There’s always something very satisfying about the Dennis Gates bat signal, whether it’s expected or not.
In the case of the signal Gates sent out on Thursday, we were expecting it. Earlier in the week there was a “expect good news this week” note from some sources. It was vague, but coming right in the midst of Bishop Boswell’s visit to Columbia that’s immediately where my mind went. That was dispelled fairly quickly as Boswell had hinted he may want to take some more time to think about his options after the visit.
Then T.O. Barrett posted a cryptic countdown on his instagram pointing to a Thursday announcement, and we were able to connect the dots. Barrett had long spoken very highly of the staff and program at Missouri, and it seemed like a situation where if he were ready to commit, the Tigers would be a hard team to beat.
The announcement came and Barrett officially became the first member of the 2024 recruiting class. To the graphic!
Ok, I know we’re still in a place where scholarships are a little weird. Who is and isn’t on scholarship matters less than who is and isn’t on the roster, and what eligibility do they have left?
Mizzou has 8 seniors on the roster this season with expiring eligibility. Only Jesus Carralero has a case for an additional season of eligibility after playing 3 seasons and then just in 4 games last year. Noah Carter played in 25 and 23 games as a freshman and a sophomore, before breaking out as a junior and then transferring to Missouri. Caleb Grill played three seasons at Iowa State and one at UNLV. Sean East II played a season at UMass, one at Bradley, one at John A. Logan, and then last year at Mizzou. Nick Honor played one season at Fordham, then two at Clemson, and last year at Mizzou. Connor Vanover played one at Cal, two at Arkansas and then last year at Oral Roberts.
The last senior is Mabor Majak, the only player who might be able to come back for one more season. He’s the only player in the 2020 class on the roster and that class is the last one who can explore another season due to COVID. And I cannot wait for that experiment to be past us. I’m all for giving guys opportunities, but this has been a nightmare to track.
Fortunately things get much easier with the junior class. While Curt Lewis’ path to Mizzou is anything but conventional, both Kaleb Brown and Tamar Bates are more straightforward. They are both 2021 recruits, meaning they enrolled in college the season after the free COVID year.
But with eight roster positions opening up, and at least 7 of those players on scholarship, it leaves a lot of holes after this season. If you project into the 2024 roster... Mizzou has some spots! T.O. Barrett’s commitment on Thursday essentially locked up one of seven needed spots. There are still six remaining.
I’ve long been a proponent of the idea that each recruiting class should have one each of a ball handler, a wing, and a post. The 2023 Mizzou recruiting class featured this exact lineup, with Trent Pierce playing the role of a jumbo wing, and Ant Robinson the ball handler, Jordan Butler the post.
If you stick to this trio of players, Barrett would fill the role of a ball handler. All that would be needed is a wing and a post. You can fill the rest of the class via the portal if needed.
However I’d be surprised if this class was just a three man class.
Missouri recently hosted Bishop Boswell, a 4-star combo guard from North Carolina, and we believe he would still be a take. Boswell fits the profile, a big guard capable of playing and defending multiple positions and a guy who can create and make shots.
Marcus Allen, Annor Boateng, Dallas Thomas, Qin Pang, and Jordan McCollum are all players who fit the mold of the wing they’re looking for. Allen, Boateng, and Thomas seem like the priorities with each player being a slightly different version of a wing.
At the post, last night news came out that John Bol was decommitting from his recent commitment to the Florida Gators. That move should open up the possibility of Mizzou to move back into the picture. If the post prospect isn’t Bol, Khaman Maker and Trent Burns have both been offered and Mizzou has been in contact. While Peyton Marshall still feels like a long shot.
In all this feels more like a class that could see up to five players join before the fall period is over, with a few extra portal additions in the spring. But whichever of the remaining targets decide to hop on board or not, Mizzou should feel very good about adding Barrett.