Pepperdine Transfer Keion Bell Chooses Missouri


Once again, the big news breaker for Missouri Tiger basketball turned out to be its most vocal member in the Tiger shooting guard/ tweeting extraordinaire, Kim English…

"#Mizzou fans. Welcome the newest #MissouriTiger#BigBuckets@KEION_BELL"

This was tweeted eight long hours ago, and I missed with a combination of the sheer amount of people I follow and the fact that eight hours ago would make the time of tweet…. *thinking*…. be around 1

o’clock in the morning. Sure, I was in fact awake at that hour, but I was also trying to catch up on HBO’s new flagship program, Game of Thrones, and I was also not expecting any tweets of an important matter past midnight.

The transferring Pepperdine star also tweeted his loyalty to the Tigers around the time of Kimmie’s tweet, although it certainly seemed like this was a done deal as soon as his visit to Columbia was finished. Although Bell supposedly stated that he would also visit Texas A&M before making his final visit between the two, once I started following him on Twitter all I could see in my feed was re-tweets by Bell to a huge number of Tiger fans asking him to join #Mizzou in 140 characters or less. He must have re-tweeted at least twenty such suitors, and outside of that he had a good number of tweets mentioning Missouri on his own. As it turns out, Bell actually had committed to the Tigers without a visit to College Station after all, as he explained in this piece by the best in Missouri recruiting coverage,

"“Missouri it seemed like the right fit and the coaches and the people on the team, it seemed like there was more of a sense of urgency to get me on their campus,” said the 6-foot-3 combo guard. “I felt a lot more wanted at Missouri than A&M. I kind of liked my options at Missouri so I went ahead and committed.”"

It was pretty clear that he was leaning towards the Tigers after his visit (I don’t recall any tweets about even visiting Texas A&M from Bell, but there probably aren’t that many), and getting the actual commitment was just the icing on a cake that was already baked.

More on Bell, Haith, and a little bit on potential recruit Rodney Purvis after the jump…

In terms of numbers, Bell was the big scoring threat for Pepperdine during his time there, averaging close to 19 points per game in his final two seasons as a Wave (he averaged 12 ppg as a freshman). Outside of that, he put up decent shooting percentages, grabbed a respectable number of rebounds (4-5 per game at Pepperdine), and played generally well, albeit for a poor team in a mid-major conference mostly known for being dominated by Gonzaga and only challenged in recent years by Saint Mary’s. The biggest detractor in Bell’s game based solely on the numbers (unfair, yes, but the only thing I can do right now) appears to be turnovers; Bell averaged more turnovers per game than assists at Pepperdine.

Outside of that, we’ll have yet to see if Bell can perform to a similar level when he gets into Big 12 play two seasons from now. While good things are expected from fellow transfer Earnest Ross, who put up good averages in a good SEC conference, Bell will have some doubters simply due to the fact that he played in a mid-major conference. While his scoring and rebounding averages will seemingly drop, I still think Bell has enough skill to average double figures as a Tiger, even as the competition ramps up. If he can at least score 11 points per game, and this is setting the bar low to start, and throw in around 4 rebounds and some timely assists, he’ll be a huge asset to a Tiger squad that at the moment is still a relative unknown.

Bell’s transfer to Missouri, along with Earnest Ross, are two huge steps for Frank Haith in his first season at the helm in Columbia. So far the only dark cloud hanging over his head is the poor record Haith had at Miami, a school that’s not quite built for as much success as Mizzou. While we still have to see how it all plays out on the court, Haith continues to impress. The biggest decision of all will come in the form of 5 star recruit Rodney Purvis, who has narrowed his list of potential schools to N.C. State, Duke, and Mizzou. Obviously Missouri is up against one huge opponent in the form of the nation’s best college basketball program ever or something™ in Duke and then another good competitor in N.C. State. If Purvis and his multitude of Mizzou-loving tweets actually have validity and Purvis commits to the Tigers, it might be safe to call this a damn successful off-season for the first year head coach. All we have left to do now is sit back, wait, and cross our fingers with the hope that Rodney Purvis will join Keion Bell, Earnest Ross, Quantel Denson and the rest of the 2012 Tigers.