purdue, Creighton and to some extent Stanford right now, and a decision does not seem very far away from being made.
This is a big official visit for the Boilermakers who have come on very strong in this recruitment and continue to be a major factor. It is possible that the Boilers get it done this weekend with Kalkbrenner, and that would close out their class.
Kalkbrenner opting for Purdue or Stanford wouldn’t be shocking, either. The Cardinal has been a mainstay from the start. Meanwhile, the Boilers’ track record of integrating traditional centers within a modern scheme meshes with top-flight academics. That’s a boon for Kalkbrener, who has mentioned chemical engineering as a potential major.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ options on the wing remain fluid. Josh Christopher, who already took one official visit to Columbia last October, has set a return date to see MU take on Florida. (The dates for MU’s SEC slate have not been released.) At the moment, the conventional wisdom holds that Kentucky is in prime position, and as Sam outlined in late July, Mizzou likely faces an uphill climb.
Lastly, Carlos Johnson, who is a top-three prospect in Michigan, has not cut down his list or passed along dates for visits. A source in Michigan told me he thinks Butler might be in prime position, but Missouri is still in the picture for the Benton Harbor product. “Obviously, (assistant coach) Cornell (Mann) is involved,” the source said. “Butler and Michigan State are the names most prominently associated with him.”
Looking at Mizzou’s football schedule — a good proxy for an official visit calendar — the coaching staff probably has three weekends left open to host prospects before they can ink letters of intent in early November. It’ll be interesting to see whether those are booked. Of the six possibilities listed here, Kalkbrenner and Hugley bear the most monitoring.
As we noted on Dive Cuts, Mizzou may only have to fill two scholarships this recruiting cycle, one of which is probably ticketed for a big to replace Reed Nikko. Of the three big men, Bradford, who was at Kansas State last weekend, might be the most viable option. The St. Louis native will likely take wrap up all of his visits, which includes one to SLU.
Securing a visit from a second big at least offers the prospect of insurance if Bradford decides Manhattan will be home. Given the buzz that Kalkbrenner might be closing in on a decision, I’m keen to see if the staff convinces Hugley to trek west to Columbia. While MU offered Hugley in April, Mann has been a presence since at least last fall, but so have Jeff Capel and Pitt, who for a while were deemed the likeliest destination.
Like Bradford, Hugley is physically developed, working on adding face-up elements and becoming comfortable defending in space. Those attributes should help each avoid being played off the floor. While Kalkbrenner’s ceiling might be higher, either Bradford or Hugely might be able to soak up early minutes.
It should go without saying that surmounting the odds to keep Love home would be a coup for Martin and his staff, but Nikko’s graduation and the potential departure of Jeremiah Tilmon make scoring a traditional center a priority. As this recruiting cycles worn on, filling that hole’s slowly become a focal point of discussion.
Soon enough, we’ll know whether a staff that moves in silence has checked off that box.