So apparently while I was in another country, Dennis Gates, the Whitten Family Men’s Basketball Head Coach, landed a commitment from one of the top Junior College players in the country.
Since Matt Harris already walked you through the commitment and who Curt Lewis is, and I’m sure we’ll have more on him as some additional film becomes available, we still need to talk about how Lewis fits into the roster. Most notably, no commitment is really complete around here until we unleash the Scholarship Count graphic on the general public. And since I hold the keys to that graphic, it had to wait until I got back. So sorry for any delays to the few who look forward to the updates.
A small issue these days is we’re still dealing with extra years thanks to the COVID pandemic. Anyone who was on a college roster during the 2020-21 season is eligible for an additional year of college. So first, the graphic, and then we’ll talk about the extra COVID year:
Players on the online roster are listed by the year they are in school. So even Sean East II and Noah Carter are listed as seniors, along with Kobe Brown and Isiaih Mosley. Nick Honor is a graduate student. So to say this is complicated is selling things short.
Let’s start with who can’t come back: Deandre Gholston, Tre Gomillion, D’Moi Hodge.
Who can come back next season? Everyone who isn’t Gholston, Gomillion, or Hodge. Kobe Brown is a senior, so he’s also got an additional year to play if he wants it. The same can be said for Isiaih Mosley and Nick Honor. East and Carter are in their senior seasons, but each have one more year to play and they are expected back.
Mohamed Diarra is listed as a junior online, but he technically has two years to play after this one. Ronnie DeGray III’s freshman season at UMass coincided with the COVID season, so he’s a junior, but has two more years to play after this one. Kaleb Brown and Aidan Shaw both hit the roster after the COVID season, so everything is normal for them. Brown has two years after this one, Shaw has three. Also, Matt Harris reported in the comments of the Lewis commitment post that Mabor Majak is on scholarship this year. It’s unknown how that will impact the scholarship situation next year. But I would imagine there’s a scholarship available if needed.
Further complicating all this is the waiver! That’s right, certain players are eligible for their extra season and can receive a waiver on their scholarship and now count towards the final 13 scholarships. I call this the “Fulkerson Rule”.
The one player I’m certain is eligible for this exception is Kobe Brown. If Kobe returns, he would not count against the regular 13 spots. And the latest intel would have both Kobe and Isiaih Mosley considering a return to Mizzou next season.
The addition of Curt Lewis to the roster for next season means there are 3 available scholarships open for Gates to fill. If Nick Honor returns I think he takes up a scholarship, because I believe the “Fulkerson Rule” applies when you were on the same roster in that COVID season. Thus Fulkerson who spent all the seasons at Tennessee, and Kobe Brown. But not Mosley or Honor.
If Brown, Honor, Mosley, East, Carter, Diarra, and DeGray all come back next season it makes for a loaded senior class to blend in with the three already signed freshmen. Lewis would join the junior class with Kaleb Brown, and Aidan Shaw would be the lone sophomore.
The ball handlers would be Honor, East, and Anthony Robinson. The bigs would be Jordan Butler and Mo Diarra. Lewis fits nicely into the current DeAndre Gholston role of off the bench Wing who can provide a scoring spark.
Overall, there is a lot to work out. And that’s not even with the potential of anyone entering the transfer portal after this season, which is always possible as well.
Hopefully this wasn’t confusing. It’ll get clearer soon, I imagine.