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Making sense of the spring recruiting period

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Cuonzo Martin has been fairly busy, but are there patterns emerging?

mizzou basketball recruiting

Ok, I know we talked about the offers which went out last week, and while there are a few more players to talk about, I figured we’d use this week to talk about how the roster needs fit with who has been offered, or shown interest.

Basically we know this is the scholarship count:

mizzou basketball scholarship count 05-07-2020

So that means next year Missouri is needing to fill six spots. Here’s who Missouri is replacing:

  • PG: Drew Buggs, Dru Smith
  • CG: Mark Smith
  • CF: Mitchell Smith
  • POST: Jeremiah Tilmon, Axel Okongo

Basically three bigs and three guards. With that in mind, Missouri has offered 25 players, and have interest in a handful of others who have been in contact with the staff and could be in line for offers. Seven of those 25 have either committed elsewhere or eliminated Missouri from their list. The remaining list is here:

2021 Mizzou Recruiting

NAME POS HEIGHT WEIGHT LOCATION RATING RANK OFFER
NAME POS HEIGHT WEIGHT LOCATION RATING RANK OFFER
Chet Holmgren POST 6'11 190 MN ***** 2 YES
Peyton Watson WING 6'7 180 CA ***** 18 YES
Hunter Sallis PG 6'4 165 NE ***** 20 YES
Malaki Branham CG 6'5 175 OH **** 26 YES
Matthew Cleveland WING 6'6 190 GA **** 27 YES
Kobe Bufkin CG 6'4 160 MI **** 91 YES
Jaden Akins CG 6'2 155 MI **** 95 YES
Tamar Bates CG 6'4 175 KS **** 97 YES
Kaleb Washington WING 6'7 185 GA **** 99 YES
Stevie Mitchell PG 6'2 165 PA **** 101
Anton Brookshire CG 6'2 160 MO *** 164 YES
Gabe Dorsey WING 6'6 200 PA *** 184
David Joplin CF 6'7 215 WI *** - YES
James Graham CF 6'8 205 WI *** - YES
Hercy Miller CG 6'3 170 MN *** - YES
Yaya Keita POST 6'9 225 MO **** - YES
Legend Geeter POST 6'7 220 MI *** - YES
Logan Landers POST 6'9 215 WI *** - YES
Cesare Edwards POST 6'10 205 SC **** - YES
Kaleb Brown WING 6'5 200 AL *** - YES
Sean Durugordon WING 6'7 215 NY *** -
Zach Hicks WING 6'7 - NJ - -
RJ Keene WING 6'7 190 TX - -

With the guys holding interest but no offer as of yet, plus those with offers equals 23 players. There are 8 wings, 5 posts, 2 point guards, 6 combo guards, and 2 combo forwards. Let’s look at these by position.

WING

  • Offers: Peyton Watson, Matthew Cleveland, Kaleb Washington, Kaleb Brown
  • Interest: Gabe Dorsey, Sean Durugordon, Zach Hicks, R.J. Keene

Starting with the wing, I think it’s safe to say Missouri isn’t really in the mix for Cleveland or Washington at this stage, Washington seems likely to stay in the state of Georgia, or nearby. Kaleb Brown is Kobe’s brother, but his recruitment hasn’t taken off the way some might’ve expected. Missouri might circle back but it seems unlikely.

Which leave Peyton Watson, a 5-star from California, and a host of guys without offers to date. Missouri seems to have spread out some offers recently but they’ve been mostly hesitant to pull the trigger on the wings other than Watson. Martin has been in touch with Dorsey, and Durugordon and Hicks. Keene has been mostly in touch with Coach Hollender.

I find Keene to be intriguing, he’s the son of former Illinois guard Richard Keene (many Mizzou fans may remember him), and he’s got plus athleticism and a lot of range. He’s yet to really blow up with offers, so Mizzou might have a solid path if they moved in early.

COMBO GUARD

  • Committed: Anton Brookshire
  • Offers: Malaki Branham, Kobe Bufkin, Jaden Akins, Tamar Bates, Hercy Miller

The most intriguing position is probably where the combo guard position. With one already settled in Springfield guard Anton Brookshire, Missouri is probably looking at filling two more guard spots. Be it point guard, combo guard, or wing, they’ll want two more.

Branham is the highest rated, and an Ohio native who seems to be trending towards Ohio State. Miller is a Southern California native playing basketball in Minnesota, Martin seems to have a good relationship there but it’s hard to see Miller ahead of guys like Bates, Bufkin and Akins.

Most seem to think Akins is trending towards Michigan State, leaving Mizzou in a dogfight for either Bufkin or Bates.

POST

  • Offers: Chet Holmgren, Yaya Keita, Legend Geeter, Logan Landers, Cesare Edwards

Forget about Holmgren.

I think the guy Mizzou should go in hard after right now is Keita. He’s a bit of a project, but he’s a guy who can help right away from an athleticism standpoint. He’s also from DeSmet in St. Louis, and plays for a former Martin assistant.

Geeter seems like another guy who might be gettable out of Michigan, he hasn’t quite blown up the way some thought he might, and Missouri is his best offer to date. Edwards is really intriguing as a prospect, but he’s a South Carolina kid and the son of an alum. I don’t seem him going that far away from home.

That leaves Landers... who I’m personally a fan of. I’d make both Landers and Keita priorities because they’re vastly different players with wildly different skills sets. Where Keita is a raw athlete, Landers is a highly skilled player who can stretch the floor. I think they can compliment each other.

COMBO FORWARD

  • Offers: David Joplin, James Graham

Graham has blown up since his Missouri offer. Once Michigan State jumped in it raises the stakes for a guy like Graham. I think if you’re Missouri you can afford to stay in the mix for a while but if you get the sense it’s trending away go ahead and jump ship.

Joplin is the guy to watch. He’s a Milwaukee kid who was impressed early with Butler, since Lavall Jordan was coaching UW-Milwaukee before he took the Butler job. Being a Milwaukee kid, Marquette is the key team to watch. But Missouri is squarely in the mix. I’m a big fan of Joplin, and he fits so much of what Missouri wants to do. He can stretch the floor, and has the kind of body to defend and rebound.

POINT GUARD

  • Offers: Hunter Sallis
  • Interest: Stevie Mitchell

The point guard spot seems to be somewhat de-emphasized so far this class. Sallis seems like a long shot, and Mitchell is a new name. The spot is likely to be filled more with the guys at combo guard, but it would make a lot of sense to watch the transfer market and grad transfer market next offseason to backfill at point guard. That market sees a lot more guards than it does bigs.


With all that laid out, the class really comes down to this (I’m only gonna count those with offers for now):

COMMITTED: Anton Brookshire

MORE LIKELY: David Joplin, Tamar Bates, Kobe Bufkin, David Joplin, Legend Geeter

LESS LIKELY: James Graham, Hercy Miller, Logan Landers, Kaleb Brown

PROBABLY NOT: Hunter Sallis, Malaki Branham, Cesare Edwards, Jaden Akins, Peyton Watson

FORGET ABOUT IT: Chet Holmgren, Matthew Cleveland, Kaleb Washington

We’ll see how the next set of offers changes the pecking order, but I’d probably make Keene an offer before the other wings. Still, if you can land two to three in the more-likely list you’re building the kind of class fans can be happy with.