I don’t want to cause any sort of panic, because that’s not what this is about.
Aidan Shaw completed his visit and should be hitting Maryland soon, but word is Missouri is still in very good shape with Shaw and may be either THE leader or one of the leaders. Mark Mitchell was always a bit of a long shot and it looks more like a two team race with Duke and UCLA steering that ship. And Chandler Jackson, a 4-star PG from Memphis, hits campus tomorrow for his official visit.
While pulling Chandler might be a bit of a long shot, Mizzou has offered a couple other 2022 prospects which could fill in nicely should Jackson pick another school. And while you can certainly point to some of Mizzou’s recent backup options as missing the mark a bit, there’s legitimate reasons to be pretty excited about whoever the Tigers might land at the PG/CG spot for 2022 (should they take one).
First, let’s talk about Kellen Thames
2022 G Kellen Thames of Pattonville has received an offer from Missouri @BradBealElite— Prep Hoops Missouri (@PrepHoopsMO) June 21, 2021
Thames is a heralded name in Mizzou lore. Kellen’s father Kelly had a very memorable career, and his son is making his way through the latter stages of his recruitment this summer. Thames picked up an offer from Missouri last week, and while he hasn’t exactly been racking up the high major offers there’s a lot to like. He’s not entirely like his father because Kellen is a bit more of a combo guard, and despite having good size at 6’5, he handles the ball a lot for his high school team at Pattonville, located in the St. Louis area.
The offers haven’t flooded in for Thames but he’s picked up offers from Georgetown and Saint Louis, plus some mid and low majors. While Thames’ size and skill level is intriguing, he might not even be the most interesting recent offer. That could possibly go to East St. Louis High School PG Christian Jones.
The 2022 class is one which hasn’t had the regular exposure of previous classes having lost an entire offseason of grassroots basketball to be seen by players and coaches, but Jones is being seen now and coaches are liking what they’re looking at. Jones’ blowup isn’t quite complete yet, but he’s gotten offers from DePaul, Denver, SIU-E, and UI-C. The offer list tells me coaches are still trying to figure out what level Jones is going to end up in, mostly because he hasn’t been ranked and is a relative unknown at this point.
But playing for the Bradley Beal Elite and with the July period about to take off, Jones is going to be seen by a lot of coaches. His athleticism and competitiveness stand out, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more big time schools take note.
Need a big?
True post players are not necessarily a need here, but Connor Turnbull is the kind of big who might fit pretty well into the new Missouri system of uptempo ball screen heavy offense. Turnbull is a mobile and athletic 6’10 post whose strengths lie in rim protection and step out jump shots.
Any three of these prospects could pop for Mizzou at any point and it wouldn’t be that surprising. But I think we’ll hear from Shaw and Jackson before too long, and if Mizzou misses on Shaw, they likely turn to some backup wings like Jonathan Dunn, John Lovelace, or Jalen Hampton. If they miss on Jackson, you’ll probably see either Thames or Jones hop on. And it may be a guess, but I think Turnbull is on an island, since Mizzou doesn’t appear to be in heavy pursuit of other bigs. If he’s ready, I think they take him. And it looks like Mizzou could be looking to lock down a 3-man class.
Now about that 13th scholarship this season...
The portal deadline is just days away, and the NBA withdrawal deadline is closing in as well. I think we’ll have more clarity there soon.