Missouri updated its online roster yesterday to reflect new members, numbers, etc. There is still the possibility of adding one more player, and the two guys Mizzou is hot on the trail for (check the Hoops Recruiting Hot Board) have still yet to make it onto campus and either one could complete the full roster going into next season. For those unaware, Link Kabadyundi and Khalea Turner are the last two targets who Mizzou is still is working on. But in the meantime we have all the newcomers on the online roster so we can dissect things about it!
|MISSOURI TIGERS 2015-2016|
|1||Terrence Phillips||5-11||175||G||So||Orange County, CA/Oak Hill Academy|
|2||Willie Jackson||6-6||200||F||Fr||Cleveland, OH/Garfield Heights|
|3||Frankie Hughes||6-4||185||G||Fr||Cleveland, OH/Garfield Heights|
|5||Mitchell Smith||6-10||205||F||Fr||Van Buren, AR/Van Buren HS|
|11||K.J. Walton||6-3||197||G||Fr||Brownsburg, IN/Brownsburg High|
|13||Trevor Glassman||6-3||200||G||RS Jr||Bedford, NH/Manhattan|
|14||Reed Nikko||6-9||230||F||Fr||Maple Grove, MN/Maple Grove HS|
|15||Jordan Geist||6-3||180||G||So||Fort Wayne, IN/Ranger College|
|21||Jordan Barnett||6-7||215||F||Jr||St. Louis, MO/Texas|
|24||Kevin Puryear||6-7||236||F||So||Blue Springs, MO/Blue Springs South High|
|25||Russell Woods||6-8||225||F||Sr||Chicago, IL/John A. Logan College|
|32||Adam Wolf||6-7||202||F||So||Lake Forest, IL/Beaver Dam HS|
|33||Cullen VanLeer||6-4||200||G||Fr||Pacific, MO/Pacific HS|
There isn't a lot of surprise to the roster, unless you find it surprising that K.J. Walton switched from 10 to 11. There've been rumors of Jimmy Barton looking to move on, but a walk-on leaving the team hardly constitutes news. Barton apparently was seeking out a transfer that would net him more playing time, something he wasn't going to get at Missouri.
Breaking this roster down into a depth chart isn't easy. Mainly because what I would do with the roster and what Kim Anderson is going to do might be very different. So your guess is as good as mine as to what Anderson is going to do, but I'd anticipate that Anderson would want to play a more traditional style with two bigs, and not play small which is what I would do. My lineup would be to slide Puryear to the center, Barnett to the four, and go small. With Phillips, Walton and Jackson on the perimeter, I'd feel very athletic and play pace. I don't expect them to do that, so this is where I think depth is:
|Terrence Phillips||K.J. Walton||Jordan Barnett||Kevin Puryear||Mitchell Smith|
|Jordan Geist||Cullen VanLeer||Willie Jackson||Russell Woods||Reed Nikko|
|Frankie Hughes||Trevor Glassman||Adam Wolf|
Missouri’s updated roster came out https://t.co/YOpxYmUsDq— Sam Snelling (@SamSnellingRMN) June 6, 2016
Who is your top 8?
I took a little bit of a twitter poll, and the most common top eight were: Phillips, Puryear, Jackson, Barnett, Walton, Hughes, Smith and Geist/Woods (who tied for the 7th most votes). The only player currently on scholarship who was completely left out was Reed Nikko. VanLeer apparently didn't inspire too many as well as he only made it onto a quarter of the tweets, and Phillips, Puryear and Jackson made it on everyone's list. I tend to think that the staff is more enamored with VanLeer than the fanbase at this point, so I'd be a little surprised if he were the odd man out, but there's certainly been nothing that we've seen to date from VanLeer that would justify him playing more than certain other players.
Matchups to watch
Unlike last year, there aren't really jump off the page matchups to watch, but there's still going to be a few to see how the minutes are doled out. With only 11 scholarship players, and it being pretty easy to get to play nine guys, it will be interesting to watch how all 200 minutes are doled out over the course of a season. But there are a few key areas to watch:
Frankie Hughes - Jordan Geist - Cullen VanLeer: Perhaps the most intriguing situation going into next season is the backup ball handler minutes. We know what Terrence Phillips is, and we expect him to continue to start and provide the spark he does. But what about if Phillips needs a blow? And who will help out the most with the ball handling duties. Missouri brought in a freshman combo guard, a JUCO transfer combo guard and have VanLeer returning to provide the backup ball handling duties. None are a natural at the point and have all played off the ball recently, with Geist only having played the point in high school. Another thing to watch with these three is
Reed Nikko - Russell Woods - Last big signed(?): Missouri obviously needs help on the interior, the question is who is going to provide it? Sources around the program seem to feel very good about the production they could get from Mitchell Smith, but who else on the interior can be counted on. Above I mentioned Nikko didn't get many votes to be in the rotation, but I think we could underestimate his ability to be physical, play defense and rebound (or not). We know what to expect from Russell Woods, and it's not a whole lot. They also have a potential signee not yet committed who could exceed both Woods and Nikko.
Safe in their role
Terrence Phillips: Phillips could likely be considered the "face of the franchise" at this point. Phillips is outgoing, charismatic, and probably the most important part... a hard worker. The big question with Phillips was his jump shot, and last year he proved to be at worst adequate, with continued work in the gym he made himself a decent shooter, so one can expect that growth to continue. Now he just needs his teammates to make a few more shots.
Kevin Puryear: One of the surprises last season was Puryear, he and Phillips are solid pieces and the most likely to retain their starting positions going into the season. Hopefully with an offseason to improve flexibility Puryear will be less of a liability on defense and continue to be a threat on offense.
Jordan Barnett: The transfer from Texas hasn't really played much college basketball despite going into his junior season. So at this stage we don't really know what to expect from Barnett, however the reports from practice is that the staff feel he can make an immediate impact. And with so few upperclassmen, Barnett will need to be the experienced hand on the roster.
Glassman/Wolf: Walk-ons gonna walk-on. No offense to either Trevor Glassman or Adam Wolf but if those guys are getting big minutes during the season then be concerned.
Here's how the roster breaks down by position/class:
|Mizzou Roster Breakdown|
|P O I N T G U A R D|
|C O M B O G U A R D|
|Jordan Geist||Frankie Hughes|
|W I N G|
|Trevor Glassman||Cullen VanLeer|
|C O M B O F O R W A R D|
|Jordan Barnett||Adam Wolf||Willie Jackson|
|P O S T|
|Russell Woods||Kevin Puryear||Reed Nikko|
So it's obviously another young roster. If Mizzou signs Kabadyundi, they get a little older, but still not much experienced. In fact, this roster is lacking all kinds of experience, with so many sophomores playing more college basketball games than the junior and senior on the roster. If Mizzou signs Turner, they're looking at a lost of youthful post players. Frankly that's something to worry about.
Best case scenario here is that the sophomores exceed expectations and we start to see KJ Walton and Jordan Barnett put things together enough for Mizzou to put a scare into some teams during conference play. They've got some talent there, it certainly needs to be refined, and it's possible some of the other SEC teams take a step back that makes Mizzou competitive.
@SamSnellingRMN KP, TP, Walton, Barnett, Hughes, Jackson, Geist, Smith in that order.— Missouri Sports (@MizzouSports1) June 6, 2016
Who starts 1st game? 4 sophomores and Woods.
What do you think? Who is your starting five, plus first 3 off the bench?
Starting five to begin the season? What about the end of the season?