University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Kobe Brown, Jevon Porter, Isaiah Jackson and more

Cuonzo Martin talks Mizzou recruiting

Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin talks about the Tigers’ 2019 recruiting class.
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Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin talks about the Tigers’ 2019 recruiting class.

Happy Friday. With the NFL Draft last week, I was too busy in Nashville to do a recruiting column. And let’s be frank, your priority was Drew Lock last Friday and not who Mizzou was recruiting. So you shouldn’t be mad at me.

If you are, grow up. If you’re not, keep reading.

(But seriously we have good stuff this week.)

Kobe Brown continues to play the waiting game

Brown, Missouri’s top 2019 men’s basketball target, took a visit to Penn State this past week and has continued to pick up interest as one of the top uncommitted prospects left. The 6-foot-7 swing has also picked up interest from Vanderbilt and Minnesota to go with Virginia Tech and MU.

It doesn’t appear that Brown is close to a decision, but he rarely does interviews so it’s tough to gauge. Cuonzo Martin had an in-home visit with him recently and Brown visited MU back in the fall. I’d guess that Brown would decide by the end of the month, in order to be on campus for summer school. But that’s just wishful thinking.

Warren Washington lists MU

On Thursday night, Oregon State basketball transfer Warren Washington listed Missouri as one of the schools he’s hearing from, and expects to take some visits later in the month. Against Missouri in the Paradise Jam last season, Washington played seven minutes and registered just a foul and a rebound. He’s got ideal size at 6-11 but barely played as a freshman. Out of high school, he was a three-star recruit and chose Oregon State over Rutgers. He also had offers from California, Butler, Utah and Boise State.

He’d have three years of eligibility after sitting a year and it makes sense for MU to pursue a post player for its 2020 class given the graduation of Reed Nikko and possibility of Jeremiah Tilmon turning pro (assuming he returns to school this summer). We’ll keep an eye on Washington, but I can’t see MU taking him just to take him.

Porter brothers update

Quick update on the younger Porter brothers, in Coban and Jevon. Coban, a 2020 guard, is playing with the MoKan Elite under-17 team. A coach that watched him this weekend thought he looked good, but is still not considered a Power Five prospect. A strong summer could see him land some offers. I’ve always speculated that family friend and Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar would be a good fit for the 6-foot-4 guard. If you haven’t seen Pepperdine’s campus, Google it. You’re welcome.

On Jevon, a source tells me Iowa has reached out to show interest in the 6-foot-8 rising sophomore. Porter’s mother, Lisa, played at Iowa so it makes sense for Fran McCaffrey to try and get in early. I think Jevon has a chance to be a solid high school player, but it’s not fair to the brothers to expect him to have the same resume as Michael and Jontay.

2020 basketball targets

Last weekend was the first live period of the AAU season, and Missouri’s staff was in Kansas City for the Under Armour session and Atlanta for the Nike EYBL. I’ll be in Indianapolis next weekend for the second session and plan to bring back a ton of goods. So stay tuned for that.

With all the offers MU sent out this week, we’re going to break some (not all) of them down and where I think they stand with the staff. A * next to the target’s name shows they’re a recent offer.

The dream class (Guys Missouri will take regardless of the circumstances):

Caleb Love

Cam’Ron Fletcher

Josh Christopher

(A post player TBD)

I could have put recent offer Davion Bradford as the post, but we’ll get to him later. Love and Fletcher have really seen their stock heat up lately, with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski visiting both of them in the past week. Martin had in-home visits with both prospects in recent days as well. All three guards will be tough to land with the blue bloods courting them, but MU probably has the best shot at Fletcher. His high school teammate, Mario McKinney, signed with MU, and he won’t eliminate the hometown school immediately.

Christopher hasn’t really taken any visits aside from Missouri and Arizona State and has been considered a lean for the Sun Devils since his older brother Caleb committed there. When Missouri first started recruiting Christopher, I asked a national recruiting source for his thoughts. “I have a hard time seeing him going that far east,” he told me. “Regardless of what family is there.”

Something to consider: Christopher’s cousin Nicodemus is MU’s strength coach. His other cousin, and Nicodemus’ brother, Garry, is the strength coach at Pittsburgh. Panthers coach Jeff Capel, known as a masterful recruiter, hasn’t really recruited Christopher, despite having the same family connection that Missouri has. Garry is just as tight with Josh as Nicodemus is. I’m told the distance from California puts Pitt in a tougher spot. So that should tell how geography has played a role in all of this.

Firmly in the mix:

Isaiah Jackson*

Carlos Johnson*

Davion Bradford*

John Hugley*

Ryan Kalkbrenner*

Three of these guys are Cornell Mann recruits. Jackson and Johnson are from Michigan, and play AAU with his son Maliq Carr, who has become a four-star recruit in football. So there’s an even deeper connection with this class than there has been in others, because Mann’s son grew up playing with these guys. I can’t say enough things about Jackson. I’ve seen him play multiple times and I’ve yet to see a defense completely shut him down. He’s 6-8, and it wouldn’t surprise me if his wingspan pushed 7 feet. He’s a great slasher, but is great at adjusting his game to how a team is playing him. Michigan and Michigan State will be going at him hard, but I could see Jackson taking a visit to MU.

I’ve seen Johnson play twice and he’s a tough guard. Quick with his feet and has good shot selection. Mann’s last recruit in this group is John Hugley, an Ohio native, who is being courted by Pitt, Florida, Dayton and Iowa among others.

Bradford and Kalkbrenner are both from St. Louis and will be hearing a lot from MU assistant Chris Hollender, who recruits St. Louis and coaches the bigs. Bradford is a traditional center, who spent last season in Mehlville after moving from CBC to Arizona to Oklahoma over the past year. Kalkbrenner plays at Trinity Catholic and is also hearing from Kansas State and Illinois.

I think Missouri has a great shot at Hugley, Bradford and Kalkbrenner. We’ll see if one emerges as more of a priority among others.

Doubtful:

Moses Moody

Jalen Suggs*

Eddie Lampkin

Ty Berry

Luke Kasubke

I’m a gigantic fan of Moody. I think if he was healthy last summer, Bradley Beal Elite makes a deep run in the Peach Jam. He’s an Arkansas native and is currently at national powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida. He can play both guard spots and fits Martin’s system like a glove. But he’s a borderline five-star and appears to be the odd man out from the trio of Christopher, Love and Fletcher. Arkansas had Moody as its top target before Mike Anderson was fired. I wonder if Anderson goes after him at St. John’s. Suggs is a fascinating case to me. Top 25 player in basketball and one of the top high school quarterbacks in the country. Reminds me of Kentucky forward Reid Travis, a fellow Minnesota native with a similar resume in high school. Suggs took a visit to Missouri very early in Martin’s tenure, but not much has been heard from him and the Tigers until MU offered him last week. I think that ship sailed.

Lampkin spoke to PowerMizzou.com in Kansas City and came off that he wasn’t being prioritized by MU. I really didn’t want to put Berry and Kasubke in this group, but I don’t think they belong in the others, either. They’re in purgatory to me in a way. I think strong summers could get them firmly on MU’s radar, especially if some of the other recruits cut their lists or decide early. But until something changes, I don’t see MU taking either one if they called to commit this week.

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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.


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