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Dennis Gates is active in the portal early

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Without knowing how many spots he’ll ultimately need to fill, Gates hasn’t been shy about getting involved.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri Valley Conference Tournament- Northern Iowa Panthers vs Illinois State Redbirds Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

If you missed the news yesterday, Dennis Gates secured his first commitment as Missouri’s head coach when Garden City Community College big man Mohamed Diarra announced on twitter for the Tigers. Cuonzo Martin only dipped into the Junior College ranks once when he took the commitment of Axel Okongo in 2019. But in previous stops, Gates has utilized the Junior College ranks to fill out rosters at Cleveland State and as an assistant at Florida State. So it should surprise no one that he’s already unearthing JUCO prospects to help fill out his roster at Missouri.

And while we’re going to be keeping a keen eye on some other JUCO players and their connection to Gates, Missouri’s new coach has been dipping into the transfer portal as well. And while I fully expect another JUCO transfer or two, let’s at least see who the early contacts are for Gates as he checks into the portal.

Point Guards!

The pickings are slim so far in the pure point guard market. One name to keep an eye on is Terry Roberts from Bradley. Roberts was recruited by Gates to Cleveland State from a Florida JUCO, but chose Bradley. After one season he’s back on the market. We don’t have evidence of a connection yet, but considering the team’s needs and the previous connection, it makes sense.

So who has Gates contacted?

Oh yeah...

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

That’s right. Xavier Pinson has been contacted. There is a Chicago connection, but this still feels like a strange move for Missouri and Dennis Gates. Pinson is still largely the same guy he was the first time around, capable of making the splash play but more likely to make the wrong one. But, on the other hand, Pinson can dribble the ball! So I can see both sides.

The only other point guard to have been contacted by Missouri is Drexel transfer Camren Wynter.

The competition for Wynter looks to be pretty steep early, but he was a 15 ppg scorer at Drexel, with a very low 15.5% turnover rate on 27.1% usage. Both Wynter and Roberts look like the more preferred options here early.

WINGS

This is a bit more of a robust list to date. I’d still keep your eyes on the JUCO ranks for a possible wing pickup, but here are the guys so far:

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  • Terrence Shannon, Jr: The Texas Tech transfer is a Chicago native who is switchable on defense and a career 35% 3-point shooter. He’s been an efficient offensive weapon but hasn’t played a big role at Tech and may be looking for a little bit more of a featured role.
  • Antonio Reeves: The Illinois State wing and former Chicago Simeon star is a gifted and creative scorer. After a couple bumpy seasons, Reeves put it all together this season, hitting 38.5% of this 3s, with a low fouls committed rate and a high fouls draw rate. It all led to a 20.8 ppg average in a breakout season.
  • Will Richard: Richard is a freshman from Belmont who is seeing his stock blow up a bit after a 22 point performance in the NIT against Vanderbilt. Richards’ late rise means the competition is stiff, and Missouri may not be the right fit for the Georgia native.
  • Eric Stevenson: Well travelled, Stevenson began his career at Wichita State where he played for two seasons. He then transferred to Washington, before landing at South Carolina last year. Stevenson is a solid and sturdy wing who only missed 1 free throw all of last season.

Bigs-ish

Not much here, with Diarra on board the need here is lessened, but Gates does have a couple contacts.

NCAA Basketball: Utah Valley at St. John Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Fardaws Aimaq!

Aimaq, known as the Big Maple, is a Canadian double-double machine. He’s also got everyone blowing up his cell phone and a lot of people think he’s going the blue blood route.

The only other name is a more interesting one, Noah Carter the Northern Iowa transfer. Carter is a bit of a tweener positionally since he’s 6’6 and works a lot around the basket. But he’s got a wide body and is able to clear out the needed space against bigger defenders. He’s shot the ball well enough to be a threat from outside, and he’s learned to get to the free throw line. Cater has two more years of eligibility thanks to the free COVID year.

All in all, we have 8 known contacts from the portal. We’ll continue to monitor and see what else comes up but I’d expect a healthy amount of roster turnover before it’s all said and done. Enjoy the Elite 8 games today, and how about them Peacocks?