A new focus area for Frank Haith and Mizzou hoops appears to be the Northeast United States. This trend was first evident in the 2012 class when the Tigers signed Domonique Bull from Tilton School in New Hampshire and a pair of Canadiens, Negus Webster-Chan and Stefan Jankovic, from Huntington Prep in West Virginia. The trend is continuing in 2013 as the Tigers pursue another pair of Canadians, Tyler Ennis and Isaiah Watkins, from St. Benedict's in New Jersey, and Jaylen Brantley, a versatile point guard from Wilbraham & Monson in Massachusetts.
Brantley might be a new name to some Tiger fans, but he is not to Tiger coaches as Mizzou was one of the first programs to offer him a scholarship. Brantley's offer list has grown to around 15 and includes some big names like Syracuse, Georgetown and Cincinnati. As the offers continue to roll in Mizzou still stands out to Brantley.
"Missouri is a great school," Brantley said. "I looked at their campus on the internet and I know it's a great school. I played with Domonique (Bull) for probably three years and he is a great player. I know he played with Phil (Pressey) and Phil used to play with BABC also. I know they're all great players and a great program that won their conference championship. They're just a great university with great academics."
The Northeast is known for producing some great basketball players, but it also has a large number of good basketball programs which can present a challenge to schools from outside the region trying to recruit. In Brantley's mind, though, that isn't an issue.
"The best fit is wherever I'll go," said Brantley. "To me it doesn't matter how far it is. Coach Haith is a great coach so it really doesn't matter where the location is."
Tim Fuller is the lead recruiter for Brantley, but the Tigers have another recruiter in Brantley's fromer BABC teammate Bull.
"He (Bull) texts me every day about going to school up there," Brantley said. "Domonique always tells me how great of a guy Coach Fuller is and when I talked with Coach Fuller it did seem like he was a great guy."
Brantley, who is playing AAU with BABC again this year, played in his first Nike EYBL session of 2012 last weekend in Minneapolis, MN. The EYBL brings together the top Nike AAU programs from all over the country and produces a ton of big time prospects every year. In his first major action of the summer Brantley averaged 12 points and three assists per game and shot nearly 50% from the field while leading his team to a 2-2 record.
"I think I played well, but I could have played a lot better," said Brantley. "This weekend I feel like I'll have a pretty good weekend."
Later in the summer, once AAU season slows down, Brantley plans to start visiting some schools. He doesn't have anything scheduled yet, but he hopes one of those schools is Mizzou. Like most prospects at this stage of the process Brantley considers himself open to all the schools that have offered.
As always keep it on PowerMizzou.com for all your basketball recruiting updates.