Fortunately, I wrote nearly all of this before the news Chadwick Boseman passed away broke. 2020 has been awful at nearly every front ** gesturing at everything ** and now its claimed a terrific actor, all thanks to cancer. Cancer sucks. So RIP Chadwick Boseman, you were terrific as Jackie Robinson and James Brown, Thurgood Marshall and of course, as King T’Challa, the Black Panther. I had also already marked Da Five Bloods to watch on Netflix, now I’ll make sure I get to it.
Onto the hoops...
We’ve actually had some good basketball news for a change. This past week Cuonzo Martin and his coaching staff landed not one, but TWO basketball recruits. Considering the last few years have held little in the way of recruiting victories — even when Mizzou had limited scholarships available — it was a nice change up to get some good news.
Yesterday did yield the news Mizzou was missing out on one of its top back court targets when Tamar Bates picked Texas, but it was still a good week for Martin and his program. It’s been since early May when the Tigers got their first commitment in Anton Brookshire that there was a recruiting win. Since it’s been a long road between commitments, so this burst of news seems like a deluge.
As usual though, we like to take a look at how these commitments fit within the roster, especially now that half the roster is turning over after this season.
TO THE SCHOLARSHIP GRAPHIC!
As you can see above, this official puts Mizzou in the position of only having to fill three more scholarships for the 2022 season. So where are they more likely to fill those spots from?
For now, to make this easy, I’m putting Kaleb Brown in at Combo Forward. I know he’s been quoted as saying Missouri recruited him as a guard, but ultimately I don’t think he is going to be able to defend point guards. Defending wings and forwards, with his body type, should be no problem.
Offensively, he’s a guy who can play multiple positions, but basketball usually ends up being about who you can guard. Right now I think Brown is a little bit more of a big wing.
So with this makeup, there are a minimum of six players in the wing and combo forward spot, with Parker Braun potentially landing there long term also. Yet the roster only has two real ball handlers in Brookshire and Pinson (and there’s always the possibility of Pinson opting for professional basketball), meaning Mizzou needs bigs and guards with their final three spots.
That means you can probably count out a few remaining recruits
First, here's the entire list of reported offers for the 2021 cycle. Committed players are in dark gray, while others who have eliminated MU are a lighter shade. You can also see who picked the Tigers. pic.twitter.com/ulf6Trz0Wl— Matt Harris (@MattJHarris85) August 28, 2020
Matt summed up a lot in a thread last night, but he also included the full offer list for 2021 — updated — with a lot of guys crossed out. It would seem unlikely Martin would opt to add in another wing or combo forward. That likely leaves just a few realistic targets left on the board. You want either a big man, or someone who can handle the ball.
So guys like Legend Geeter or Zach Hicks may be out. Hicks is still rumored to be considering a move to 2022, so it’s possible that gets circled back around next year, but it would be surprising if Mizzou added him in the 2021 class.
You can also strike Bryce Hopkins, who got a little too hot for Mizzou to get back in. He seems likely for Kentucky at this stage of the game. Down in the thread a bit further Matt noted just three players to keep an eye on in the current offered list:
- Yaya Keita, 3-star Post from DeSmet in St. Louis
- Miles Kelly, 3-star CG from Parkview HS in Georgia
- Blake Wesley, a 4-star CG from South Bend, Indiana
Keita has been quiet, but you have to like Mizzou’s chances there as they were in early on him and his High School coach is a former Martin assistant. Kelly hasn’t trimmed his list but seems to have good options close to home. And Wesley recently trimmed his list to include the Tigers, but it’s a stout group of 12 teams.
What’s most likely amongst those final three is the Tigers land Keita. Though both Kelly and Wesley are intriguing prospects, if you’re looking for another ball handler in the class, there are still some options out there. One you may want to keep an eye on is Camryn Carter, a combo guard with good size who joined Durugordon’s team at Putnam Science Academy, and he currently followed by all the Mizzou coaches, despite not having been offered.
Still it would also behoove Mizzou to consider adding experience to the backcourt in the spring, either via grad-transfer or traditional transfer if waivers are granted across the board. With the three remaining spots, it makes sense to balance the ball handling with a couple additions, plus a quality post who can help you right away.