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Missouri misses out on Justin Turner

The Bowling Green guard’s decision means the Tigers’ will keep hunting for a proven perimeter option.

Bowling Green v Buffalo Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Missouri search for stability on the wing continues.

On Monday, Justin Turner, one of the nation’s best transfer options, opted to stay at Bowling Green, a decision that comes after the Tigers made the two time All-MAC selection their chief target in the spring period.

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Turner’s decision is the latest in a string of developments that have forced coach Cuonzo Martin and his staff to pivot in the past nine months. It started last August when Vashon wing Cam’Ron Fletcher, a top-50 talent and a major priority, chose Kentucky. During the winter, MU drifted out of the race for five-star prospect Josh Christopher, who is set to decide today and is pegged as a Michigan lean.

On the floor, the need was glaring. Torrence Watson bogged down in what could charitably be called a sophomore slump, and while Javon Pickett put forward a handful of solid outings, his overall production doesn’t lend itself to a long-term solution. Late in the season, Martin indicated that the staff envisioned freshman Tray Jackson as a potential option, but that evaporated when the Detroit native transferred last month.

Mizzou’s guard rotation was buoyed by Dru Smith, but often its success hinged on whether Xavier Pinson could shoulder some of the load. Against opponents with smaller front courts, an offense built around two ball-handlers worming into the lane could work. But it only papered over the fact Martin lacked a consistent threat on the wing.

In Turner, the Tigers worked diligently to reel in a one-year stopgap.

Turner’s game could have been melded into a Missouri offense that shifted its approach late in the season. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound guard excels playing out of ball screens and leaning on a refined mid-range game to generate offense. Alongside Dru Smith, Pinson and Mark Smith, Turner would give Martin the balance he needs in his backcourt desperately needs.

The Tigers still have a pair of open scholarships for next season and several options to explore. MU is in the final group for point guard David DeJulius, who is reportedly set to decide this week and would have two years of eligibility remaining. The Tigers are also in the final group for JUCO guard RayQuawndis Mitchell, who profiles as a specialist who would upgrade the program’s perimeter shooting.