Retention has been a major issue for Missouri men’s basketball.
It’s been particularly acute since Kim Anderson took over April 28, 2014, after Frank Haith decided to bolt for Tulsa a few weeks earlier.
To be clear, transfer rates in college basketball are astronomical and it was something of a problem before Anderson’s arrival.
Keanau Post, a four-star junior college center who signed with the 2013 recruiting class, was the only one of five players from that signing class to finish his eligibility.
Three of the four freshman signed in 2012 — Domonique Bull, Stefan Jankovic and Negus Webster-Chan — also transferred. The lone exception was Ryan Rosburg.
Still, it has to be alarming that 13 players decommitted from Mizzou, transferred or were dismissed since Anderson took over fewer than 24 months ago.
If there’s any good news, with Jakeenan Gant’s decision Thursday to transfer, all links with Haith’s regime are now severed. It’s unequivocally Anderson’s team now and he can claim absolute ownership of the entire operation.
Every player on the 2016-17 roster was recruited by Anderson and his staff, which didn’t include any holdovers from the Haith era after the Tigers and former associate head coach Tim Fuller parted ways last spring.
The downside is that the roster now includes only one scholarship senior — forward Russell Woods, a junior college transfer — and no juniors. Anderson still has two available scholarships for next season.
Here’s a timeline of the departures since Anderson’s arrival:
May 6, 2014: Kevin Punter, a guard from State Fair Community College in Sedalia., Mo., decommits from Missouri after a visit to Tennessee. He had committed to the Tigers on April 4 and went through a mock signing ceremony April 16 around the time Frank Haith was deciding to leave MU. Punter led the Volunteers in scoring at 22.2 points per game last season.
May 16, 2014: Seldom-used shooting guard Shane Rector opts to transfer after averaging 0.5 points in 23 games as a freshman on Haith’s final team. He took a star turn at Miami-Dade Community College in Florida — where he averaged 17.4 points, 5.5 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 steals — before moving to Utah State last season. Rector made 12 starts, dished a team-high 101 assists and averaged 9.3 points as a junior.
Aug. 8, 2014: Torren Jones was dismissed for a violation of team rules. He was a holdover, recruited by Haith and it’s hard to find fault in Anderson for sending him packing. Jones shows promise athletically, but he was raw. After a year at Midland (Texas) College, Jones averaged 10.5 points and 7.9 rebounds last season at Fresno State.
Sept. 30, 2014: Cam Biedscheid leaves Missouri to attend to “personal matters.” It was a mutual parting of ways. Biedscheid transferred from Notre Dame at semester a year earlier under Haith. He took part in the internship program at the heart of ongoing NCAA investigation into the program. Biedscheid, a St. Louis native, never played in a game for the Tigers. He wound up at Jacksonville (Ala.) State after initially committing to Iona after Mizzou. Biedscheid averaged 10.0 points in three games last season, but apparently is set to transfer yet again.
March 31, 2015: Johnathan Williams III transferred to Gonzaga. This is the one that hurt most. He had been the leading scorer (11.9 ppg) and rebounder (7.1 rpg) on Anderson’s first team, but he didn’t buy into the offense and didn’t feel comfortable with his teammates. Williams sat out last season and will be eligible for the Zags this season.
April 7, 2015: Deuce Bello leaves for East Tennessee State (after graduating in August). He only averaged 10.9 minutes in 23 games as a junior at Mizzou, so it was a complete surprise. He joined the Tigers as a transfer from Baylor under Haith. Eligible immediately as a graduate transfer, Bello averaged 9.2 points and 3.4 rebounds for a 24-win team.
July 15, 2015: After reclassifying to the 2014 recruiting class late, Montaque Gill-Caesar lasted only one season at Missouri. He was absent from summer workouts and eventually decided to transfer to San Diego State, where he sat out last season. Gill-Caesar, known as “Teki,” averaged 9.1 points and 2.6 rebounds as a freshman.
Nov. 13, 2015: Martavian Payne never played for Missouri. He signed along with forward Russell Woods last spring from John A. Logan College in Illinois, but academics and other issues kept him from seeing the court. Payne originally signed with Southeast Missouri out of high school and later committed to Graceland after leaving Mizzou, but instead apparently signed with Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) in suburban St. Louis.
Feb. 16, 2016: Wes Clark was dismissed for not going to class or he quit. Either way, the Detroit native, who one NBA scout told me had enough scoring potential to perhaps earn a shot in the D-League, won’t suit up again for the Tigers. It’s unclear what his future holds. The last of the Tigers who actually suited up for Haith, Clark averaged 7.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 81 career games.
Feb. 29, 2016: D’Angelo Allen, who was Kim Anderson’s first commit, called it a Mizzou career with two games remaining in the season. He averaged 2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds in 53 career games, but saw his minutes cut in half from his freshman to sophomore season. Allen, a Dallas native, hasn’t settled on his next stop.
March 15, 2016: Both Tramaine Isabell and Namon Wright played a bigger role and seemed to find a home down the stretch, but both will now look for glory elsewhere. Wright, a Los Angeles native who signed with Haith but stuck around after the coaching change, averaged 8.2 points in 61 career games, while Isabell went for 5.2 points in 55 career games. Isabell, a Seattle native, was repeatedly suspended for incidents at practice and a poor attitude during his Mizzou tenure. Neither has signed with a new school yet.
April 21, 2016: Jakeenan Gant was the final remaining recruit from the 2014 class and the last link to Haith’s time in Columbia on the current roster. He had shoulder surgery last month. Gant came in as Rivals’ No. 52 overall prospect coming out of high school in Georgia, but he only averaged 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 53 career games. He’s expected to transfer somewhere in the south to be closer to his mother, La’Kenia.