We still have 10 days until the transfer portal closes on May 11th. So, a lot can still change over the next week and a half. But after last night’s commitment from Campbell transfer Jesus Carralero, I figured now was a good to take a step back and review where things stand.
While we have a decent idea about the shape of the 2023-24 roster, there’s still enough time left and decisions outstanding that it could wrap up any number of ways. First, here’s our scholarship count.
I’ve already talked about reducing the columns on this graphic. With the way roster building is unfolding, it’s useless to project any more than one season ahead. Since Dennis Gates was hired, MU’s brought in 17 spots in barely a year — and that’s if you leave out walk-ons and preferred walk-ons. Further, NIL muddies the water on who might be and might not be on scholarship.
But my understanding of this scenario, which I’ve communicated in the past, is there are roughly 15 spots to worry about: 13 scholarship players and a pair of “walk ons” that also receive NIL funds. That doesn’t include PWOs like Danny Stephens and J.V. Brown, or even Jackson Francois. There’s also the muddled status of Mabor Majak, who was put on scholarship last season but is unlikely to be on one this next year.
It’s a lot of players. For its part, the NCAA put any limits on the number of players you can have on your roster during the season. All it says is you cannot have more than 15 players suited up when the game tips.
Fifteen players is a lot of guys to try and find minutes for. So, that makes all this that much more interesting to try and track. And should make our annual “top 8” discussion a fun one.
So let’s start with who has said they are coming back:
- Noah Carter, graduate, combo forward
- Nick Honor, graduate, point guard
- Aidan Shaw, sophomore, combo forward
That’s your list. Three players have stated they are returning to Mizzou next year. Carter and Honor both made public announcements, and while Shaw didn’t make an announcement publicly, he’s locked in.
Obviously, there are still expectations for announcements in the coming days. As I mentioned, players have until May 11 to enter the transfer portal. And May 31 is the the NCAA’s deadline for players to withdraw from the draft and maintain their eligibility. Who are we waiting on?
- Kobe Brown, senior, combo forward
- Isiaih Mosley, senior, wing
- Sean East II, graduate, combo guard
- Mabor Majak, senior, post
- Jackson Francois, sophomore, wing
The Kobe situation is what it is. He’s going through due diligence and gauging where he fits on draft boards. If he likes what he learns, he’ll stay in the pool. If not, he’s coming back to Columbia. There are likely other schools trying to woo him into the portal, but I don’t expect that to happen. Brown’s situation in Columbia is as good as he can ask for in college hoops.
Mosley is in a different spot. If he plays collegiately, it will be at MU, and in all likelihood not on scholarship. NIL support will make that possible. Mosley’s absence through the season was a hot topic, and it’s been covered ad nauseum. We’ll just say he has some work to do, but the signs are good he’ll be back.
East’s situation could be unique. As of now, he’s expected to stick around. But he’s also a senior on track to graduate. Like Carter, he’ll have a COVID season at his disposal. But you could sketch out a scenario where there’s mutual parting to create another slot. We don’t expect that, though. Instead, we’re just seeing whether East makes a public announcement on a return.
Majak was a walk on last year and then put on scholarship. He has a limited path to minutes but seems to like being around Gates and his program enough. As for Francois. he was a PWO last year, and his mother is the athletic director. There’s been no indication one way or the other for either Majak or Francois not to be Tigers next year.
If all four return that’s eight returners, with around four players who are walking on.
Who else has committed and/or signed to play next year?
- Anthony Robinson, freshman, point guard
- Trent Pierce, freshman, combo forward
- Jordan Butler, freshman, post
- J.V. Brown, freshman, wing
- Danny Stephens, freshman, wing
- Curt Lewis, senior, wing
- Tamar Bates, junior, combo guard
- Caleb Grill, graduate, wing
- John Tonje, graduate, wing
- Jesus Carralero, senior, post
That’s another 10 players, bringing us to 18. Stephens and Brown are expected to be PWOs, and with the four up above you have a half-dozen players that are varying degrees of walk ons. That's how I got to the scholarship graphic above of having 12 players on the scholarship count.
It’ll also be helpful to see the updated roster released by the program to see whether some veterans are classified as seniors or graduate transfers. For example, Tonje and Grill have COVID years but also played the past four seasons; it seems safe to slot them as graduate transfers. But Lewis is a point of clarification. He took a redshirt season an Eastern Kentucky, played two years there, dropped down to John A. Logan College, and is now headed to Columbia. It would make sense that he’s a senior, but he also has a COVID year.
Set all that to the side for now, though. Realistically, MU might be looking at one spot, right?
Not so fast, my friends!
West Virginia transfer Jimmy Bell tells me that he plans to visit Mississippi State and Missouri.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 1, 2023
Wait, that’s not Matthew Cleveland!
You’re right! It’s not! Cleveland is still parsing through his options. The latest intel we have is that Missouri is in a very good spot. Some may have thought last night’s Bat Signal tweet was about Cleveland. Nope, it just heralded Jesus’ arrival.
Based on several reports, Cleveland’s timeline for a decision falls some time in the next two or three weeks. Or at least that’s what he told a couple of scribes during his official visit to the Plains. On Saturday, though, Cleveland created a stir among Mizzou fans with two posts on Instagram. As I mentioned in my Saturday update the situation in Miami can be an attractive one. There is a lot of roster turnover for a good team, a robust NIL situation, and league familiarity. The Canes should be the primary worry for Mizzou fans wanting Cleveland.
Auburn is forecasted to score a commitment from Vanderbilt wing Tyron Lawrence, who visited shortly after Cleveland. I believe the money is similar enough there to where the relationship at Missouri should trump the Plains Tigers. I wouldn’t not be surprised if it’s Miami or Missouri; I would if it’s Auburn. At this point, based upon what we’ve heard, I think Mizzou has the slightest of edges.
That brings us, at last, to Bell. Turns out, Carralero isn’t the only big man Gates has his eyes on. Matt Harris wrote about Bell in his Sunday piece, which if you haven’t read I suggest you do now. I don’t want to rehash what’s been written, but Bell is big, strong and can rebound. And we believe Missouri is in very good shape.
Word is Mizzou would take both Cleveland and Bell.
Then how does that math work out? Honestly? I’m not sure. But it will.
The best guess is that someone with a decision to make would not return.