University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Eric Williams Jr., Jordan Brown and more

Greetings from my couch in New Jersey as I type this before heading back to Missouri to cover MU’s spring football game on Saturday. We have an absolutely loaded edition of the recruiting column this week.

In honor of the end of the college basketball season, I’ll invoke my inner Jon Rothstein.

And Here. We. Go.

On Josh Christopher ... caught up with Josh Christopher this week, and it appears the 6-foot-4 basketball scoring machine is taking his time with his recruitment. He’s in no rush to commit to a school and is looking into visits with Oregon and Florida State. Not much there other than Missouri is still in the running, which is what you’d expect.

When St. John’s parted ways with Chris Mullin, rumors started swirling that Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley could take the job, but that’s no longer happening. As I started typing this, I see Jeff Goodman’s report that Hurley has signed a five-year extension with the Sun Devils. So he and Josh’s brother Caleb, who has committed to ASU, aren’t going anywhere. Had Hurley left, I’d have a hard time seeing Caleb Christopher follow him all the way east, which likely would have meant he was looking for a new home.

I hung out with Caleb at the Peach Jam and left a big fan of his. He was supposed to sign with Cal State-Northridge before a coaching change made him a last-minute free agent. It would stink to see him have the same situation again. ASU is a player in Josh Christopher’s recruitment, and Caleb being there is just another hurdle MU is going to have to deal with in a tight recruitment.

Eric Williams Jr. visiting

Duquesne basketball transfer Eric Williams Jr. is on an official visit to Missouri this weekend and got into town on Thursday. He hails from Michigan and was recruited by MU assistant Cornell Mann when he was at Oakland. Williams is 6-6 and will have to sit out a year, but he has two years of eligibility remaining. It feels weird saying ‘sit out a year,’ when that’s hardly happening anymore.

Williams averaged 14 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Dukes while shooting 37 percent from three. A college coach I’m friendly with texted me about Williams when he heard the news of Williams’ visit to MU. His message?

“Eric Williams would be a real good pickup for Mizzou.”

My buddy knows a player from Duquesne, since they’re from the same area and said he’s been told Williams is a player with potential. He’s also hearing from Oregon among other schools. We’ll keep an eye on this one, and my plan is to try and get Williams for next week’s column.

Jordan Brown to transfer

Jordan Brown, a former five-star recruit who spent his freshman basketball season at Nevada, put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. Brown is a 6-foot-10 center who was a McDonald’s All-American and struggled during his freshman season at Nevada. He only played around 10 minutes per game.

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin recruited Brown at California and Brown ended up choosing the Wolfpack over the Golden Bears. Before Mizzou fans get their hopes up, I texted a source of mine that was firmly in the know with Brown’s recruitment. It appears that while Martin started recruiting Brown, it was his former assistant and eventual successor at Cal, Wyking Jones, who really did the legwork here, especially after Martin left for Missouri. Jones was fired by Cal a few weeks ago after struggling as a head coach for two seasons. Brown could still consider MU, and he’d make a heck of an addition to a position that doesn’t have a reliable starter in Jeremiah Tilmon.

I’ve always said, I think MU has an easy recruiting pitch when it comes to recruiting centers. ‘Our starter is a future pro, here’s how we helped develop him, but he’s foul prone and there’s a lot of minutes for you immediately in some capacity.’ That’s the gist of my pitch. I’m no college coach, but between the team MU returns next year and the minutes available at that position, I think Brown is worth pursuing, if you think he can play immediately. But his phone is going to be ringing off the hook.

Some women’s targets

In the spirit of me covering the WNBA Draft, I thought I’d touch on two women’s recruits worth keeping an eye on. I’m told Missouri likes its chances at Natasha Mack, who averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds a game at Angelina College this past season. She’s 6-3 and was just named NJCAA player of the year. She visited Missouri in December and is also considering Oklahoma State, Wichita State, St. John’s, Kansas and Virginia Tech. She would be an ideal candidate to replace Cierra Porter down low and has two years of eligibility remaining.

It appears Missouri has also jumped back in on Wisconsin point guard Shemera Williams, who recently reopened her recruitment, after having signed with Marquette. The Golden Eagles had a coaching change, and now she’s back on the market. Missouri has a pair of scholarships open with three signees and the recent departure of Kelsey Winfrey, who is transferring to Drury.

With Akira Levy out with a torn ACL for likely the first half of the season, Williams could start immediately for MU, should she commit. She was named AP player of the year in Wisconsin and averaged 32.5 points per game as a senior. She hasn’t taken any visits since announcing her change of plans. We’ll keep an eye on both players.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.