In 2010 the University of Missouri signed 4-Star recruit Phil Pressey, a top-10 point guard prospect with a 95 grade on ESPN. Since then, Missouri hadn’t landed a recruit anywhere close to Pressey, until Michael Porter Jr. decided to shake things up in March.
Porter Jr., the top-rated high school prospect in the entire country for 2017, had committed to play basketball for the University of Washington. That was until their coach, Lorenzo Romar, was fired, along with assistant coach Michael Porter Sr., the father of the recently committed Missouri forward.
When the Tigers decided to bring in Porter Sr. as the new assistant coach for Cuonzo Martin, they believed his son was likely to follow. But he wasn’t the only domino to fall for the Tigers.
In an attempt to persuade other top recruits, Porter Jr. convinced Blake Harris (a top-100 recruit) and Kevin Knox (a top-10 recruit) to visit Columbia. While Knox just recently committed to Kentucky, Harris decided to team up with Porter Jr.
But they didn’t stop there.
Throughout the past couple of months, Missouri has received commitments from C.J. Roberts (a top-100 recruit) and Kassius Roberston, a transfer from Canisius College.
Just when things seemed they couldn’t get any better, Jeremiah Tilmon, a top-50 recruit, decommitted from Illinois and signed with the Tigers.
So, it’s easy to see new head coach Cuonzo Martin is going to have a team to be reckoned with next season. With the latest addition of Tilmon, analysis shows Missouri has the sixth ranked freshmen class of 2017. What will all of this mean for the upcoming season?
In April, Missouri lost two prominent guards in K.J. Walton and Frankie Hughes to transfer. Their loss means more playing time for Terrence Phillips, but also for the newcomers Harris, Roberts, and Robertson.
This should result in an increase in scoring and athleticism in Missouri’s backcourt, as all three are known as three-point threats. Where coach Martin may have difficulties is how to split playing time between Kevin Puryear, Jordan Barnett, and Tilmon. We know Porter Jr. will be starting and taking up significant minutes each game, so this leaves one forward and one center spot open between three players expected to be important parts of this roster.
If Coach Martin decides to start Tilmon at center, he will be getting one of the best interior defenders in the class of 2017, leaving Barnett and Puryear fighting for that last spot in the starting five. However, it has come to the teams attention that Porter Jr.’s brother, Jontay Porter is looking to reclassify in order to play with the Tigers this upcoming fall. In [Jontay] Porter, Missouri would get another five-star recruit at the forward position.
Latest reports suggest he is 50/50 on whether he’ll stay in high school or join the Tigers next season. The addition of Porter would likely bump Barnett or Puryear out of the starting five, meaning a starting rotation of four, top-100 freshmen for the Missouri as well as a dangerous, veteran bench. Even if Jontay Porter decides to stay another year, Missouri will likely return to the big dance next season. If Porter decides to come to Missouri, then we can expect more than just a return to the tournament.
Grant Washburn contributed to this Missouri Tigers report