Our own Matt Harris broke some news last night.
RECRUITING NEWS | #Mizzou will host guard Mark Smith for an official visit on April 14. The former top-60 prospect is looking for a new home after transferring from Illinois last month.— Matthew Harris (@MattJHarris85) April 2, 2018
This is significant on a couple levels. One, it’s always fun when Rock M Nation gets a scoop. But this scoop is also important to the layout of the spring recruiting season.
Missouri needs point guards. The Tigers have a commitment from Xavier Pinson, but many view Pinson as a little more of a project who might not be counted on to play starter minutes early. So they’re recruiting more point guards to supplement the open minutes at the spot next season.
The number one choice for those minutes is Webster Groves senior and 4-star PG Courtney Ramey. But Ramey and his father are prepared to be as methodical as they need to be in finishing up this recruitment. Illinois is trying hard to get an official visit, and the Rameys have already been to Texas and Oklahoma State.
Terrell Ramey has stated in the past they wouldn’t need an official visit to Mizzou to commit there. His familiarity with the school and with Cuonzo Martin is enough.
But there is no guarantee you’re going to land Ramey. So you have to make sure you have your bases covered in case he chooses another school.
Mark Smith was a top-60 recruit just a year ago, and even though he’d have to sit out for a season, you’d be getting a seasoned ball handler in 2019-20. As far as backup plans, you could do much much worse.
Players only get five official visits and they only tend to only officially visit schools they are very serious about attending, so the connection between Smith and Mizzou is a strong one.
I’m including the graphic without Jontay Porter for now because we are still hearing Missouri is planning on a future without the younger Porter in tow. Without Porter, they would have room to take both Ramey and Smith, but from the information we’ve gathered, it seems to be more likely one or the other.
Other (guard) options right now include:
- PG Grad transfer Aaron Calixte from Maine
- WING Grad transfer Ryan Taylor from Evansville
- CG Transfer Dru Smith from Evansville
Matt had a good breakdown on Calixte and Taylor, and Smith has sort of emerged as a backup option if Ramey and Smith don’t work out. But the leader for Calixte appears to be Oklahoma, the leader for Taylor would seem to be Indiana (although he likely has to wait for 5-star Romeo Langford, who Indiana is in on), and Smith is still very early in his process but has heard from Mizzou and Ohio State.
MU has also hung back as other intriguing grad-transfer prospects came on to the market last week. For example, Albany’s Joe Cremo is fielding calls and offers from scores of programs, but the Tigers reportedly have yet to gauge his interest. The same goes for former Texas A&M-Corpus Christi guard Ehab Amin or former Norfolk State point guard Zaynah Robinson.
So Martin is making his move with Mark Smith while everyone waits on Courtney Ramey to make some decisions, and he’s lining up the targets behind those two.
Meanwhile, we’re a few short weeks away from the April open period, and the Brad Beal Elite are already making impressions. With Mario McKinney, Terrence Hargrove, E.J. Liddell, Francis Okoro, and Yuri Collins on the 17U team, I expect they’ll see plenty of Martin, and we’ll have plenty of coverage going forward. But over the next few weeks, there’s likely to be a lot of movement with Ramey, Smith, Taylor, Calixte and Smith, and we’ll cover each move.