We’ve talked ad nauseam about Courtney Ramey and his recruitment process. If you’d indulge me for a moment, I wanted to give a bit of a rundown on how I feel about how everything played out.
I touched on this in my Twitter feed last night, but I wanted to go a little deeper than tweets allow.
I look at the Mizzou-Ramey recruitment two ways… 1) it seems apparent Mizzou was never going to land Ramey at this point. He was always headed elsewhere.— Sam Snelling (@SamTSnelling) April 27, 2018
But Mizzou staying out of it made other schools skeptical and hesitant to recruit him.
There are things we know, things we can assume, and things we can only speculate about.
The things we know are clear: Mizzou missed out on an elite recruit after being drawn back into recruiting him by a phone call between Terrell Ramey and Cuonzo Martin.
Initially, Missouri made a big serious attempt to recruit Ramey after his decommitment from Louisville. Something happened early enough for Mizzou to basically steer clear from Ramey, and the phone call and subsequent offer changed everything.
Mizzou offered shortly after UCLA landed Tyger Campbell and Villanova landed Jahvon Quinerly. When Missouri got involved, it became common knowledge in the information circles I run in that Ramey was likely Mizzou bound. 247 Crystal Ball votes began flipping to Missouri, Cuonzo Martin was at every game, and things were looking up.
It didn’t work out, and we can assume it likely was never going to work out. If I go back to early impressions of Ramey-to-Mizzou, I was told many times he wasn’t interested in Missouri. At the height of Ramey-to-Mizzou mania, I still had a couple key figures telling me it wasn’t going to happen.
There was an obvious disconnect in information somewhere, but if the initial impression Martin received was similar to what I was hearing, then after his phone call with Ramey’s father the options were this:
- Get back involved and pursue hard on someone you aren’t likely to land
- Avoid the drama of a local recruit and pursue guys you can land
The advantage of the first option is you get to show everyone in St. Louis what you’ll do when you have a green light, and if you pull it off you can land a top-50 player at a position of need.
If you don’t pull it off, you’ve taken the moment to flex your recruiting muscles around all of St. Louis and Missouri. No disrespect to Ramey, who is a terrific prospect, but there are a host of great players coming down the pike, and Martin is on all of them.
When Mizzou showed up in full force, they showed up for the Webster-Vashon game, which also featured Mario McKinney and Cam’Ron Fletcher. They showed up in droves for the Webster-CBC game, which also featured Caleb Love. They were there for the Class 5A state title game against Chaminade, which featured Luke Kasubke. Kasubke, Love, and Fletcher are all top 2020 targets from St. Louis, and McKinney is a premier 2019 target. And Martin was there for all of them, while also being there for Ramey.
By proxy, Martin was able to show force on some really important recruits in the next few years and show them what it means to be pursued by Martin and the Tigers.
Did pursuing Ramey cause the Tigers to miss out on other recruits? Possibly. Matt Harris connected with enough graduate transfers to know Mizzou’s pursuit was barely involved beyond the surface level.
But they were always going to pursue Mark Smith and Dru Smith and Blake Hinson, and they’re likely at this point to land all three. So while 2018-19 might inflict some brief pain, Mizzou has a nice and rosy long-term picture thanks to these three recruits (provided they’re able to finish it off with Hinson). That’s still a pretty nice haul for the spring.
I don’t want Mizzou fans to think ill of the Rameys. Terrell is certainly an interesting character in and around St. Louis basketball, but he’s a dedicated father and works tirelessly to promote younger players, and he’s related to almost none of them. Ramey has had a hand in developing Mark Smith, Torrence Watson, and Javon Pickett, plus Carte’Are Gordon, Caleb Love, Mario McKinney, and CamRon Fletcher. And that’s just scratching the surface for the number of players he’s helped land scholarships.
I plan on rooting for Courtney to do well at Texas. I don’t think I can ever root for Texas, but I am a Shaka Smart fan. So I get it.
It sucks he won’t be in the black and gold, but Mizzou was in the thick of it. I don’t imagine there are going to be many elite St. Louis recruits in the future who get out of town without a fight from Cuonzo Martin.