For the Mizzou Basketball faithful it was an eventful week.
Last Friday Dennis Gates added Indiana transfer Tamar Bates to the roster. Then they hosted major target Kadin Shedrick for an official visit, then overlapped Shedrick’s visit with a surprise visit by top transfer Matthew Cleveland. Thursday, Caleb Grill also announced his transfer to Mizzou. Finally, last night Kaleb Brown entered the transfer portal.
Brown’s departure officially leaves Mizzou with two open scholarships, and you can track the official roster status here with Matt Watkins’ up to date Roster Tracker:
Yes, there are still two gaping unknowns in the roster math here, and that’s the decisions on Kobe Brown and Isiaih Mosley. But if you’ve followed along with the podcasts and read between the lines a bit. you likely know where things stand there. Mizzou has been recruiting as if both will be back, but with no regard for the scholarships involved. But I alluded to Dennis Gates' approach to the scholarships in my post last week, and it’s pertinent because he’s giving you the outline for how they’re operating.
Right now they are operating as though Kobe Brown and Mosley will not be on scholarship next season. That does not mean either or both will not be on the roster, rather it will amount to their decision to return and how schooling will be paid for. I said last week that the money is there for both to return. I feel good in saying that includes any needed money for both to have school paid for via NIL.
Things can always change, and if Mizzou doesn’t fill a scholarship or two they can always support Mosley or Brown that way, but for now this is where things stand. Right now I’d say it’s a bit of a toss-up whether Kobe returns. He still needs to declare for the NBA draft, of course. And if he does he still needs to make a decision. But Mosley is expected back right now. This is just my read on the situation, but I’d say Brown sticking around is 50/50, and Mosley is more 75/25.
With Brown and Mosley on board, the roster already looks pretty good. But there is a bit of a hole still. The hole in the middle.
When Matthew Cleveland and Kadin Shedrick hit campus, Mizzou was planting their flag. I don’t think the overlap of the visits was coincidental. Sometimes you schedule visits like those just to flash potential. It makes sense as Gates came up big in his first season, and with two talented players potentially coming back like Brown and Mosley, and a host of talented role guys, you go for it big in year 2.
The single most important roster spot left to fill is someone who can eat up minutes at the five spot. How good that addition is will tell you a lot on the ceiling this team has. Kadin Shedrick is the kind of talent who can remove the ceiling and make a roster with Mosley and Brown on it, one who can compete for an SEC title. And, I hesitate to say it but... a Final Four.
What made UConn such a good team this past year was their depth coupled with a few players who could just get buckets. Depth is a key feature of really good teams, and Missouri’s depth last season was whittled down to nearly nothing by the end of the season. They missed Mosley’s playmaking. But more than anything they needed to play better defense and rebound better. Which is where the roster changes come in.
John Tonje, Caleb Grill, and Tamar Bates are all perimeter players, but all three upgrade defense and rebounding while maintaining shooting. So this offseason, Dennis Gates has upgraded his defense and rebounding, he’s kept the offensive outlooking consistent. But there’s still a hole in the middle.
If Shedrick ends up in Columbia he will be a difference-maker. Starter minutes are available, and while Noah Carter proved to be a valuable piece when he played the five, he’s more of a natural fit at the four. Both Jordan Butler and Trent Pierce both could see minutes at the five, but what you want is size with experience. Carter provides experience. Pierce and Butler provide the size. Shedrick provides both.
But more than just the experience and size, Shedrick’s ability to protect the rim (a 10% block rate is very good) and rebound, coupled with his ability to defend away from the rim makes him a near-perfect fit.
There are others at the five who could work out well. It’s not Shedrick or Bust. But Gates has been the lead recruiter so clearly he thinks Shedrick is the answer, or at least a very good answer. Duke and Texas are still a problem, and the Longhorns likely offer as many minutes as the Tigers do while Duke offers the ability to play close to home and for one of the elite brands in College Hoops. But Mizzou has to feel pretty good right now. Still, if Shedrick isn’t the one, there are still options. And there are rumors of other bigs who haven't yet hit the portal but are open for the right situation. Like I’ve said before, these things are fluid. Portal season is fluid, and changes happen fast. Right now, Shedrick is the guy they want. I’d expect coming off his visit that the timeline might get sped up a bit.
For now, we wait. Wait to see if more develops with Cleveland. But the bigger eye, quite literally, is on Shedrick.