The Star's blog on college sports, featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri
Missouri basketball roster taking shape, still has spots to fill
05/29/2014 7:12 PM
Missouri’s men’s basketball program still has two scholarships to fill after missing out on Ricky Kreklow and Shelton Mitchell.
Kreklow, a senior small forward who started his career with the Tigers, elected to walk-on at Creighton after graduating from California-Berkeley and seeking a new program for his final season of eligibility.
Meanwhile, Shelton — a point guard from Waxhaw, N.C., who attended Oak Hill Academy last season — chose SEC rival Vanderbilt over Missouri. He had originally committed to Wake Forest, but de-committed after Jeff Bzdelik was fired in March.
The Tigers remain in the running for Tramaine Isabell.
Isabell — a 6-foot-1, three-star point guard from Garfield High School in Seattle — has Missouri among his final two along with Providence for now.
Former Niagara star Antoine Mason also has emerged on Missouri’s radar.
Mason, a 6-foot-3 scoring guard who graduated and has one year of eligibility left, is intriguing for several reasons.
Last season, he ranked second in NCAA Division I in scoring (25.6), though he only shot 28.6 percent from three-point range.
Missouri lost its top three scorers from last season, so Mason’s ability to fill it up would be a nice addition to a roster without a proven college scorer.
He also would allow the Tigers to balance the roster as Keanau Post and Hawaii transfer Keith Shamburger are the only seniors currently on the roster.
Missouri had five available scholarships for 2014.
Third-leading scorer Earnest Ross and forward Tony Criswell graduated, while transfer Zach Price was dismissed by former Tigers coach Frank Haith before he left for Tulsa.
Missouri’s leading scorers last season, Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson, entered the NBA Draft after their junior seasons.
Forward D’Angelo Allen committed to the Tigers and former Hawaii point guard Keith Shamburger picked Missouri for his final season of eligibility.
New Missouri coach Kim Anderson also retained both Jakeenan Gant and Namon Wright, who signed with the Tigers in November.
However, shortly after Wright decided to stay, Shane Rector, who played sparingly as a freshman last season, chose to transfer.
That leaves a net of two unused scholarships.
Missouri reportedly had offered Brandon Chauca, but the 5-foot-9 point guard from 22 Feet Academy in Greenville, S.C., is poised to choose between Cal and Washington State on Friday, according to his Twitter account.
Current 2014-15 roster
Point guards (Deuce Bello, Wes Clark, Keith Shamburger): The addition of Shamburger is huge. Clark showed flashes of potential as a freshman and might find more success in new coach Kim Anderson’s system, but adding a veteran point guard was vital. Much like Jordan Clarkson the year before, Bello worked on transitioning from shooting guard to point guard during his year off as a transfer from Baylor.
Shooting guards (Cam Biedscheid, Namon Wright): Big things are expected from Biedscheid, who has a solid freshman season at Notre Dame before returning to his home state. He becomes eligible after first-semester classes wrap up. Meanwhile, Wright could be in line for significant early playing time. He’s a promising talent not only as a scorer, but defensively (and keeping him was a real coup for Anderson and his staff).
Small forwards (D’Angelo Allen, Jakeenan Gant): Some of this is guesswork. Allen can probably play some shooting guard as he has the skills to play around the perimeter. Gant can play some power forward as well, but as a true freshman — in terms of physical maturity, at the very least — the three spot might be a good fit as he adjusts to college and fills out.
Power forwards (Danny Feldmann, Torren Jones, Johnathan Williams III): Williams, better known as J3, had some outstanding games as a freshman and disappeared in some others. He is a talented prospect and should make a big leap forward as a sophomore. The same can be said for Jones, who is a raw prospect and looked lost at times defensively last season. Of course, that could be said about most of the Tigers and Jones’ athleticism and enthusiasm is off the charts. Feldmann has value as a smart and unselfish player off the bench.
Centers (Hayden Barnard, Keanau Post, Ryan Rosburg): It’s not exactly an area of strength, especially in terms of scoring. However, Rosburg is a much better player than many fans give him credit for and will only get better as a junior. Post put together some decent games late in the season and appeared to regain some confidence. Expect a healthy rotation among the forwards and posts.