Happy Friday to all. As you read this, I’m en route to Indianapolis for this weekend’s Nike EYBL session, where I plan to talk to as many Missouri targets as I can.
Last time I went to Indy for the NFL Draft Combine, I drove back in a snowstorm in time to cover Sophie Cunningham’s last home game for MU women’s basketball and the start of spring football. Hopefully the roads are better.
We have a quick update on Kobe Brown before a broader preview on what I’m looking for this weekend.
This has been my longest introduction paragraph in column history. Looking at you, George Young. George’s favorite part of the column is the opening few sentences, rater than the information. To each their own.
Kobe Brown cuts to four
Kobe Brown, Missouri’s last known 2019 basketball target, cut his list to four earlier this week, with the Tigers making the cut along with Vanderbilt, Minnesota and Penn State. I’ve been told that when Brown chooses a school next week, he won’t be going to Nashville. So here’s my quick thoughts on each of the other three schools:
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers have been in the NCAA Tournament two of the last three years and play in arguably the nation’s best basketball conference, the Big 10. The winters in Alabama, Brown’s home state, are a lot different than Minnesota, but Richard Pitino has that program in a bad place. Some would make a case that this is the best option on the list. Minnesota loses senior wing Jordan Murphy to graduation and could lose junior Amir Coffey to the NBA, if he elects to keep his name in the draft. There’s minutes to be had at his position up north for sure.
Penn State: Pat Chambers had struggled with postseason success in State College until winning the NIT in 2018. He’s never made the NCAA Tournament in eight years at Penn State, and to me, has one of the toughest jobs in Power-5. He’s at a football school in a very difficult basketball conference. Talk about a rock and a hard place. Brown would get immediate minutes there, but will likely have time to kill in March.
Missouri: Cuonzo Martin could use Brown as a wing, or a small four-man depending upon the lineup and will return his deepest team at Missouri next season. The Tigers have a lot of talent on the wing in Javon Pickett, Torrence Watson among others, and Martin can easily play Brown in a few different situations. While a lot of programs in the Southeastern Conference have had either a coaching change, a lot of turnover, or in some cases both, Missouri returns a lot of its core next year. Brown could be another piece to the puzzle on a team that should be in the mix for an NCAA Tournament spot.
I’m not one to make predictions, but I think Missouri lands Brown next week. I’ll eat all the crow you want if I’m wrong. But I’m usually not.
Indy EYBL preview
With me going to Indy this weekend, I thought I’d preview the session with what I’m looking at the most over the next three days.
Is Missouri watching Aminu Mohammed? I wrote about him a few months ago and Mohammed has since led Greenwood Lab to a state title. He’s a 2021 five-star guard and plays for Boo Wiliams on the Nike circuit. His recruitment has been on the down-low since he moved from Washington, D.C. to Springfield. Who else is watching and is MU one of them?
Who else is watching Caleb Love and Cam’Ron Fletcher? I said earlier in the week that Duke passed on both St. Louis four-star recruits and is looking elsewhere. Five-star point guard Jeremy Roach made me look really smart on Wednesday and committed to Duke, essentially taking Love’s spot there. Is Kentucky looking at them? North Carolina? Both are great players, but bluebloods can have their pick. Those thinking Mizzou has no shot at this point should listen to Aaron Rodgers, at least for now. R-E-L-A-X.
What’s the deal with Josh Christopher? To me, Christopher has had a weird recruitment. He’s a consensus five-star recruit and top-15 player nationally, but he’s not rolling in offers and hasn’t really attracted the likes of Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky. He’s visited Missouri and Arizona State with plans to go to Florida State and Oregon. If I took away his name and ranking and just showed you those four schools, would you expect him to be as highly-touted as he is? Maybe, but it’s an interesting mix. Kansas is the lone blueblood looking at Christopher seriously right now. Like Love and Fletcher, I’m curious to see who is watching him.
Aside from Mohammed, any other obvious, local 2021 guys?: Jordan Nesbitt is a St. Louis kid who’s a top-60 player in the 2021 class, but other than him, there’s not really any underclassmen who are players you’d think Mizzou would look at in the coming years. At least not yet. Does MoKan or Bradley Beal Elite have a junior that catches the eye?
What’s Maliq Carr’s basketball game like?: The son of MU assistant Cornell Mann, Carr has emerged as a bona fide college football recruit. He’s since eliminated MU from his list of football suitors, but what about basketball? A lot of scouts have told me Carr can play basketball at the Power-5 level as easily as he could football. I wish I had genes like that. Missouri has offered him for basketball, but is his heart set on football? Or could a strong summer playing basketball flip his thought process? I could see him committing to a school that lets him play both, but that’s very rare in the Power-5 world these days. Just ask Khmari Thompson about playing two sports. If Carr has a strong summer though, he could have a very interesting decision to make, before picking a school.