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With Caleb Love set to visit, what’s the state of play for Missouri’s recruiting?

The CBC point guard owns the spotlight this weekend and will be a clear priority. But as the Tigers’ board thins out, the search for a center is equally intriguing.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: AUGUST 10 Nike Academy Showcase Game Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

Name Ht/Wt Position City State HS 247Sports
Name Ht/Wt Position City State HS 247Sports
Josh Christopher 6-4/200 Wing Lakewood CA Mayfair 6
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
John Hugley 6-8/220 Post Cleveland OH Brush 93
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.

Jon Lopez / Jon Lopez Creative

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.