Over the last few weeks we’ve dug into the returning roster as well as kept a (very) active transfer tracker to keep tabs on potential new additions. If you haven’t already, take a gander and keep up to date on where things stand today. These stories help frame the discussion.
This piece will serve as both a status update of sorts, as well as a look at players that we believe would fill the roles that are currently considered “needs.”
The Current Roster
As it stands today, should everyone who was on scholarship in 2022-2023 return, Mizzou is at its scholarship capacity. In the last week, both Mohamed Diarra and Ronnie DeGray III have announced their intentions to transfer out of the program.
That does not mean the roster is set. No, far from it.
We know that Kobe Brown has a desire to test the NBA waters. While we believe the likelihood of his return could be categorized as “better than not,” it’s still something worth following. Not only for the scholarship math, but more importantly as his return would mean big things on the court. A slam dunk Preseason All-SEC first-teamer and a potential Preseason Player of the Year candidate tells you all you need to know.
We also know that Isiaih Mosley’s return is in question. The belief is that there will be an invitation to return to the program. But Mosley’s status has been up in the air seemingly since November. There are perfectly understandable reasons why that’s the case. What isn’t in question is that Mizzou needs players who are available to play. It is our belief that Mizzou will act accordingly this spring. Should Isiaih return, the roster mechanics of that may necessitate a non-scholarship spot.
Mabor Majak is one of the thirteen men on scholarship but was a late add when a spot was unused. We expect his status to change when that spot is needed. Finally, it’s never prudent to count your eggs before they hatch. A surprise portal addition shouldn’t be unexpected.
At the present time, we would expect a minimum of two more additions this spring.
Using our breakdown included in the piece linked above, a rough schematic of the potential returning players and new additions by role looks something like this:
- Point Guards: Nick Honor, Sean East II, Anthony Robinson II
- Combo Guards: John Tonje, Kaleb Brown
- Perimeter Volume Scorers: Isiaih Mosley
- Playmaking Wings: None
- Three and (D)efense Wings: Curt Lewis
- Playmaking Forwards: Kobe Brown, Noah Carter
- Stretch Fours: Aidan Shaw, Trent Pierce
- Centers: Mabor Majak, Jordan Butler
These designations aren’t set in stone but are rather a rough approximation for roles based on historical data.
As we entered the off-season, it was our thought that Mizzou would be most interested in three “types” of players: A perimeter shot maker to backfill lost production from D’Moi Hodge, a center to shore up the team’s biggest weakness in 2022-2023 and a perimeter playmaker to guarantee production from the spot occupied by Isiaih Mosley and DeAndre Gholston.
It took only 10 days to plug the first hole of an off-ball sniper. John Tonje of Colorado State committed to Mizzou this week, and Sam Snelling outlined how that affects the roster arithmetic.
The Potential Answers
Mizzou’s roster is at an inflection point. Should Kobe Brown stay in the fold, it has the makings of a tournament roster next season. With a savvy addition or two, the ceiling gets higher. A return of Isiaih Mosley has a similar effect, albeit with the above reservations. Their focus should and likely will be attempting to max out the 2023-2024 season.
We’ve walked you through the status of the roster and the likely shopping aisles. We know the goal is pretty straightforward. Let’s dive into options that may fill the remaining needs that really take this team over the top. The following list includes players we have verified Mizzou has been in contact with.
A year ago, Mizzou’s interior situation was rather dire. The team finished 362nd (of 363 teams) in defensive rebounding rate. They were merely middle of the pack in defensive block rate. Mizzou allowed opponents to shoot 52.2% inside the arc, 283rd best among D-I programs. This was a need last fall, and it’s even more of a need now. Mizzou’s addition of Jordan Butler was a very big one. Yet no matter his impressive build and skill level, you can bet the staff is looking to bolster this group, especially in light of Diarra’s recent transfer out. Mizzou will most certainly add one, but the better question is whether they stop there.
Jamarion Sharp | 7-5, 235 | Western Kentucky | 1 year available
Mizzou’s white whale. The massive center entered the transfer portal last spring and was seemingly headed for Mizzou until a last-ditch effort by the always above-board Rick Stansbury secured his return to Bowling Green. The former pupil of current Mizzou Assistant, Kyle Smithpeters, Sharp represents an exquisite fit in many ways.
The 7’5” monster in the middle finished first nationally in defensive block rate a year after finishing second. His defensive rebounding rate has settled above 20% on his career, a very useful figure. He doesn’t require offensive possessions to derive value. His impact is felt by his mere presence, and it’s strongest on the defensive end. Make no mistake, this isn’t a lumbering big man you might see in West Lafayette. Sharp can move. He’s able to run in transition and has the lateral foot speed to cover ball screens, either via hedge or in drop coverage. He’s exactly the type of defensive presence that addresses many of Mizzou’s problems on that end a year ago.
Kadin Shedrick | 6-11, 230 | Virginia | 2 years available
The North Carolina native spent the last three years under the tutelage of one of America’s best defensive coaches, Tony Bennett. However, a reduction in playing time, much to the amazement of many Cavalier supporters, has him looking for a new home. Unsurprisingly, his latest “list” of suitors — 18 teams long — more closely resembles an Associated Press top 25.
