University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Tre Mitchell, Josh Christopher, Aijha Blackwell

Another week where we had big news to digest. And more decisions are on the horizon.

So buckle up.

E.J. Liddell to Ohio State

Missouri lost its top basketball recruiting target, E.J. Liddell, to Ohio State on Monday. The news wasn’t a shock after the situation appeared heading that way late last week. Missouri had a good of a chance as the Buckeyes going into his official visit and the temperature changed after he left.

When asked about Mizzou on Instagram this week, Liddell said, “All love to Mizzou. Ohio State was just a better fit.” So it appears he still has good feelings about Missouri but just felt more comfortable at Ohio State.

Now that he’s off the board, where does Missouri go?

A quick search of the coaching staff’s Twitter accounts doesn’t indicate any possible new targets. The staff has been on the road this week and Missouri’s not in code red where scholarships are being sent out “just to get a body.”

That being said…

Meet Tre Mitchell

It was reported on Wednesday that 2019 four-star center Tre Mitchell is hearing a lot more from Missouri lately and a source told me that the Tigers will see him Monday.

Listed at 6-foot-9, Mitchell is more of your traditional big man than a stretch player like Liddell. The two schools to beat right now are UConn and Notre Dame but he still has an open mind. He’s taking an official visit to Illinois next weekend and then plans to wait and see who comes into the picture before scheduling his final two official visits.

There’s plenty of time for Mizzou to get into the picture.

Josh Christopher takes on Hollywood

As I reported last week, Missouri assistant coach Chris Hollender (nicknamed Hollywood) went out to Los Angeles to meet 2020 five-star recruit Josh Christopher.

It appears the meeting was a hit on both sides. Hollender met with Christopher and his father, Laron, who is the uncle to strength coach Nicodemus Christopher. The conversation touched on Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin’s pedigree of getting players into the NBA and his track record with player development.

Christopher and his father looked at possible visit dates right after Hollender left but nothing is solid right now.

I’m told the visit from Hollender “absolutely got Missouri into the mix” Also looking at the top-15 shooting guard: UCLA, Southern California and San Diego State. Kansas and Oregon are trying to get in soon.

Christopher told me in April that he wants to take a visit to Missouri and reiterated in July that it’s the only campus he’s interested in seeing right now. Can we all agree that’s a good sign for the Tigers?

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Cam’Ron Fletcher

Nothing new on Fletcher’s front recruiting wise, but since the commitment of Mario McKinney, it appears that’s a big plus for Missouri’s chances with his teammate at Vashon.

I’m bringing this up now because to me it is the key to the 2020 class. The 6-4 Fletcher and 6-4 Christopher are both scoring wings. If Missouri can get both, can they co-exist? If they can, that is a scary duo. One can play the 2 while the other plays the 3. If Missouri can get both of them and Caleb Love, then that’s a top-10 class to me.

It’s a ways away, but I think it’s something to watch. McKinney being a Tiger absolutely helps though.

Jalani Williams to commit next Friday

Missouri got some good news on the football front with news that 2019 Parkway North safety Jalani Williams canceled his official visit to Alabama and is deciding on a school next Friday. He will be a Tiger either way as it appears LSU and Missouri are his top two schools.

I said in last week’s column that Williams would be a huge commitment for Missouri. After William Moore, when was the last time Missouri had an impact safety? Braylon Webb, probably?

Getting him would be a real impact recruit for Missouri in St. Louis. Williams is a consensus top-five player in the state and four-star recruit. Now that would be a statement for Barry Odom.

Marcus Washington also deciding soon

Washington, the state’s top-ranked wideout, announced he will commit on Oct. 26. Originally down to Missouri and Ohio State, he backed off from committing in August after the Urban Meyer allegations came up. The Buckeyes are now out of the picture. It appears Missouri’s biggest competition is Texas.

I’ll look into this one as it gets closer but that’s where things are for now.

Aijha Blackwell down to three

MU women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton’s biggest target, Aijha Blackwell, cut her list to three this week. Kansas, Missouri and Louisville remain for the 2019 five-star recruit in St. Louis. Blackwell is the daughter of former Missouri running back Ernest Blackwell and attends Whitfield School, where Torrence Watson went.

Jack Buford’s comment to me from a few weeks ago still rings in my head when I think of Blackwell: “She could play with the men and give them problems.”

What a commitment this would be for Pingeton. It would be her biggest recruit who isn’t Sophie Cunningham, and keep the program rolling.

Speaking of Cunningham, her and the rest of the team have been very vocal in the recruiting efforts.

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I’m told Missouri and Louisville are the real players for Blackwell. She’s supposed to decide on Oct. 20. Let’s see what happens.

Alex Schiffer

Alex Schiffer covers University of Missouri athletics for The Star.

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