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It’s time to talk about 2019 recruiting again

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The names haven’t changed much, but now is a good time to reset on this upcoming class.

Missouri basketball recruiting has almost become boring recently. I’ve lamented it to Matt Harris on a regular basis, because we don’t have a lot of coverage to talk about.

On one hand, order and stillness are nice. With the previous staff, I felt like there were 12 offers going out a month and I’d have to write about all these new guys Missouri was offering and keeping track of who might visit and where the strong interest was, and pay lip service to the elite recruits they’d end up missing out on.

Missouri wasn’t alone, there are plenty of schools out there who aren’t afraid to chuck out offers. I counted and Illinois has offered a remarkable 37 players so far in 2019, Texas A&M has extended offers to 39 players, and Kansas State has offered an unreal number of 52 players in the ‘19 class alone.

Since Cuonzo Martin has taken over for Missouri the focus seems much more precise and measured. By our count, it appears as though Missouri has offered 25 players in the 2019 class.

Since, many have cut Missouri from their list or have pledged their service to another school:

There also seems to be some question as to whether the current coaching staff offered Marcedus Leech, who has plummeted out of the rankings thanks to a combination of injury and turmoil off the court.

Then there are guys with offers who Missouri seems to have since checked out of recruiting like James Wiseman, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and Majok Deng.

In the end, the Tigers are heavily focused on a small batch of prospects: E.J. Liddell, Malik Hall, Mario McKinney, Terrence Hargrove Jr., Rocket Watts, Harlond Beverly and, most recently, Tray Jackson. Just outside that group you have Marcus Watson, Jalen Hill, Antavion Collum, Isiaih Mosley and Yuri Collins.

A reminder on the scholarship count:

Mizzou Basketball Scholarship Count 5-30-18

Has the board shifted?

Perhaps, maybe a bit.

The one thing which hasn’t changed is Liddell, who remains far and away the top priority in the class. After next season you’re looking toward replacing Kevin Puryear, Cullen VanLeer, and Jordan Geist and almost certainly Jontay Porter. Barring any unforeseen roster attrition, which is always possible if not likely in today’s landscape, Missouri will be searching to sign four players in the fall.

Looking back at our positionless roster breakdown, you can see where those players all on the chart and what is needed to replace them.

Positionless Depth

Point Guard Combo Guard Wings Others Stretch Post Post
Point Guard Combo Guard Wings Others Stretch Post Post
Dru Smith Jordan Geist Cullen VanLeer K.J Santos Kevin Puryear Reed Nikko
Xavier Pinson Mark Smith Javon Pickett Mitchell Smith Jeremiah Timon
Torrence Watson

So of the remaining knowns still on the board, here’s where they fall on the chart is almost decidedly in the middle. It’s interesting.

Recruiting Positions

Point Guard Combo Guard Wings Others Stretch Post Post
Point Guard Combo Guard Wings Others Stretch Post Post
Rocket Watts Mario McKinney Terrence Hargrove Malik Hall E.J. Liddell
Yuri Collins Harlond Beverly Marcus Watson Tray Jackson
Jalen Hill Antavion Collum
Isiaih Mosley

At the moment, there are no true post players on the board. So you’d certainly hope Jeremiah Tilmon doesn’t go pro or your depth gets a little shallow in a hurry. That being said, the staff hasn’t tossed out a ton of offers — only Wiseman and Okoro received them — at that position in this class. It’s also possible they’ve got a couple bigs they’re tracking and watching, as post players often develop later than guards.

What you see on the chart is the focus on players who are versatile positionally. Even their top point guard target in Watts, who is averaging 24.1 points per game in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, is probably more of a combo guard in style of play.

The pattern is easy enough to see with the priorities. Of the 12 players targeted, seven are from Missouri or bordering states (Collins, McKinney, Hall, Liddell, Hargrove, Mosley, Collum), three are from Michigan, and the only outliers are Hill and Watson. Both of whom don’t appear to be priorities right now.

So then it’s basically local and Michigan for 2019.

Wanna know where the Tigers stand with each of the remaining targets? Coming soon in part two!