The Mizzou basketball team has brought in a group of recruits and transfers to bolster this season’s roster. While many new faces will be debuting for the Tigers this year, they all look to make an impact.
Mizzou basketball has never been a dominant basketball school. Most can agree they are far from it but ever since they hired Cuonzo Martin as head coach, the men’s hoops program has been on the rise.
Martin’s biggest impact has come in the form of the rosters he has built. It started with Michael Porter Jr. and his brother, Jontay. While neither of their collegiate careers turned out as hoped, they were still stop recruits in their class. During the same offseason, he brought in Canadian Kassius Robertson from the transfer portal. Robertson became a leader for Mizzou and led the team in points per game in his lone season in Columbia.
Martin has continued to stay active in these aspects, as incoming freshman Mario McKinney, Tray Jackson and Kobe Brown appear to be a solid recruiting class. They aren’t the only new Tigers this season, however, as Axel Okongo and Dru Smith will also debut this year.
Okongo is a 7-foot big man who signed with Mizzou after playing JUCO ball. Smith sat out last year after transferring from Evansville University.
While Jeremiah Tilmon will undoubtedly be Missouri’s starting center, Okongo will play vital role backing up the junior big man who struggles with foul trouble. Okongo is a defensive minded player who possesses great shot-blocking capabilities. In his minutes he will be expected to preform as a rim-runner for Mizzou: blocking shots, grabbing boards and finishing dunks.
Smith provides more excitement on the offensive end for the Tigers. In his last season at Evansville, the 6’3 guard was one of the most efficient players in all of college basketball. Smith averaged nearly 14 points while shooting 57.8 percent from the field, 48.2 percent from beyond the arc, and 86.2 percent from the charity stripe.
These two will provide leadership and experience for Mizzou. Their new recruits offer something a little different.
McKinney joins Missouri as the top recruit in the state. The 6’2 lead guard will bring energy and athleticism to the guard position for Mizzou. The St. Louis product is a high-flying guard who can score from everywhere. His energy and offense will be crucial for the Tigers. If his 3-point shot is consistent, Missouri’s perimeter game becomes even scarier.
Jackson also brings shooting for the black and gold, but he does so with a 6’8, 215 pound frame. His size and jumper (38.7 percent from three in Nike EYBL circuit) will add depth to Missouri’s bench.
Finally, Brown came all the way from Alabama to play in Mizzou Arena. Brown owns a well-rounded game (24 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists per game as a senior in high school) while also providing size at 6’7 and 240 pounds. While his jumper from distance may not be deadly, it may not need to be. His basketball IQ and all-around feel for the game will help him provide quality minutes.
All of these new players will grow as the season goes on and they become more familiar with Martin’s system. They all compliment an already talented Tiger roster as Mizzou basketball looks to exceed their lowly expectations handed down by the media.