Cuonzo Martin talks Mizzou recruiting
This week in Mizzou recruiting: Signing Day recap, Jalani Williams, Maliq Carr & more
By Alex Schiffer
November 16, 2018 11:23 AM
Greetings from Terminal F at O’Hare Airport. Flight delays are usually a curse, but today they’re a blessing because I have time to type this up.
A LOADED column this week as we have lots to unpack.
Here we go.
National Signing Day recap
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Not a ton to get into here because I’ve weighed in on both of these men’s basketball commitments extensively, but at least there was no signing day drama with either one. Both Tray Jackson and Mario McKinney are on board and are solid gets for Missouri.
There’s a few prospects Missouri could still pursue into the spring signing period, with Harlond Beverly being the main name to watch here.
It’s been a while since we talked about Beverly: He’s a 6-foot-4 guard from Michigan who can play both guard spots and on the wing. He recently transferred to national powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida. Since he arrived in Florida his recruitment has been all crickets. He said over the summer he planned to cut his list to four or five schools by October. That hasn’t happened yet.
Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Baylor and Indiana are some of the schools in the mix. The Florida schools have also put him on their radar. Beverly played for the Reach Legends on the NY2LA AAU circuit and shares the same AAU coach that Mizzou assistant Cornell Mann had. Beverly took an unofficial visit to Missouri in the summer of 2017. He’d be an excellent get for the Tigers but doesn’t plan to sign until the spring. He’ll have everybody and their mother watching him at Montverde. Until we hear from him, it’s tough to gauge the Tigers’ chances.
Missouri did lose out on Kobe Brown, the 2019 four-star forward, who ended up committing to Texas A&M. Personally, I don’t think Brown is a recruit worth losing sleep over. The Tigers got in on him after missing out on E.J. Liddell and got him on campus for a visit but it was tough to gauge their chances. Earlier in his career, Brown was a top-30ish recruit but he’s slid down the rankings in recent years and his conditioning has been an issue. He would have been a fine get but there’s other recruits.
On the women’s front, Robin Pingeton’s 2019 class of Aijha Blackwell and Hayley Frank is ranked No. 11 nationally by ESPN. What a statement for MU nationally. For context, Missouri’s 2015 class, which included Sophie Cunningham, Cierra Porter and Hannah Schuchts, was ranked No. 17 in the nation. Missouri is still looking at some junior-college options but I think some crazy stuff would have to happen for the Tigers to crack the top 10. Still an amazing class by Pingeton.
Now let’s talk about some upcoming stuff.
Jalani Williams to commit on Friday
Parkway North defensive back Jalani Williams is set to announce his decision on Friday afternoon. Missouri and LSU are the two main schools here. Williams is another recruit I’ve discussed at length on here, but everything I’m hearing sounds good for Missouri. Sources at MU appear to be cautiously optimistic. Williams plans to be an early enrollee and it would not stun me if he’s on the field at this time next season.
Missouri hasn’t had a impact safety since Braylon Webb and he was no William Moore. Williams is a consensus four-star recruit and top-300 recruit nationally. We’ve talked about Barry Odom’s improvement with in-state recruiting. This would be a big step forward.
Kelly Bryant to commit in early December
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Clemson graduate transfer quarterback Kelly Bryant announced this week that he’s planning to decide on his new school by Dec. 4, a Tuesday. He’s taking final visits before deciding. The schools in the mix are Arkansas, Miami, Missouri, Auburn, North Carolina and Mississippi State. Not a bad list. Bryant wants to go to a school where he can win immediately, start from day one and develop for the NFL. Out of those schools I think Missouri, Auburn and Miami are his best options.
Arkansas is always going to have a shot because of the Chad Morris connection, but that program has a long way to go. Missouri checks all the boxes. If Missouri misses out, the next question is who do they go after next. My answer (for now): ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Maliq Carr to decide “soon”
Maliq Carr, a two-sport offer and son of Cornell Mann, tweeted this week that he’s committing “soon.” People went into uproar about this and here’s my friendly reminder that we’re human beings and we all change our minds about things daily. For example, I’m hungry and will likely eat soon. Maybe in an hour I’m not as hungry anymore and I decide to wait. Did I lie to you all? No, but common sense is sometimes harder to find than Waldo.
Back to Carr. His recruitment fascinates me. He has offers from Missouri in both football and basketball and just picked up football offers from Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame and Ohio State among others. He’s taking an official visit to Ohio State next weekend.
He’s talked about playing both sports in college or focusing on one. Mann has taken a backseat to his recruitment to let his son decide for himself but helps out where needed. When Missouri offered Carr for hoops, that was a move made by Cuonzo Martin and it appears Martin and assistant Chris Hollender are the ones that mainly recruit him on that since Mann doesn’t want to be the sole reason for his son playing at MU.
Props to him for that, I’m always impressed how coaches handle their kids’ recruitments. Texas tight end Reese Leitao, the son of DePaul basketball coach and former MU assistant Dave Leitao, once told me that his father would coach his son going into a visit or meeting, let him go in on his own and then weigh in after it was over to see how he did. It’s refreshing to see these guys take a step back and not be helicopter parents on it.
I recently learned that Carr’s mother, Peggy, played basketball at Tennessee and Ohio State. Talk about genes! While there’s talk of him playing both or one sport in college another option I’m told is being talked about is playing college basketball and then giving the NFL a shot, the Demetrius Harris route for you Chiefs fans out there.
In summary: Carr is a recruit with an interesting background and a lot of different options. I have no idea where he’s going, assuming his tweet proves to be true, but it will be interesting to follow.
Names to watch
With the 2019 class wrapping up, here are some names to watch for 2020 with both basketball programs.
For the women: Priscilla Williams, a 6-foot-2 do-it-all guard from Branson who has offers and interest from EVERYONE, including Notre Dame. She’s currently No. 16 nationally in the 2020 ESPNW rankings. Autumn Brown, a 5-foot-7 point guard from Marquette High School in St. Louis.
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Alex Schiffer covers University of Missouri athletics for The Star.
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