COLUMBIA — Former Baylor swingman Deuce Bello decided to transfer to Missouri last week, but Tigers coach Frank Haith added his two cents on the move in a news release from MU on Tuesday.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“Obviously a key word here with Deuce is his potential,” Haith said. “First and foremost, Deuce is a high-character young man that fits our program on a number of levels and I think our fans will gravitate towards him because he is such a nice, humble young guy.
“Secondly he will step on campus ready to work. The precedent of improvement during that year away has already been set by guys like Earnest (Ross), Jabari (Brown), Jordan (Clarkson) and Keion (Bell). Those guys improved tremendously during that year off and Deuce will follow that same model.”
Bello, a Greensboro, N.C., native who was ranked by Rivals as the No. 54 player in the Class of 2010, never found a major role during his two seasons at Baylor, averaging only 2.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 66 games.
But Bello said in his interview with The Star last week that he takes pride in his athleticism and defense, two strengths that Haith clearly hopes to cultivate.
“As a player I really like his desire to be the best defender possible,” Haith said. “He is a tremendous athlete and has that great explosion and length that you just can’t teach. He wants to be great and wants to hang his hat on being a defensive stopper. I really liked his mindset when we spoke and I’m very excited to have him with us at Mizzou.”
Bello will sit out the 2013-14 season and have two years of eligibility starting in 2014.
Mizzou’s basketball roster in 2014
Here’s a quick look at what the roster could look like when Bello becomes eligible in 2014, barring any early defections to the NBA. Missouri still has three scholarships available to award to the Class of 2014, which includes the son of former Mizzou star Melvin Booker.
• Wes Clark, 6-0, sophomore
• Shane Rector, 6-0, sophomore
• Deuce Bello, 6-4, junior
• Jabari Brown, 6-5, senior
• Jordan Clarkson, 6-5, senior
• Stefan Jankovic, 6-11, junior
• Torren Jones, 6-8, sophomore
• Johnathan Williams III, 6-9, sophomore
• Keanau Post, 6-11, senior
• Ryan Rosburg, 6-10, junior