If you’ve given up keeping track of the NCAA transfer portal, frankly I don’t blame you. Whether your sport is basketball or football or whatever, the portal has been crazy.
Mizzou men’s basketball has seen the largest exodus with six players, the women’s team has only seen the exit of Senior Shug Dickson so far, and there’s even been a few surprising transfers on the Football side. Earlier this week, both Z’Core Brooks and Jamal Brooks entered the portal, leaving Mizzou without any more Brooks. But the Brooks Brothers (they’re not really brothers but that defeats the purpose of the joke) weren’t the only players to enter the portal. Aidan Harrison and walk-on punter Aaron Rodriguez also announced their intentions to move on. Then a relatively surprising exit was announced yesterday:
It’s less surprising to see players leave when they don’t contribute much, but Markell Utsey played and played a lot for the Tigers this past year. He fought through a few injuries and missed some time, but he played in seven games and amassed 19 tackles from the defensive tackle position. But with the spring game behind us, and the early stacking of the depth chart laid out, it’s likely with the emergence of some of the newer imports, Utsey wasn’t sure the amount of snaps he’d see in Columbia.
And sometimes that’s how these transfers end up happening. It’s not that Utsey couldn’t help Missouri next year; he very clearly could have. He did this past year, but was that the role he wanted to have in his last year of college ball?
Pivot to Dickson and it’s the same situation. She has one more year to play, and while she played a lot this past year, she wasn’t starting and it was clear coach Robin Pingeton had focused the starting point guard minutes towards freshman Mama Dembele, and used Dickson as a steadying presence off the bench. With just a single season left, Dickson wanted a different role... so the portal beckons.
I wrote a few weeks back about the portal providing opportunity, and nothing has changed. At the time I was more focused on how Cuonzo Martin was going to use the portal, and I didn’t spend very much time talking about the other side of it. The player’s side. Which is really what the portal is about, it was created to give the players agency.
For Torrence Watson, his new home in a lower level will allow him to play through more mistakes. He’ll be put in position to be the kind of attacking player he was in high school. For Parker Braun, he moves to a league where he’ll likely be able to play more of the four, and won’t likely have to defend too many brutish centers. Mark Smith gets to play another season, gets a little more ball handling responsibility, and hopefully refines his skills a bit.
Who knows exactly what Xavier Pinson is looking for, but I hope he finds it in Baton Rouge. Maybe it was just the bag we know Will Wade can provide — #jokes. Ed Chang can find playing time, Drew Buggs can find a larger role... each guy can try to find a situation they feel better suits them. The good, smart, and prudent move for Eli Drinkwitz, Martin and Pingeton would be to support those decisions in any way possible. Mainly because it allows them to create new opportunities as well.
I’m not sure how deep into the recruitment was with Daniel Oladapo, but he named a top two of Cal State Fullerton and Wright State... so I’d wager not THAT deep.
Oakland transfer Dan Oladapo (@YGDapo) has named his top two: Wright State and Cal State Fullerton.— jake lieberman (@jakelieberman2) April 16, 2021
Averaged 12.9 PPG and 8.8 RPG this season.
I would have included the tweet where he announced it but it’s been deleted. What does that mean? I have no idea. To me, it comes down to what sort of role he’s looking for, and I’m not sure the role at Missouri would be very big. For some players it’s about playing on the biggest stage they can find, while for others they’re more concerned about possessions, shots, and the role on the team.
If Oladapo deleting the tweet means he’s still contemplating, then I think you still try to get him on board. As I said last week, I like Oladapo as a role guy filling minutes at the five. If him deleting the tweet was just normal hijinks and those are really his top two, I hope Missouri is in good position with other players.
Langston Wilson doesn’t quite fit the profile of a five man, he’s more of an athletic combo forward... but there aren’t many true fives left in the portal, and also even fewer who we know Missouri has been tied to. That’s the struggle.
There are guys out there: there’s Joey Brunk, Oumar Ballo, Tanner Groves, Sterling Manley, Chiekh Mbacke Diong, Tre Mitchell... and a lot of others. But who is Mizzou going after? That’s the question we’re trying to answer.