E.J. Liddell is the Missouri basketball program’s most-coveted class of 2019 recruit, and as the summer basketball season winds down, competition for the 6-foot-7 forward appears to be ramping up.
Liddell, a versatile shot blocker who already has 15 scholarship offers, is now garnering new interest from Wisconsin, Indiana and Duke. Though none of those three have offered Liddell a scholarship yet, he said he’s spoken to legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski on the phone “a couple of times,” and Coach K has told the Belleville, Ill., forward that the improvement he’s shown in the past year has been impressive.
“It’s a lot of schools, honestly,” Lidell said here at the Nike Peach Jam tournament when asked which schools seem to be making him a priority. “I couldn’t name all of them off the top of my head.”
He did say Missouri is one of those teams, though. Coach Cuonzo Martin, who has been re-established the Tigers as a recruiting force in the St. Louis area, offered Liddell a scholarship more than a year ago — before even Illinois State made an offer. And the Mizzou coaches are still contacting Liddell everyday.
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“They text me everyday, call me all the time,” Liddell said of the MU coaching staff. “They’re really interested.”
So is Illinois, whose coach, Brad Underwood, recently sent Liddell a three-page, handwritten letter. Liddell — who is working on his dribbling and shooting so he can become more a threat on the perimeter — said he doesn’t mind going far from home for college. He said he just wants the “best fit.”
Though he doesn’t have a specific number in mind, Liddell plans to narrow down his list of schools at the end of this month, and he will plan official visits after that. For now, he has scheduled just one official visit: He will go to Ohio State the weekend of the Buckeyes’ first football game, which is Sept. 1 against Oregon State.
Liddell said if more schools express interest in him, he plans to listen.
Moody sits out
Liddell’s Bradley Beal Elite team greatly missed five-star shooting guard Moses Moody on Thursday, when the St. Louis-based AAU team lost its second game of the Peach Jam. Moody was on the BBE bench with ice on his left foot.
The 6-foot-4 Moody said he fractured the fourth metatarsal in that foot and has been playing through it for most of the summer. Moody said he can play at about 80 percent but isn’t sure it’s worth playing, given the amount of coaches present at these games and the risk that a bad performance could hurt his stock.
Missouri offered Moody early in the spring, and the Little Rock, Ark. resident has received offers from Stanford and Auburn.
“It’s Stanford,” he said of the Cardinal. “That’s a great program. There’s a lot of great networking you can do there with all the people there. That’s a great tool to have.”
Moody has also heard from Duke and said he has no planned visits but would eventually like to visit every school that has offered him so far.
Rivals ranks him as the No. 29 play in the class of 2020, and he has 11 scholarship offers.
Hall would ‘love’ to reunite with old teammates
Malik Hall, a four-star wing who has received national attention this season by picking up offers from the likes of Texas, Villanova and Florida, said Missouri remains squarely in the picture.
The 6-foot-7 wing is also considering Oregon, Purdue, Oklahoma, Louisville and TCU, among others. He said Martin and assistant coach Cornell Mann reach out two to three times a week.
Hall, who plans to cut his list in August or September, knows a large portion of Missouri’s current roster, as he played on the Mokan Elite AAU team alongside Jontay Porter and Parker Braun. He was also a high school teammate of MU freshman Javon Pickett, who had a short stint at Sunrise Christian Academy, which Hall attends.
“I’d love to be on the same team as them but as far it goes it comes down to how I feel,” he said.
Jackson wants to visit Mizzou again
Are the Tigers recruiting their next Jontay Porter?
Apparently that was the MU coaching staff’s pitch to Tray Jackson, a forward from Michigan who took an unofficial visit to Mizzou in early June and is ranked No. 105 in the class of 2019 by Rivals. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound recruit appeared comfortable playing on the perimeter on Thursday, when his Meanstreets team beat Liddell’s Bradley Beal Elite team on the Peach Jam’s second day. Jackson’s shot look a little slow to develop, but he showed a knack for attacking the ball off the dribble.
He didn’t move a lot without the ball in his hands, but he seems to know that’s a weakness. He said he wants to show coaches he is working on his motor, “showing that I want to win more.”
The 6-foot-11 Porter — who will sometimes play point guard for Mizzou next season, according to Martin — likes to shoot threes and is a great passer for his size. But he also moves well on defense, often establishing himself in proper position around the basket. Jackson said he’s working on adding strength so that he can be an adequate interior defender.
Jackson has taken just one official visit so far, to Oklahoma. He said he plans to use one of his four remaining official visits on Missouri. He mentioned Minnesota, Virginia Tech and Xavier as the other schools that are recruiting him most.
Another recruit wants to take an official visit to MU
Like Jackson, Antavion Collum — a consensus four-star recruit who has taken an unofficial visit to MU — said on Thursday that he plans to make an official visit to Missouri.
Collum, a 6-foot-7 forward who is ranked No. 98 in the 2019 class by Rivals, recently cut his list of schools to seven, including Mizzou.
“I talk to Cuonzo a lot,” Collum said at the Peach Jam, where he’s playing for Team CP3. “He’s a great coach, has a great relationship with his players. That’s one thing I’m looking for. I want to go and see how it is on campus.”
Aside from Missouri, Collum plans to visit UNLV, Louisville, Florida and Florida State before cutting his list to four schools.
Collum said Martin is recruiting him as a point guard and sees himself as a player that can play multiple positions. He wants to commit to a program in the fall.