It’s no secret that a number of Missouri’s football players over the years had a lot of success on the basketball court before trading in the orange and black ball for the pigskin.
Former Missouri defensive end Charles Harris, a Lincoln Prep grad now with the Miami Dolphins, was a high school basketball standout before the Tigers offered him a football scholarship. Former tight end Sean Culkin, now with the Los Angeles Chargers, played on Amar’e Stoudemire’s AAU team and held multiple Division I basketball offers.
The Star asked a select few of Missouri’s roster, most of which played basketball in high school, to name a starting five using only their teammates. Players were allowed to vote for themselves. Their answers are below and some are more surprising than others.
The committee: quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Kendall Blanton, offensive linemen Kevin Pendleton and Paul Adams (they made a team together) and wide receiver J’Mon Moore.
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The starting five (based on player picks):
Point guard: Dominic Nelson (unanimous)
The 6-foot safety was a basketball standout at East St. Louis High before becoming a member of Missouri’s secondary.
Blanton: “He’s probably an all-rec team guy. It surprised me the first time I saw him play.”
Pendleton: “Dominic Nelson can be our point guard but he can only have three shot attempts in the first half. He has to distribute the ball first.”
Shooting fuard: Richaud Floyd
The 5-11 slot receiver was a member of the 2014 Gulfport High School state championship team.
Pendleton and Adams: “Richaud Floyd would definitely be our two. He can score.”
Small forward: Drew Lock (unanimous)
Before setting the SEC single-season touchdown record, the 6-4 Lock was a highly touted basketball recruit who played on the same AAU team as Kevin Puryear and Jimmy Whitt, who now plays for SMU.
Lock said he had basketball offers from Missouri, Oklahoma and Wichita State. Oklahoma and Missouri were fine with him playing both sports.
Power forward: Justin Smith (unanimous)
A 6-7 wide receiver, Smith has struggled to stay healthy since coming to Missouri but has been an red zone threat-in-waiting when he does. Smith averaged 10.6 points and 6.9 rebounds at West Laurens High in Georgia and was mainly recruited off his basketball film under Gary Pinkel’s staff.
Lock: “Justin Smith is freaky.”
Blanton: “I know he was a pretty good AAU player in Atlanta.”
Center: Terry Beckner Jr.
The No. 1 football recruit in the nation out of high school, the 6-4, 305-pound Beckner was voted by his teammates as the best basketball player on the team who isn’t talked about. Beckner didn’t even play basketball in high school.
Lock: “You haven’t seen this man shoot the rock, but Terry Beckner would be a four or five on my team. The man can pull up from half court and put anything in the bucket.”
Pendleton and Adams: “He’s our ‘three and D’ guy. He’s going to use all six fouls. He’ll dribble the ball at half court and shoot it from half court. He’s a strong guy.”
Tre Williams, defensive end; Cam Hilton, safety; Kendall Blanton, tight end; J’Mon Moore, wide receiver; Paul Adams, tackle; Kevin Pendleton, guard