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Davion Bradford commits to Kansas State

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With the big man off the board, the 2020 recruiting has effectively come to a close for Mizzou. Where do the Tigers go from here?

Jon Lopez

Tonight, Missouri’s waning list of recruiting targets thinned again when Mehlville post Davion Bradford committed to Kansas State.

However, the news shouldn’t catch you off guard.

If you listened to my podcast from Wednesday with Brandon Kiley, we talked about the situation surrounding Bradford and recent commit Jordan Wilmore. That being said, I’ll do my best to break it down here.

According to sources around the program, Wilmore’s pledge and Caleb Love’s commitment to North Carolina effectively wrapped up the early 2020 signing period. While Bradford was long considered a primary target at post, the three-star prospect, who visited Columbia the second weekend of September, didn’t operate on an accelerated timeline in deciding between MU and K-State.

For Bradford, who is ranked No. 147 in 247Sports’ composite index, both were attractive landing spots. Each offers relative proximity to home, several friends on each roster, and stable coaching staffs. Yet as the process began to drag out, Mizzou decided to make a move.

The coaching staff viewed Wilmore and Bradford as roughly comparable prospects. Both are already physically mature, but they need time to sculpt those frames and flesh out their offensive skill sets. Each also took a circuitous prep route, playing for multiple high school programs and in reserve roles on loaded EYBL rosters. Given those sets of factors, MU’s coaching staff moved on to Wilmore and accepted his commitment on an official visit.

Bradford would seem like the more obvious choice, at least based on recruiting ranking and proximity to the program, something Martin has stated he’s focused on in building Missouri. Yet scouting bigs in today’s grassroots game is a tough task. Unless you’re evaluating a genuinely elite prospect, such as Evan Mobley or Isaiah Todd, there’s a degree of projection and risk involved. Those rankings aren’t kind to Wilmore, but a coaching staff is going to lean on its assessment of what a player can offer. In this instance, they felt comfortable enough with Wilmore, knowing the commitment might mean an end to the pursuit of Bradford.

Whether these kinds of decisions prove correct is a waiting game. The reality of the roster shows previous recruiting decisions haven’t left Missouri with a lot of room in their 2020 class, and while we can guess at some departures of the roster in the spring, there is only one sure thing in Reed Nikko. Sometimes in recruiting, timing is everything. If Axel Okongo, Jeremiah Tilmon, Mitchell Smith, and Dru Smith are all back in 2020-21, there’s no margin for error in accepting another commitment.

mizzou basketball scholarship count 9-29-18 wilmore

So while previous staffs have operated under the context of ‘if we need room, we’ll find room’, Cuonzo Martin seems content to let this roster figure itself out and worry about the margins later.

Now, for the remaining list of available recruiting targets:

  • Josh Christopher
  • ...

That’s it.

It does appear Christopher is waiting for the spring signing period, and still has a scheduled visit to Missouri next month. For Christopher, his situation always is ‘take the commitment and figure out the numbers later’, because it’s a lot harder to justify multiple developmental bigs on the roster but less so an elitely-talented guard like Christopher. Conventional wisdom in recruiting circles has Christopher staying on west coast, either at UCLA or possibly Arizona State. Missouri’s best pitch is to let the season play out, make enough noise in the NCAA tournament to show Christopher he could be the missing piece.

Mizzou Basketball Recruiting | Offers | 2020 — October

Name Height Position City State Offered 247 RK School
Name Height Position City State Offered 247 RK School
Xavier Foster 7'0"/225 Post Oskaloosa IA 3/22/18 75 Out
Josh Christopher 6'4"/200 Wing Lakewood CA 4/24/18 6 Mizzou/Arizona State/UCLA
Jermontae Hill 6'5"/180 Wing Atlanta GA 4/25/18 277 Out
Moses Moody 6'5"/185 Wing North Little Rock AR 4/25/18 43 Out
Luke Kasubke 6'6"/175 Wing St. Louis MO 4/25/18 149 Kansas State
Cam'Ron Fletcher 6'6"/190 Wing St. Louis MO 4/25/18 44 Kentucky
Caleb Love 6'3"/175 Combo Guard St. Louis MO 4/25/18 22 North Carolina
Ebenezer Dowuona 6'10"/220 Combo Forward Newnan GA 4/30/18 229 North Carolina State
Corey Walker 6'7"/205 Wing Jacksonville FL 4/30/18 47 Tennessee
Ty Berry 6'4"/180 Point Guard Newton KS 8/3/18 120 Northwestern
Jalen Johnson 6'8"/220 Wing Glendale WI 8/8/18 7 Duke
Jalen Terry 5'11/155 Point Guard Flint MI 9/12/18 54 Michigan State
Carlos Johnson 6'6"/180 Wing Benton Harbor MI 9/14/18 173 Butler
Eddie Lampkin 6'10/285 Post Katy TX 3/17/19 252 TCU
Isaiah Jackson 6'9"/190 Combo Forward Southfield MI 4/22/19 30 Out
Ryan Kalkbrenner 7'0/210 Post St. Louis MO 4/29/19 80 Creighton
Davion Bradford 6'10/240 Post St. Louis MO 4/29/19 145 Kansas State
Jalen Suggs 6'4"/185 Combo Guard Minneapolis MN 4/30/19 11 Out
John Hugley 6'8"/220 Post Cleveland OH 4/30/19 73 Out
Adam Miller 6'3"/165 Point Guard Chicago IL 5/1/19 45 out
Chanse Robinson 6'0"/170 PG Grambling LA 6/10/19 243 Buffalo
Ronnie DeGray III 6'7"/220 Wing Parker CO 8/1/19 313 Undecided
Caleb Murphy 6'2"/170 Combo Guard Loganville GA 8/21/19 89 USF
Jordan Wilmore 7'3"/240 Post Fredericksburg VA 9/19/19 NR Missouri

As for the rest of 2020, I don’t think we’ll see any more movement the rest of the year. Martin will take his team into spring and see where things are at that point.