Missouri landed a men’s basketball commitment late Friday night from Christian Guess, a 6-foot-5 small forward from Shaker Heights, Ohio, who’ll arrive on campus and join the team Monday.
Guess graduated from Shaker Heights in May but needed to complete extra academic work before being ruled eligible by the NCAA. He takes the Tigers’ last scholarship for the 2018-19 season, which was vacated by Cullen VanLeer, who medically retired earlier this week. The Tigers announced Guess’ commitment on Saturday.
“We’re very excited to have Christian join our Mizzou Basketball family,” Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin said in a release. “He has tremendous athletic ability and a scorer’s mentality. Christian’s competitive drive and desire to get better will fit right in with our program. We’re looking forward to getting him to Mizzou.”
Rated a three-star recruit by 247sports, Guess chose the Tigers over West Virginia, New Mexico, New Mexico State and Tennessee-Martin among others. Guess is considered a scoring wing who can get to the basket and play around the rim.
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Last season at Shaker Heights, he averaged 26.2 points per game and scored a school-record 57 points in a game against Mentor. Guess earned second-team All-Cleveland.com Fab 50 All-Star recognition and second-team All-Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Second Team honors after his senior year.
Danny Young, Guess’ coach at Shaker Heights, said he would call his star player “a scorer, but not a shooter.” Young said Guess is great at getting to the basket but needs to develop a more consistent jump shot in college.
“If I was defending him., I’d rather him shoot than drive to the rim and dunk on me,“ Young said.
Young said Guess feeds off the crowd, which could impact his mental focus during games. Young said Martin is the perfect coach to help Guess with that.
While other schools had lukewarm interest in Guess during the recruiting process, Young said Missouri was the most interested program despite having to wait on his eligibility.
“Missouri was the most aggressive school in that nature,” he said. “They really wanted to make this work.”
Guess joins fellow freshmen Torrence Watson and Javon Pickett on the wing. Junior college transfer K.J. Santos could also get some time there.