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April 3, 2013

Eye on the Future



On Tuesday morning, Missouri announced that guards Dominique Bull and Negus Webster-Chan would transfer.

Bull's transfer was an expected development as he had played only 14 minutes in nine games as a freshman. Webster-Chan's departure was more surprising news to many fans. The Huntington Prep product played in 32 games including six starts, averaging 15.5 minutes and 2.5 points per contest.



The question now for the Tigers is what the transfers mean for the future. Currently, Mizzou has 11 players on scholarship, including three incoming freshmen who have signed and Keanau Post, a juco prospect who will do so in April.

Of course, before fully addressing the scholarship situation, the Phil Pressey question has to be answered. Pressey has made no declaration of his plans for next year. If he declares, Pressey has 13 days, until April 16th, to withdraw his name and retain eligibility for next season.

Let's look at the situation from both angles.

If Pressey returns, Missouri would have 11 scholarship players. Pressey, Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown would likely form a three-guard starting lineup. Earnest Ross and Tony Criswell would be frontrunners for the other starting spots, though Post and Johnathan Williams III could be in the mix as well, potentially, as Stefan Jankovic. Wes Clark, Ryan Rosburg and Torren Jones would provide depth.

With 11 scholarships, Mizzou would have two to use in the late signing period if it so chose. Aaron Cosby is transferring from Seton Hall and the Tigers are one of the teams that has been in contact. Point guard Jaren Sina has decommitted from Northwestern (though new coach Chris Collins will make every effort to keep him on board) and it was reported here that Missouri has reached out.

It seems unlikely Missouri would take both of those players. If they could get one, the Tigers would likely stop there, holding an extra scholarship for the 2014 class, giving them four in that year. While nothing is out of the question, it seems likely any potential target outside of those two would be a transfer at this point in time.

If Pressey leaves (which our sources are indicating is the more likely probability at this point in time), that gives Missouri just ten scholarship players, including no one who has played point guard in a major conference. Clarkson would likely run the point with Brown, Ross, Criswell and one more in the starting five.

Pressey's departure would mean Missouri could use up to three scholarships in the late period. That seems highly unlikely. First of all, there probably aren't three high-quality players available for Mizzou to grab that late. Second, the 2014 class has long been considered a chance for the Tigers to make major headway on the recruiting trail and Missouri is likely to want to have at least four scholarships available there.

In this scenario, the Tigers could push for both Cosby and Sina. However, they could take just one and also look to add another unsigned prospect at virtually any position.

If Pressey stays, Missouri would likely take no more than one extra player in the late signing period, and could even stand pat with an 11-man roster, giving them five scholarships in the Class of 2014. If he leaves, the Tigers will likely add at least one, and probably two, players late. In that situation, one of the additions would probably be a transfer. Cosby is far from the only one out there; he is just the only one that has been definitively linked to Mizzou at this point.

While Mizzou lost two players on Tuesday, the overall outlook for the future did not change a whole lot. The major factor in the future of recruiting is still the decision of Phil Pressey.

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