COLUMBIA — It has been a few weeks since Missouri’s five-man basketball recruiting class arrived in Columbia, but it didn’t take long for at least one newcomer to make a positive impression.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
“Keanau Post has really been just a joy to work with,” Missouri’s Frank Haith said during the Southeastern Conference summer basketball coaches’ teleconference Monday. “He’s got such a great attitude, and he wants to be really, really good.”
Since Post, a four-star-rated center from Southwestern Illinois Community College who is listed at 6 feet 11 and 270 pounds — committed to Missouri in January, Haith has repeatedly said Post needs to work hard this summer to remake his body.
Strength coach Todor Pandov, who helped get former Missouri big men Alex Oriakhi and Steve Moore into shape before productive senior seasons, said Post has listened to Haith’s edict. Pandov said Post has already shed 11 pounds since the first day of summer school and recently weighed in at 259 pounds.
“He comes in for extra cardio once or twice a day more than anybody else,” Pandov said. “He’s a kid that really impresses me with his maturity level. He really wants to learn, and you don’t have to explain anything twice to him. He’s made some great progress here the last couple weeks, but we actually have five more weeks of training, so we still have a ways to go.”
Pandov has high hopes for Post, who averaged 12.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game and will be counted on to be a sorely needed low-post presence this season.
“He’s got 21 percent body fat right now,” Pandov said. “If he can get to about 250 (pounds) with 15 percent body fat at the end of the summer, I’ll be really, really pleased.”
Haith also doled out high praise for four-star freshman point guard Wes Clark, saying he and Post “are the newcomers that really stand out.” But like Pandov, Haith repeated that it’s still early, which means the rest of the class — which includes four-star forward Johnathan Williams III, three-star forward Torren Jones and three-star guard Shane Rector — still has plenty of time to grow.
“A guy like Johnathan Williams III, I mean, he’s got a chance to be an outstanding player,” Haith said. “He’s catching on … I think they’re all working tremendously in the weight room. I think the one thing you notice when you look at our team, those guys stand next to our returning guys, there’s a difference. They’re younger but their bodies are different. It’s such an important eight weeks for them in terms of their conditioning with Todor.”
Pandov won’t be letting them off the hook, either. Pandov said the 6-9, 208-pound Williams can stand to add a little strength, as can Clark and Rector — who are both listed at 171 pounds.
Meanwhile the 6-8, 218-pound Jones is strong, but needs to add flexibility, much like Oriakhi did before his senior season.
“For freshmen, it’s always interesting because they come in here and they’ve never trained this hard in their life, they’ve never been through a grueling process like this,” Pandov said. “We set the tone in the weight room and we help them get after it. That’s why we’re here.”