May 9, 2012

2012 Tiger Mailbag: 16th Edition

Each Wednesday, publisher Gabe DeArmond and recruiting editor Pete Scantlebury will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at [email protected] On to this week's inquiries:

laxman_32 asks: Two questions about the two spots left for 2013.

1. Who do you think we get?

2. When do you think the next commitment comes?

GD: I'm not going to make predictions on commitments because at this point, I just don't know. I think you will see probably at least one of the commits come in the summer after the staff gets back out on the recruiting trail in the July evaluation period. The other spot probably waits until the fall when kids start taking official visits. Then we'll wait for the spring to see if Missouri has any spots open up for the 2013 class.

longhorns1231 asks: I'm curious about how you evaluate the likelihood of Sheldon going to the NFL after this season. Same question as to Phil Pressey and the NBA. Also, are there any other Tiger football players who you think have a realistic chance of heading to the NFL after this season?

GD: Honestly, I'll be surprised if Richardson DOESN'T go pro after this season. I talked to a few people who were kind of surprised he didn't go this year. He's got the talent and if he has the year many think he will have, I believe he goes.

With Pressey, it's a tougher deal. If he could finish around the bucket like Mike Dixon, I think he'd go. But right now, he can't do that. At 5-10 (ish) it takes something truly special to be an NBA player, much less after your junior season. It's not out of the question and I know many around Missouri expect it. I'll just say if he does go, I think it's good for Mizzou because I think it means he had one WHALE of a junior season.

tommyjay25 asks: What are your "dream" scenario and "nightmare" scenario for Mizzou? These need to be things that would be considered "realistic" by Mizzou fans, which would generally take away the answer of "winning the national championship" on the high end, and "losing every game except for a squeaker against SE Louisiana" on the low end

GD: Well, I don't think you can say unbeaten or 1-11 are impossible but I'd agree they're not likely. So I'll give you the best and worst-case "realistic" scenarios.

Let's start on the positive side. You go 4-0 in the non-con. You beat Georgia at home in an emotional game, you beat Vandy and Kentucky at home and win the "swing games" at Tennessee and A&M. That leaves Florida, Bama and South Carolina. You asked for a "dream" scenario, so I guess I'd say that includes two wins in those three. Realistically, I think one win in the three and a 10-win season is probably the ceiling for this team. If you won the right games that could mean an SEC East title. If not, you're probably looking at second.

On the negative side, I think this prediction will be worse than some expect. But I do think it's worst case scenario (with a caveat: I'm assuming Franklin plays all the games. Because true worst case scenario is that the injury is worse than anyone thinks and then any predictions I have right now are out the window. Understand, I am not saying I have any reason to believe that's the case, just saying you can't KNOW he's back until he's back). Anyway, let's run through the schedule from a gloom and doom standpoint. They'll beat SELA. They lose to Georgia, suffer a hangover, fall to Arizona State and then lose to South Carolina on the road. A road game at a charged up UCF is a loss, Vandy is better than people give them credit for and wins in Columbia and the Tigers lose to Bama. Suddenly you're sitting 1-6. You win over Kentucky on Homecoming and against Syracuse, but drop the road games at Florida, Tennessee and A&M putting you 3-9. Do I think there's any chance that happens? No. But you asked for worst case and that's the worst case.

tommyjay25 asks: We've had about a year of Frank Haith at Mizzou. Obviously, his first year of "on the court" product was spectacular, and I know I'm optimistic about his ability to recruit. I'm of the opinion, particularly in hoops, that you are as good as your recruiting. Coaching helps no doubt, but you're "not winning without the horses". With this said, what are your general feelings about Haith's recruiting abilities in comparison to past coaches like Anderson, Snyder, and Norm? It appears to me that he is getting more high-end to either consider Mizzou, or commit to Mizzou, in comparison to his predecessors.

GD: Well, I think it's too soon to say how good a recruiter he is. The 2012 class was decent, not great. But he was hamstrung by having to add so many kids, then having the Miami stuff hit right when he needed to be locking kids up. And, he was trying to do it at a time where everyone in the world was still asking why Missouri had hired him.

Missouri is being mentioned with a lot of high profile kids and that's the first step. But it doesn't much matter if you don't actually get them. Missouri was in on Jason Kapono, Olu Famitimi, Luol Deng and Tyler Hansbrough. If the Tigers had gotten even two of them, Quin might still be coaching here. They didn't and nobody cares that Missouri might have finished second for all four of them. Finishing second in recruiting does you as much good as finishing 42nd. It just doesn't matter. You either get the kids or you don't. Ultimately, Haith's career will be determined by how many of those kids he can get and what he can do with them once they're here.

Year one was a raving success. Year two looks like it could be pretty damn good. The key then will be translating that success on the court into success on the recruiting trail. The 2013 and 2014 classes will give us an idea to what extent that happens.

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