Okay. In case you missed it, it was an eventful week in Mizzou adjacent transfer portal news when Caleb Love had to decommit from Michigan due to the University’s difficult admissions standards for transfers.
By all accounts, Caleb Love is a good student so this amounts more to an issue with Michigans wild standards for transfer admissions than any improprieties with Love’s own academics.
Obviously the on-going connection with Missouri is going to make this a Missouri story to a degree (no further comment on anything that’s come out in the last few days). But Cuonzo Martin missed on Love way back in the fall of 2019. Then Love nearly entered the portal a few years ago and it seemed like he might become a Tiger then. Alas, that didn’t happen. But this spring it did! And it seemed like Dennis Gates and Caleb Love were going to end up being pals until Love committed to Michigan.
So you can imagine there might be some shellshock from Missouri fans when it comes to Love. But in the immortal words of Tobias Fünke, “These people somehow delude themselves into thinking it might (work for them), but... but it might work for us.”
We’re going to look at this a little differently. I’ve already made the case why I think Love and Gates would be a good match as player-coach. The why part of a potential Love-Mizzou marriage isn’t in question, as I’ve made the case why I think Dennis Gates would be a good fit for Caleb and his progression as a basketball player. But where things were in early April versus where the roster is now.
Does Missouri need Caleb Love?
Since Caleb committed to Michigan, Mizzou added Tamar Bates and Caleb Grill. They had already added John Tonje before that. So the backcourt, with returners, is filling up. Neither Bates nor Grill are the same player Love is. But it’s expected at this point that Isiaih Mosley will fill a guard spot next season along with Nick Honor and Sean East. That’s six players vying for minutes, and we haven’t brought up Curt Lewis and Aidan Shaw.
The backcourt right now isn’t the problem. So the answer is that no, Missouri does not need Caleb Love.
They have depth on the perimeter, but they really only have one player who is a creator. And that player is Mosley, who isn’t someone who has been consistently around. Bates could possibly become that guy, but most of the other guys are system guys. Of the ball types. As we say... low usage.
Love is not that. So if you’re looking for variety, he could still fit.
Should Missouri pursue Caleb Love?
This is a whole other question. And it may surprise you to hear me say no, they shouldn’t.
Mizzou gave Love the pitch, and he picked another school. They lost.
I understand these situations aren’t that cut and dry, which is why the next question is the more important one.
Should Missouri take Love if he wants to commit?
This answer is different, because yes they should.
Mizzou has lost out on Love, publicly, multiple times now. He and his family know what Dennis Gates and the program have to offer. There is no mystery. If he wants to be at Missouri then great.
But if he wants to go through another public recruitment and take visits, I think you let him do it. But you don’t pursue. You don’t call or text. You let him know he’s welcome, but it’s not going to be another public loss.
There are rumors connecting Love to Alabama, Texas, Illinois, Memphis, and others. There should be no shortage of schools who can promise a lot of the same things that Michigan was promising. And none of those schools have the kind of guard depth that the Tigers have.
So maybe, after all these attempts... the timing isn’t right.
I’m still a believer in Love’s talent. And if he wants to sign up, I think you take him. But I don’t think it makes sense to go all in. Especially when there is a clear need on the interior.