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Mark Smith enters the transfer portal

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Et tu, Mark Smith? But seriously, he wasn’t expected back so what are we talking about exactly?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Missouri at Oklahoma Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

Didn’t we just do this yesterday?

Sort of. I talked yesterday about Pinson leaving and Amari Davis joining the team, but I really wrote it Friday night and published it early Saturday. We’d had some info that Parker Braun was likely gone this weekend, but I don’t think anyone expected it to be before I got out of bed. For the record, PowerMizzou posted their article before 8 am, Matt published 35 minutes later, and I made a little edit around 9am... but nothing worth talking about.

Needless to say, I was forced to update the scholarship graphic again by removing fair Parker Braun from the list of juniors. Then later, it was reported by Dave Matter that Mark Smith was also in the portal.

Smith was technically a senior, but with the impact of COVID everyone was basically given a blank slate with their eligibility this season. Cuonzo Martin seemed to be steering his senior class towards moving on, which I completely agree with. I honestly think it’s weird that we had basically a full season completely with an NCAA tournament and we’re giving everyone a do-over.

If you want to keep playing, but maybe aren’t quite sure about a professional career overseas, then why not? So it makes sense, and for Mark to be contacted by other coaches, he has to be in the portal. So sure, why not?

Parker Braun is a different story though. Parker, I guess, was technically expected back next year... inasmuch as anyone is expected back these days. But if you followed the Parker saga over the last few years, and listened to the weird rumors about his family and their reactions to things... well, this isn’t a big shock. It’s probably more of a surprise he played for the Tigers this season.

Anyway, to the (updated) graphic:

mizzou basketball scholarship count 3-27-21

My take on Braun bolting is this above, basically: Mizzou needs some open slots to work with and Parker vacates after providing less than replacement level defense, and about replacement level offense. He showed flashes, yes. He can shoot a little bit, he’s got some bounce, but he wasn’t a competitive rebounder or a good defender, and it’s hard to find minutes for a guy like that in the post.

Now Missouri has two spots to work with instead of one. Losing Braun means they’re probably looking at another post player this spring as well, position by class:

mizzou basketball roster by class 3-27-21

For simplicity’s sake, I moved Kobe to the wing and left Ed Chang at the Combo Forward in the junior class. But realistically, you can break the rest of the current roster down into three categories:

  • Ball Handlers: Anton Brookshire, Amari Davis, Kaleb Brown
  • Bigs: Jordan Wilmore, Yaya Keita
  • Others: Torrence Watson, Javon Pickett, Kobe Brown, Sean Durugordon, Ed Chang, Trevon Brazile

If you can find a wing scorer, I don’t think you turn it down... but man, I’d feel a lot better about things with another big and another ball handler.

Turnover in droves

We used to spend a fair amount of time on roster turnover, as it felt like Kim Anderson was moving out half of his roster every year. Since taking over the job, Cuonzo Martin has largely kept the roster bleed to a minimum. As we’ve seen with the rest of the portal entries, that’s been the exception to the rule these days. Roster churn has become more of an issue around the country and until this season the turnover has been really limited.

Well...

Five seniors are gone (we expect anyway, at least one — Mark Smith — is officially gone).

Two more underclassmen have entered the portal, meaning we’re at a minimum replacing seven of the 13 scholarships.

Which is more than 50% of the roster for the first time since the ** checks notes ** 2012 offseason, when Frank Haith turned over 7 spots. We’ve had several seasons of adding six players, and there were a few mid-year transfers that put the overall season to season turnover at 8 players. But never have there been more than seven new faces starting with the summer session in June since 2012. Basically when Frank had to completely rebuild the roster hole left by Mike Anderson. He imported Ryan Rosburg, Tony Criswell, Stefan Jankovic, Dominique Bull, Alex Oriakhi, Negus Webster-Chan, and Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson was a sit--out transfer, the rest were immediately eligible.

At we’re at the AT LEAST part of the offseason. Who knows what the rest holds?