It’s easy to see why. Shedrick is a pretty similar player to Sharp, statistically speaking. His career block rate of 10.5% is a bit lower, but still among the nation’s best. He too rebounds opponent’s misses at a 20% clip. His offensive game is a little more rounded, but like Sharp, is most effective at cuts, rim rolls and offensive rebounding. He’s a very efficient player offensively when he gets the chance. Although the ACC has fallen on hard times in recent years, it takes little imagination to see his production transfer to the SEC. Getting into a more up-tempo system may unlock even more potential.
Other Potential Fits
- Ke’lel Ware, Oregon: Mizzou interest
- Eddie Lampkin, TCU: Mizzou Interest
- Micah Handlogten, Marshall: Entered the portal on March 30 but no reported interest
I’ll spare you a lengthy discussion on usage rates and their importance. Suffice it to say, someone has to take shots. A year ago, Mizzou’s top usage rates were: Isiaih Mosley (29.2%), DeAndre Gholston (25.3%), Kobe Brown (23.5%), Noah Carter (21.6%) and D’Moi Hodge (20.1%). The much beloved Ken Pomeroy quantifies usage in the following manner: Go To Guys (28%+), Major Contributors (24-28%), Significant Contributors (20-24%), and Role Players (16-20%).
As it stands now, Mizzou knows for certain they’re returning one player who qualified as more than a “role player” on offense. John Tonje also figures to land in the 20%+ range giving them a second option they can bank. But that’s a small figure. A return of Mosley and Kobe COULD give them two more big-time contributors, but that requires some assuming. That’s something I do not believe the staff will do. Mizzou needs guys to carry the offensive water bucket at times. The following group is guys who can do that.
Caleb Love | 6-4, 200 | North Carolina | 2 years available
The perfect fit in this role is someone who can handle a heavy workload and do it efficiently. Love has realized the first part of the equation — posting usage rates of 25%+ each season — but the second is in question. No matter, he’s a very skilled player that very nearly ended up in Columbia out of CBC in St. Louis. A return to his home state is both possible and potentially fruitful for all parties.
The question for Caleb, and his future program, will be: Can he optimize his offensive game? The 6’4” guard has leaned heavily on ball screens during his time at Chapel Hill. There are things he does well in the pick and roll. There are also times when he hunts his own shot a bit too much and needlessly forces tough attempts. Tailoring his game in those situations — while also reducing his reliance on those plays — could do wonders. Furthermore, he’s proven to be a weapon away from the ball. Would a fit in a new offense where ball screens are less prioritized be the trick? Mizzou offers that. Could refocusing his efforts on what made him an NBA prospect out of high school be in store? Dennis Gates has shown he can do that. There’s plenty of runway where Love could see his efficiency rise without taking away his aggressive nature.
Keshon Gilbert | 6-4, 190 | UNLV | 2 years available
Another former St. Louisan, Gilbert had a breakout second year at UNLV. Though he likely slots more “on the ball” than Mizzou might be looking for, I believe it could work. Gilbert’s 2022-2023 campaign saw him operate primarily out of ball screen actions. He proved to be well above average in efficiency there. He also was used frequently in transition and spot-up opportunities, and he performed quite well in the latte.
Gilbert doesn’t offer the proven production of a Caleb Love, but he does offer a world of potential. He’s shot the ball well and has produced other-worldly steal rates in Las Vegas. His usage rate in 2023 was 24.5%. He is a player who’s on the rise and one that could thrive in an up-tempo, space-oriented scheme that was utilized in Columbia last season.
Dalton Knecht | 6-6, 200 | Northern Colorado | 1 year available
I may well be accused by my colleagues of writing this entire piece just to discuss Dalton Knecht. I would lightly object to that characterization, but they’re not entirely wrong. You may be thinking a guy from Northern Colorado by way of Junior College is the guy I’m focusing on as “The Answer?” Don’t get it twisted, this dude can hoop.
Knecht broke onto the scene in a big way in 2023. He posted a 26.8% usage rate and 110.5 offensive rating. For comparison purposes, Mosley’s last year in Springfield saw him accumulate a 30.8% usage and 113.9 offensive rating. While Mosley’s numbers were slightly higher in each category, Knecht is a similar weapon. The 6’6” wing with above-average athleticism posted a 55.8% eFG, hit 38.3% of shots behind the arc and was in the 80th percentile in rim finishing. Despite his size, the bulk of his offensive production came from ball screens while also posting healthy usage rates in isolation and transition. And yet his best attribute is his catch-and-shoot proficiency. Knecht posted figures there that ranked 90th percentile. What’s more? He rebounded 21.7% of opponent’s misses, which placed him top 150 nationally. There will be issues about transferring production from the Big Sky to the SEC, but every program in the country should be interested (and most are).
Other Potential Fits
- Camren Hunter, Central Arkansas: Named Mizzou among initial group of five finalists but has since reopened his recruitment
- Denver Jones, FIU: Spoke with Mizzou’s coaching staff via Zoom
- Tamar Bates, Indiana: Mizzou interest
- Reese Dixon-Waters, USC: Mizzou Interest