Welcome to another week of this week in Mizzou recruiting.
I usually have a well-planned introduction for these things but was low on ideas this week.
Not that I have an excuse, but I thought being upfront was the best way to handle this.
So to quote The Joker in The Dark Knight, here, we, go.
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Super Mario cuts it to seven
Mario McKinney had the biggest news of the week as he announced his final seven schools via his Snapchat.
The 2019 Vashon basketball guard cut his list of schools to Missouri, Iowa State, VCU, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Kansas State and Louisville.
Before I break those down, let’s briefly touch on who didn’t make it.
The two that stand out are Florida and Illinois.
Florida offered McKinney back in the spring along with E.J. Liddell, and I had wondered if the Gators were a darkhorse to land either one of them, if not both.
So take away one school that had offered both prospects and was in play as a potential destination for Liddell and McKinney’s possible package deal.
As for Illinois, not much has been heard of with Brad Underwood’s staff with respect to McKinney, especially relative to Liddell, but the Fightin’ Illini were regulars at McKinney’s AAU games and had kept him in the mix.
It’s tough to say how big of a loss this is for Illinois, but at minimum it’s one less school Missouri has to worry about.
Now to the schools he’s actually considering.
I wouldn’t be worried about VCU, Oklahoma State and Louisville. Iowa State has been in to watch him a few times, and McKinney is close with 2019 Cyclones commit Marcedus Leech.
But to me, the real players are Auburn, Kansas State and Missouri.
McKinney has said for a while that he plans to take official visits to Auburn and K-State because of the distance and isn’t sure about Missouri.
I think over the coming weeks we’ll see him plan some visits and go from there. I don’t expect him to commit until November or December.
Even if he doesn’t take an official visit to Missouri I don’t think it hurts the Tigers’ chances.
The West Coast Club
I came up with this nickname spontaneously for the group of Missouri basketball targets currently at the Nike Skills Academy in Los Angeles.
The club consists of Liddell, Josh Christopher and Rocket Watts.
Liddell tweeted that he will announce his top five soon, and he recently posted on Snapchat that he will announce his finalist once he’s back from the camp. So figure early next week.
Christopher was supposed to visit Missouri in August, but sources close to the situation told The Star that is in jeopardy now. The invitation to the Nike camp was something he couldn’t turn down, and next week is Christopher’s last week of summer. His school year starts on Aug. 20.
The goal is still for Christopher to get on campus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes to town for a football or basketball game. It just won’t happen anytime soon.
As for Watts, he posted a top nine on Instagram late Thursday after recently posting another list cut. His top nine are Missouri, Southern California, Michigan State, UConn, Florida State, Louisville, Oregon, Marquette and Minnesota. Interestingly enough Michigan isn’t on the new list after being on the old one. One less power for Missouri to worry about but it remains to be seen what happens with Watt’s recruitment. Does he start taking visits? Or cuts his list again?
Jalen Hill comes to town
Missouri hosted four-star wing Jalen Hill for a visit Thursday, and a source close to the program said it went “really well.”
Hill has been on Missouri’s radar since May and plays on the Las Vegas Prospects alongside Christopher. He also visited DePaul earlier this week.
Hill has had a breakout summer and also has the likes of Oregon, UNLV, Arizona and Florida State hot on his trail. At 6 feet, 7 inches, he’d make a good wing in Cuonzo Martin’s system and is a pretty good defender.
Hill didn’t return a text from The Star asking him about his visit and his plans. When we hear from him, you’ll know about it.
C.J. Boone deciding soon?
Parkway North wide receiver C.J. Boone tweeted that he’s looking for someone to make a commitment video for him. He also tweeted the eyes emoji at the commitment tweet of Missouri quarterback pledge Connor Bazelak.
A possible commitment could be a big deal, especially if it’s coming soon.
Should Boone commit to Missouri, that’s another St. Louis prospect on the board with Barry Odom for the 2019 class, and it also makes you wonder what happens with Marcus Washington.
Washington was supposed to commit on Tuesday but backed off after all the Urban Meyer news broke at Ohio State.
Meyer’s investigation should be over by the end of the month, so maybe Washington ends things pretty quickly. But would Missouri take four receivers after already taking four in its last class?
I think so, but it makes you wonder. If Boone commits, does that mean Washington was never coming to Missouri? Or does it help Missouri’s chances? Four in-state receiver commits is a pretty good PR move for Odom’s program.
NCAA gonna NCAA
I deliberately left this part for last out of fear that people would see this at the top and stop reading.
The NCAA passed some new rules yesterday for college basketball, in response to an FBI investigation, to help improve the game.
Our guy Blair Kerkhoff wrote about them here.
Some new rules:
- Players can now take up to 15 official visits.
- Undrafted players who also went to the NBA Draft Combine can return to school.
-The recruiting period largely stays the same, but at the end of July, players will go to an invite-only camp run by the NCAA and USA Basketball.
-”Elite” high school players can be represented by agents.
I’ll keep the rant short, but to me these rules lead to more questions than answers.
For any sport, 15 official visits is a lot. A LOT. Coaching staffs will be hosting kids they likely have no shot at and it will simply be paying for a free trip for the weekend. And what does a staff tell a player they do have a shot at, but hosted a higher-caliber player at their position for a visit? ‘Oh we had him because he wanted to check it out, but we’re not really in the mix.’
Tough sell. Schools will host guys they don’t really have a chance at now because if they can swing him, it all pays off. Hosting that many visits will also drain schools recruiting budgets.
I like the undrafted rule except for the combine kicker. That rule only applies to six players from this past draft. And that comes with its own set of problems.
Let’s use one of them, Duke’s Trevon Duval, for an example. He goes undrafted but can return to school. The Blue Devils have five-star recruit Tre Jones coming in at point guard. Coach K recruited over Duval. Does Duval really want to go back to school when his minutes are going to go down? And does Duke even want him anymore at that point? How will the NCAA handle that? Will Duval essentially get to play immediately wherever he goes or would he have to sit out?
And on the other side of that, will a school hold a scholarship open until after the draft because they might get a player back or have the option to pick one up? If a player leaves and then a school recruits over him, does the school get an extra scholarship or do they have to do some gymnastics in the middle of the summer?
As for the summer event, that only takes away under-the-radar kids of getting noticed more. I could go on, but I think the point is received.
In terms of agents, the NCAA wants to eliminate third parties from recruits and give the high school coaches more power in all of this, but isn’t an agent a third party? To me it seems like the NCAA is swapping out AAU coaches influence with agents. And if a player is getting repped by an agent at a school and the agent wants to do one thing and the coach another, what happens?
This just opened up Pandora’s Box.