University of Missouri

This week in Mizzou recruiting: Hunter Sallis, Mark Mitchell, Tamar Bates and more

Happy Friday everyone. I say this occasionally, but I think this is another loaded edition of the column. Don’t know if I’ve ever had two straight weeks with this much. Commence.

Caleb Love to visit North Carolina

Missouri’s top 2020 basketball priority, Caleb Love, will take his second official visit this weekend to North Carolina. Love has already visited Missouri and also plans to see Kansas and Louisville.

Missouri basketball coach Cuonzo Martin was once again in to see Love this week and not much has changed since last week’s column. I think it comes down to Missouri and North Carolina. We’ll see if Louisville or KU manage to change that.

Speaking of 2020 targets, I have been unable to connect with Davion Bradford since his official visit last weekend. I’ll keep on him, but all reports are it went well.

Josh Christopher had an in-home visit with Arizona State this past week and still plans to visit MU in November. There are conflicting reports as to whether Kentucky is still involved with him or not.

Hunter Sallis high on MU

Missouri recently had 2021 four-star guard Hunter Sallis on campus for an unofficial visit. The Tigers also were in Omaha this past week to check on him. I caught up with Sallis and his coach, Tim Cannon, to see where things stand in his recruitment.

Sallis is a 6-foot-4 guard that has grown 3 inches since his freshman year of high school. He told me he’s expected to grow to 6-foot-6. A combo guard, Sallis seems to fit the mold of a typical Martin recruit. Last year Sallis shot 40 percent from three-point territory and was the team’s leading scorer. He can play both guard spots and on the wing, and Cannon said Sallis has always been an impressive defender.

“He took about eight points off the kid’s average,” Cannon said.

Cannon said Sallis has brought 14 schools to Millard North High School the last nine days. Iowa, California, Missouri, Mississippi, Stanford, Creighton, Nebraska, Omaha, Oregon, Utah State, Iowa State and Arkansas have all watched him, and Alabama plans to visit soon.

Sallis said he loved his visit to Missouri and has also visited Nebraska and Iowa State.

Cannon said Sallis has an impressive poker face and rarely tips his hand about what he’s thinking with schools but added, “he’s definitely interested in Missouri.”

“I text them a lot,” Sallis said of his relationship with MU’s coaches. “It’s the start of a good relationship.”

Missouri watches Jay Scrubb

The Tigers watched Jay Scrubb last week, the nation’s top junior-college recruit. A Louisville native, Scrubb is a scoring guard at John Logan College in Illinois, a college Missouri has recruited before.

Scrubb is a scoring machine that averaged over 20 points a game last season and might test the NBA Draft waters. I caught up with his father, Jason, to ask him what the latest was.

As of right now, Scrubb has official visits scheduled to Louisville, Memphis, Alabama and Cincinnati. The last official visit is still up for grabs.

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Jason Scrubb said his son could enter the NBA Draft if he’s told he’ll be a lottery pick. Otherwise he will go overseas or to college. Everything is still on the table.

Because nothing will be decided until spring, MU has time to make a strong impression and a good season will further its cause. But given how many options Scrubb is considering, it’s tough to gauge if college is even his first choice right now.

“What we’re trying to do is, with Jay, he’s in a situation where he has different options out there,” said Jason Scrubb. “The main thing for us is playing through the season and being able to make the best decision at the end of the season.”

Big time visitors this weekend

Missouri will host a pair of Kansas City prospects in Tamar Bates and Mark Mitchell. Both play for KC Run GMC with Bates being a 2021 recruit and Mitchell in the 2022 class.

Bates is a four-star guard from Piper High School and plays on the same AAU team as Mitchell. Bates, a 6-foot-4 guard, is a natural scorer that appears to be active on the defensive end. He’s a major Kansas State and Creighton target as well.

Mitchell is a consensus five-star recruit and is considered one of the top players in his class. He’s a 6-foot-7 scoring wing that likes to play above the rim. Go on YouTube and watch some of his highlights. You’re welcome. It’s early for both recruitments, but for MU to get them on campus early is huge.

Coaches on the road this week

Missouri’s coaches were back on the road this week, taking in a slew of players. Like last week, here’s a crash course on all the names I could track down.

Malaki Branham: We touched on him last week, but Branham attends St. Vincent-St. Mary, the alma mater of LeBron James. It will be tough for MU to keep Branham away from Michigan and Ohio State, but the fact that the Tigers checked on him two weeks in a row means they’re serious. Cornell Mann has good ties in Ohio, too.

Jordan Wilmore: Wilmore is a 7-foot-2 center from The-Skill-Factory Prep in Georgia, which is an interesting name for a high school. He seems to be an under-the-radar prospect from what I’ve gathered. He’s in the 2020 class and could be a backup plan for Bradford, or MU’s new target in replacement to Ryan Kalkbrenner.

Bryce McGowens: McGowens is a top-75 prospect from South Carolina and attends Wren, the same high school for Kelly Bryant. That connection alone could be enough to get the 2021 four-star recruit on campus for an unofficial visit.

Jayden Nicholson: MU actually watched him last week, but the 2023 guard is considered the next big thing out of St. Louis. He’s a name to keep an eye on.

Kobe Bufkin: A four-star shooting guard out of Michigan, Bufkin plays AAU with fellow MU target Pierre Brooks. Bufkin is a tough 6-foot-4 guard and has a good relationship with Cornell Mann.

Bryce Hopkins: The star player of MoKan Elite’s under-16 team, Hopkins lives in Illinois but plays AAU ball in Kansas City. A 6-foot-5 wing that can play multiple positions, he’s another prototypical Martin recruit.

Robin Pingeton hosts another official visitor

Missouri women’s basketball coach Robin Pingeton hosted one of her top 2020 targets this past weekend in Maliyah Johnson. She’s 6-foot-2 and hails from Texas and is considered a top-100 prospect. Pingeton’s 2020 wish list appears to be Johnson, Destiny Salary, Treasure Thompson and Myra Gordon.

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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.