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Mizzou Links: Jakeenan Gant still has loads of potential

Jakeenan Gant's improvement has become a central theme of Mizzou's offseason basketball workouts. Also: Thornton Jenkins passes away, Mizzou's John Warren shines at the USATF Juniors, and Missouri loves USWNT soccer.

Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

Mizzou Tigers pennant What's On

Jakeenan Gant, high school star.

One theme of this month's offseason basketball content has been that Gant is blossoming quite a bit after playing pretty timid ball for most of last season. That's certainly the main takeaway from his Summer Sessions interview with PowerMizzou. Put it in a percentage: How much of your game did Missouri fans see last year compared to what you hope they see this year?

JG: "I'd say 30, 40 percent. I didn't really have, it was my freshman year so I was kind of nervous and anxious so I didn't play as good, but this year, I know what it takes so I know what I need to do and what I could do. I've got more confidence in my game." How much more comfortable are you than you were a year ago at this time?

JG: "Way more comfortable. I'm way more comfortable with the coaches, what I got to do, the atmosphere, teammates. Everything."

As has been said 50 times now, everybody's "improving" over the summer, and everybody's confident. I'm enjoying the positive basketball content because it's a lovely palate cleanser after last year, but I'm not going to suddenly predict a tourney run. Still, potential and reality were very, very far apart for Gant in 2014-15, and if he progresses a decent amount toward his ceiling (and, yes, puts on some damn weight), he could be a weapon Mizzou definitely didn't have last year.

Other Summer Sessions
PowerMizzou: Summer Sessions: D'Angelo Allen
PowerMizzou: Summer Sessions: K.J. Walton

Mizzou Tigers pennant RIP, Thornton Jenkins

Jenkins was part of a lovely story Joe Walljasper wrote a few years ago.

About 50 years ago, five men with strong ties to the University of Missouri athletic department started meeting each morning for coffee at Memorial Union, which was just a short walk down Hitt Street from the athletic offices at Rothwell Gymnasium.

The group included MU football assistants Huston "Hoot" Betty and Clay Cooper, baseball coach John "Hi" Simmons, sports information director Bill Callahan and former basketball star and assistant coach Thornton Jenkins, who went on to become an referee who worked two Final Fours.

"We kept adding people to it," Jenkins said. "People died, people left, got transferred."

The location has changed a few times since, and the 89-year-old Jenkins is the only surviving original member. But on any given weekday at 10 a.m. at the Hy-Vee on West Broadway, a dozen or so retirees — many of them major figures in local athletic lore — carry on the caffeinated tradition.

Mizzou Tigers pennant The latest in football recruiting:

PowerMizzou: 2016 Hot Board: TB
PowerMizzou: 2016 Hot Board: WR


Mizzou Tigers pennant WHATNOT

Mizzou vs. the US
MUTIGERS.COM: John Warren Wins Gold at USATF Junior Championships

Freshman John Warren continued to add to his stellar freshman season this weekend, making yet another trip to Eugene, Ore., and the historic Hayward Field where he earned gold at the USATF Junior Championships in the triple jump.  He was joined on the podium by freshman Karissa Schweizer, who placed third in the junior women's 3000m run with a 9:45.59 crossing.

"John did an amazing job showing his growth this weekend," Assistant Coach Carjay Lyles, in charge of the sprints and horizontal jumps, said. "He earned new personal records [PR's] at the last two meets, and that's what you want this time of year.  Being your best when your best is needed."

Mizzou vs. the world
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzous Howard, Houck Key in Team USAs 3-2 Win Friday
The Trib: MU diver Reedy excited to compete in World University Games

Where Are They Now
MUTIGERS.COM: Where Are They Now: Erika Martin-Cross

Mizzou Tigers pennant Today in out-of-context Wes Clark tweets

Mizzou Tigers pennant MIZ-USWNT