University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Kobe Brown, Cam’Ron Fletcher, Caleb Love and 2021 names

Mizzou target Isaiah Jackson talks recruitment

Missouri target Isaiah Jackson talks about his AAU season and recruitment with reporters in Indianapolis.
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Missouri target Isaiah Jackson talks about his AAU season and recruitment with reporters in Indianapolis.

Greetings from a Starbucks in Lincoln Park.

I’m waiting for the line to shrink so I can get some caffeine in me, so for now, let’s talk about recruiting.

By the way, all of my recruiting links from this week are below:

State of the union on the 2020 guys

Possible replacements for Jeremiah Tilmon at center

Names to watch in 2021

Kobe Brown commits to Missouri

Missouri likely finished off its 2019 class this week with the commitment of Kobe Brown, a 6-foot-7 wing. Brown told me on Tuesday night that Missouri plans to use him all over the floor and potentially even play some guard in certain lineups. He completely fits the bill for where Cuonzo Martin wants to take Missouri with positionless basketball. I’m curious to see how this works out.

Now that Kobe is on board, we can talk about his brother Kaleb. He’s a 6-foot-5 point guard for Lee, the same high school his brother played at, and is in the 2021 class. I don’t know much about him other than that Missouri is keeping an eye on him and expects him to be pretty good. He’s going to be a name to watch going forward, especially if he emerges into a big-time recruit.

Some 2020 notes

For those that don’t know, I’m in Chicago for the NBA Combine, and it’s an absolute circus for basketball personnel. You never know who you’re going to meet.

For example, on Thursday, I introduced myself to Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey, who went to Penn with our own Vahe Gregorian. Like Zion, LeBron, Shaq and Kobe, Vahe is in the world of first-name only recognition, which I learned yesterday. McCaffrey asked about Vahe and then turned around and introduced me to John Beilein, the former Michigan coach who was just named head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The power of Vahe! But seriously, it’s crazy in the gym.

Disclaimer, neither of those two have anything to do with the following information. But I was able to run into other people that are in the know on the recruitment of multiple MU targets. I had planned to recap the Indy EYBL session for most of these guys, but I can give an even fresher take on some. Thank you combine!

Cam’Ron Fletcher: The 6-foot-7 wing out of Vashon said in Indy that he’s recently heard from Kansas, Duke, Michigan and UCLA among others. He’s trying to get back up to Michigan State by the end of June.

I have on good background that Duke is done with Fletcher. He’s called them a dream school, but I’d be stunned if they offer him. A lot would have to happen if that’s the case. I just mentioned that Michigan had a coaching change, so cross the Wolverines off, for now.

Right now the two main schools here are Missouri and Michigan State. MU signee Mario McKinney, who is close with Fletcher and played with him at Vashon, has been in his friend’s ear about playing together in Columbia. There’s talk that people in Fletcher’s camp will have him consider MU until the end. I learned up here that Missouri has a better shot than people are giving them credit for.

The Spartans are absolutely loaded at forward with Gabe Brown, Marcus Bingham, Aaron Henry and signee Malik Hall all being on next year’s team. Fletcher would likely have to come off the bench a year or two. Missouri would start him immediately. That’s an angle that hasn’t been talked about much, that appears to be a big factor. Tom Izzo lands guys all the time that are fine with that.

But I’m told it’s something to keep an eye on.

Caleb Love: Love’s recruitment took an interesting turn on Thursday night, when he picked up an offer from North Carolina. I was told Duke had moved on from him as well, but he’s still got a lot of schools coming after him.

Love struggled in Indy when asked to play point guard. I think he’s at his best when he’s thinking like a scorer as opposed to when he plays pass-first. That doesn’t mean he still isn’t really good. Just seems to play better as a scorer. As for his recruitment, it’s still tough to gauge where he’s leaning. I think Missouri is in the mix, but against who, for sure, it’s tough to say.

Josh Christopher: Christopher didn’t talk to reporters in Indy, but I hope to catch up with him soon. His father, Laron, told that they’re considering taking another visit to Missouri to see Nicodemus Christopher, Josh’s cousin and MU’s strength coach. Nicodemus Christopher was at Josh’s final game in Indy on Sunday and went to lunch with him before leaving town.

I have a hard time seeing the 6-foot-4 shooting guard coming halfway across the country to play college basketball, but the Tigers will have a shot as long as MU’s strength coach stays put.

Isaiah Jackson: For longtime readers, I don’t need to profess my fandom of Jackson’s game to you. I’ve long said the kid is a stud.

For first-time readers, well, remember that. Jackson is a 6-foot-8 forward that plays for Detroit-based The Family on the EYBL circuit. He’s one of the best shot-blockers on the circuit. He absolutely stuffed Fletcher when the two faced off and that might not have been his best block of the day.

Jackson and Fletcher play the same position, which makes it hard to envision a world in which Missouri or Michigan State winds up with both. I’m told the Spartans aren’t really a factor for him as of now, but he’s hearing from all the bluebloods. Now the question is do they offer and if so, which ones do so? Jackson has known MU assistant Cornell Mann forever, since he’s played with Mann’s son, Maliq Carr, his entire career. I think Jackson visits Missouri at some point, but I can’t predict past that.

Maliq Carr: Last weekend marked my first time seeing Carr play. He’s pretty cut for his age, which is expected given that he’s a four-star football recruit, but also has some hops.

Carr had a crazy dunk against Bradley Beal Elite and is pretty efficient around the rim. For my sake, Carr is a great interview and had some interesting comments I thought I’d pass on. He said he hasn’t ruled out playing college basketball and said Purdue and Missouri are the main schools he’s considering.

Carr said his father has not sold him once at playing for MU and is letting Martin and fellow assistant Chris Hollender take care of that.

“He wants nothing to do with it,” Carr told me of Mann’s involvement. “He wants me to develop my own opinion.”

Carr also said he’s had no issues with getting recruited by football and basketball coaches simultaneously and said he’s been around coaches his whole life because of his dad, which makes it easier.

“Some people find it hard to say no to college coaches,” he said. “On things they don’t want to do or want to change (about their game). I don’t find that part hard.”

Davion Bradford: I think Missouri has an excellent shot at Bradford. He’s a huge fan of Hollender and Martin and knows every St. Louis-area player on the roster. Kansas State is in the mix for him, but I think he’s the player with the best shot of winding up at MU. Kalkbrenner is still figuring out which schools he wants to zero in on after a breakout AAU season. You can’t go wrong with either player.

Two thoughts on the 2020 class: I think Missouri’s best chance to land these guys is if one jumps on board early and serves as the ringleader for the class or these guys wait a little bit to make up their minds. If Missouri gets off to a hot start and is a top-25 team with these guys still on board, Martin can sell the guys on what he’s doing now instead of a vision.

And some 2021 notes

I’ll make this quick since the Starbucks line is shortening up.

Aminu Mohammed: Is a freak. I think Martin will love him. He takes a lot of pride in his defense and is a great scorer. Didn’t really take a bad shot when I watched him. Had a few inbounds plays that could have gone better, but that was it.

Bryce Hopkins: Fits the mold of a modern wing. Can shoot it and play down low, if needed. Mizzou seems to like him.

Lonnell Lane: The pride of J.C Harmon High School just across the border, Lane is a great point guard that likes to slash and push the tempo. To quote Emperor Palpatine, we’ll follow his future with great interest.

Kofi Cockburn and Pierre Brooks II: Both Michigan guys, they also fit Martin’s system like a glove. Both know Mann and he’s already watched them; let’s see how they develop the next few years.

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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.