Cuonzo Martin has 'whirlwind' start as Mizzou basketball coach
Richland (Texas) High point guard C.J. Roberts, who committed to Missouri following a mid-September visit, announced Monday that he still plans to attend the school.
During a phone interview with The Star, he said Tigers fans deserve some credit for his decision.
“The fan base is really crazy,” Roberts said. “It’s one of the best fan bases I’ve ever been a part of, and I had a lot of other really good schools that were recruiting me, but (Mizzou) fans really made me feel wanted.”
Roberts — a 6-foot, 180-pound Rivals and ESPN four-star prospect — signed with the Tigers in November.
He’s been weighing his options since Mizzou announced March 5 that former coach Kim Anderson had been asked to step down.
Roberts met with new Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin on March 25 at his family’s North Richland Hills, Texas, home.
“When (Martin) came and talked to me, he was very straight forward and very respectful with what he said,” Roberts said. “That was something that I liked.”
Roberts — who averaged 22.5 points as a junior and 25 points as a senior in 14 games before suffering a season-ending stress fracture in his left foot — announced Monday during an interview with a Houston radio station that he will not request a release from the national letter of intent and will enroll as planned at Mizzou.
He has been cleared by doctors to resume basketball activities and said he’s “pretty much getting back to my old self” after the injury.
Roberts is the No. 35 point guard overall and No. 15 player in Texas, according to ESPN.
He’s also ranked No. 98 player overall by Rivals as well as No. 12 in Texas, No. 42 at point guard and No. 189 overall by 247 Sports, which pegs him as a three-star recruit along with Scout.
With Roberts’ decision and a commitment from Michael Porter Jr., Mizzou has only one scholarship unaccounted for next season. The Tigers will return 10 players from last season’s roster.
“I feel like we have a chance to make some noise in the SEC and actually be on top of that thing,” Roberts said.
The Tigers have a full complement of 13 scholarships in 2017-18 after forfeiting a scholarship each of the last two seasons as part of self-imposed sanctions that stemmed from a joint investigation with the NCAA into rules violations.
The Tigers are hosting five-star Tampa (Fla.) Catholic small forward Kevin Knox and Word of God Christian Academy point guard Blake Harris from Raleigh, N.C., for visits this weekend.
Harris signed with Washington in November, but was released from that commitment after Lorenzo Romar was fired.
Roberts said he hasn’t spoken with Knox — “Mike’s got that under control,” Roberts said — but he hopes Harris will come even though both are point guards.
“(Harris) would be a great addition because we can both play on and off the ball,” Roberts said. “He could be the one at times and I could be the two or he could be the two sometimes and I could be the one.”
Roberts will join a backcourt that returns two points guards, Terrence Phillips and Jordan Geist, along with shooting guards Frankie Hughes, K.J. Walton and Cullen VanLeer, but he welcomes to challenge.
“Of course, Terrence Phillips still fits in there,” Roberts said. “He’s not going to give up his spot willingly. He’s definitely going to show some fight, but you definitely want that competition. You don’t want it to be easy because the game isn’t going to be easy.”
Roberts also had offers from Alabama, Baylor, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas State, LSU, Mississippi, Purdue, Rhode Island, Rutgers, South Carolina, SMU, TCU, Texas Tech, USC, Virginia Tech and Wichita State among others, according to various recruiting sites.