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November 14, 2012?
There was not much intrigue in the Missouri basketball offices today as the coaches waited for NLI's from Johnathan Williams III, Wesley Clark, and Torren Jones. The three Tiger commitments became official members of the 2013 class today after submitting their signed NLI's this morning.
The submitting of their NLI's by Williams III, Clark, and Jones signifies the culmination of a lifetime of work. Countless days spent in the gym shooting baskets and getting up early for conditioning allowed these players the opportunity to become members of the 2013 Rivals150.
Each player reacted differently to having their recruiting process over, but there was a common theme relayed by all of them. Relief.
"You know it takes a lot of relief off my back and now I can focus more on the season and the goals I have right now," said Clark. "I'm trying to set some records and make Romulus history this year."
"It feels great. It feels good to have it out of the way," Williams III said.
Another topic each player mentioned was how excited they were to be apart of a class with this much talent.
"It just makes you comfortable," Clark said. "I know that whenever I'm in trouble or if anything is going we got a bunch of people that can score or that can pick up my slack when I'm having an off night or me pick up there slack if they're having an off night."
"It feels pretty good because we are going to be able to do big things coming in as freshman," said Williams III. "I've been able to talk with them the past couple of weeks and we can't wait to get there."
As much as signing day means to the players it is just as important to Frank Haith and the rest of the Mizzou coaches. It is a chance to bring in a fresh feel and new blood to a team when needed or maybe just that one player to get a team to that next level.
"We're real excited about the class.?When we first got the job here in April, the one thing we wanted to get started to do was get our classes more balanced," Haith said.?"I think we've done a good job with that.?The staff has worked just tremendous in terms of getting us to the point where we don't have those huge classes. Some say this class is in the top 20 but that will be determined over the next couple of years and how those guys play here at Mizzou.?It is a class that answers some needs for us and one that we're real excited about."
"I think all three of these guys are high character kids," Haith added. "I just think they're all good kids and that's important in what we do when we're recruiting, getting to know their families and the evaluation process is more than about their skill set. It's about them as people.?All three guys are from good people and they're good kids."
Haith's excitement for this class was even more evident when he talked about what each player would bring to Missouri.
"J3's very versatile, I think you look at Laurence and what his game has evolved too, I think J3's very similar to that," said Haith.?"I think he's a really good passer, he's long, he's lanky, he's a good shooter, but will be a better shooter down the road with range.? He scores around the hoop and he plays extremely hard and he's athletic."?
"Torren Jones reminds me a lot of Ricardo," Haith continued. "He's quick off the floor.? He's very bouncy, very athletic, great body already. I mean, just a physical kid. Nice touch around the hoop."
"I say those names to remind you so you get an idea of what they are. It's just an idea of what we're trying to recruit, what's best fit in our program," Haith added.?"I don't say that J3 is Laurence Bowers or I don't say that Torren Jones is Ricardo Ratliffe, I'm just giving you a picture of their skill set a little bit."
"Then Wes Clark, just his toughness, his competitive spirit, I love," Haith said.?"He's always in attack mode and he's a guy that's been around winning a whole lot so that was important to me too. He's a point guard.?He's a true point guard that has a point guard mentality.?He can score, but he's about playmaking and getting in the paint and distributing.?He's a very aggressive attacker."
The Tiger coaches will now turn their attention to filling the remaining spot in the 2013 class and continuing their work on the class of 2014. Keep checking with PowerMizzou.com for details on both.
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