Mizzou’s Cuonzo Martin on the upcoming season
I’ve been trying to type one of my usual Schiff-like intros to this column for the last 10 minutes and I have absolutely nothing.
So instead of embarrassing myself let’s just talk about the recruits.
Caleb Love to officially visit Missouri
Caleb Love, who listed Missouri in his top six, had a small change in his basketball recruitment when he announced he will take an official visit to MU on Sept. 7. Love originally planned to take an unofficial visit to MU because of its proximity to St. Louis but had a change of heart. Many are asking me if this is a big deal. I truly don’t know how to answer it.
To me, it depends upon which hill you want to die on. Official visits allow Missouri to roll out the red carpet and pay for Love’s expenses. Unofficial visits limit MU with what they can do. I’ve received emails that complain about Love visiting MU for his first official visit instead of his last, when the Tigers could have the final pitch before he makes up his mind. I get that, but given MU gets to give its full pitch, shouldn’t that be considered a win?
The ideal situation is MU being Love’s last official visit. A few weeks ago MU wasn’t to get this official visit from Love at all. To me, MU is happy with this. Also, Love will be in town for the West Virginia football game, which should make for a packed Memorial Stadium with the new south end zone and Kelly Bryant’s home debut. I wouldn’t call that a bad weekend to visit.
John Hugley IV
A little birdie told me on Thursday that whenever 2020 basketball center John Hugley IV cuts his list, Missouri will be on it. The Tigers appear to be right in the thick of it for the 6-foot-8 Ohio center, along with Miami, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Kansas State.
The Panthers have made Hugley a priority for a while and he recently took a visit to Pittsburgh. Kansas State is another school to keep an eye on because Hugley’s AAU teammate, Nijel Pack, is committed there. Hugley spoke highly of Missouri when I saw him in Indianapolis back in April and said he plans to visit at some point. It looks like MU will get a visit, whenever he cuts things down.
Another one of Missouri’s big 2020 basketball targets is the 6-foot-10 Davion Bradford, who is coming off an excellent summer in which he led MoKan Elite to the Peach Jam title. Bradford is now considered a consensus four-star recruit and top-100 player nationally by ESPN. He’s slated to take his first official visit to Kansas State next weekend with AAU teammate Luke Kasubke.
I talked to some people on Thursday and texted Bradford himself (I didn’t hear back), and I’m led to believe MU is in excellent shape with him. Bradford already has a lot of friends on campus, which is a major advantage for MU. I don’t expect Bradford to commit to KSU and would bet he’s MU’s first 2020 commit if I was putting money on it today. I think MU will try and take any two of the three centers in 2020 in Bradford, Hugley and Ryan Kalkbrenner if possible. With Reed Nikko graduating and Jeremiah Tilmon possibly turning pro, there will be plenty of minutes down low for the Tigers. Bradford has yet to schedule an official visit with MU yet.
Missouri offered Caleb Murphy, a 2020 four-star guard out of Georgia on Thursday. Murphy played on the Adidas circuit this summer and will officially visit South Florida next weekend. I’m still trying to learn more about him and hope to for next week’s column.
Continuing with my updates on Robin Pingeton’s 2020 targets for the Missouri women’s basketball team, another name for Tiger fans to watch is Destiny Salary. She’s a 6-0 guard from Jonesboro, Arkansas and visited MU over the summer. She has one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard. She’s a four-star recruit and top-75 recruit nationally. I’ve had a hard time tracking down more information on her, and she didn’t answer my text by the time of this writing, but I hope to have more on her in the coming weeks.
Missouri football might have set a record for the shortest commitment in program history. Mississippi defensive lineman Montra Edwards committed to MU late last week only to back off his commitment five days later. This stuff happens all the time, but I can’t remember a commitment lasting shorter in my time covering MU. The Tigers still have a shot at him, and he now plans to commit in December. I feel for Edwards; it couldn’t have been a proud moment backing off so quickly, and it goes to show how quickly kids commit and then realize they may have made a mistake.