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Pourover: Dennis Gates is changing the dynamics of Mizzou Basketball Recruiting

With room to go, Mizzou Basketball is a contender for top talent again.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago I did an exploration of what sort of talent made its way to SEC schools over the years, including the soon-to-be members Oklahoma and Texas. Looking at the Composite ranking is a useful tool when assessing the overall talent levels at each program.

The obvious caveat here should be that not every 5-star recruit is the same. Some are Kevin Durant, some are Skal Labissierre. Some 4-star recruits are Donovan Mitchell and some are Jason Horton. And of course some 3-star recruits turn into Marcus Denmon, while others end up being Dominique Bull. But in general, the more top talent you have in terms of recruiting rankings, the better you have a chance to be.

This knowledge seems to fly in the face of the last few years of recruiting which has seen many programs pivot hard into the transfer portal where you can get experienced players who might be more plug and play than their freshman counterparts. But I’m of the mind that the transfer craze has peaked. Soon enough we should be seeing a return to a more traditional cycle of recruiting where classes and rosters are built through continuity and development. Well, as much as possible.

I’m not sure it will ever go back to the way it once was, where classes stuck together for 4 years. But I think you’ll see things stabilize and there will be less movement. Building a culture where you can land multiple high level players and keep them around for multiple years while (hopefully) consistently putting guys into the NBA Draft.

Keep in mind these numbers are from last summer:

Kentucky — 58 (84)

Texas — 17 (49)

LSU — 12 (33)

Florida — 11 (43)

Tennessee — 9 (26)

Alabama — 7 (36)

Arkansas — 7 (28)

Mississippi State — 5 (22)

Oklahoma — 4 (21)

Missouri — 4 (20)

Auburn — 4 (19)

Vanderbilt — 3 (16)

Georgia — 3 (15)

South Carolina — 2 (11)

Texas A&M — 1 (23)

Ole Miss — 0 (7)

The first number is top 25 players signed, the second is top 100 (including those in the top 25). I wrote about this last year before Mizzou had gotten the commitment from Jordan Butler who landed at 128, while Anthony Robinson finished 147th. So just Trent Pierce, at 84th, finished in the top 100.

So far this class Dennis Gates and his staff have commitments from the 94th best player (T.O. Barrett), the 72nd best player (Peyton Marshall), and the 53rd best player (Marcus Allen) in this class. And they’re not done yet. If you include Pierce that’s four top 100 players in the last two classes, and add in Aidan Shaw and you have five out of the last three classes.

Five out of seven signees so far have been top 100 talents. Consider that Cuonzo Martin had signed 5 (Michael Porter, Jontay Porter, Jeremiah Tilmon, Tray Jackson, Aidan Shaw) in his five seasons, and three of those came in 2017. Kim Anderson can be credited with one (Montaque Gill-Caesar). So Gates’ next top 100 commitment will help him equal the total of the two previous coaches, while Gates has been on the job for barely a year and a half and the previous regimes had eight years!

It’s amazing what can happen when you invest in a program. Investing not just in Dennis Gates, but giving him a home run hitter like Charlton “C.Y.” Young, then deepening the bench... it all goes a long way. The investment into Gates and his staff has Missouri in deep with highly regarded recruits, and the 2024 class isn’t done yet. The class is currently rated 3rd in the country. There are still far too many highly rated players available it’s unlikely the Tigers stay that high. But if they secure the commitment of Annor Boateng the Missouri class rating will be 65.94 per the class calculator. That would’ve been the 8th ranked class last year, and 10th in 2022.

I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, basketball class rankings matter WAY less than in football. In hoops, signing more players helps you in the rankings, but signing quality players helps you on the floor.

I’m a proponent of signing good players because it usually leads to winning games.