Missouri Lands Top 30 Prospect
Portland Jefferson has produced guys like Brandon Brooks (Southern Cal), Antoine Jerrell (UTEP), Aaron Miles and Michael Lee (Kansas) and Brandon Lincoln (Oregon). Now, Coach Marshall Haskins can add another name to the impressive list: Thomas Gardner to Missouri.
Gardner committed to the Tigers on Tuesday. Just a few days ago, he alluded to us that he could be ready to decide this week and he did.
Haskins had some really impressive things to say about the prospect that we rank No. 26 in this class. "He's a strong two guard. He can flat out shoot it. The more you watch him, the more you find out that he's a leader and he's really, really coachable.
"You know what's interesting for him is that he's only played one year of varsity because we're kind of stacked here. I have arguably five freshmen who will be Division I players."
Last year, Gardner averaged 15.9 points a game on a team that had four scorers reach double figures each night. However, it was on the AAU circuit that Gardner lit it up this summer. Out in California at the end of July, he was getting 40 or more each time out. He can flat out shoot it from downtown.
Missouri has a nice start to its current class with Gardner and forward Ousmane Konate. A few of the obvious big time targets remaining for the Tigers are power forward Linas Kleiza, small forward Luol Deng and perimeter standout Olu Famutimi.
In landing Gardner, Missouri was able to edge out Kansas and UConn. Haskins said Gardner was really impressed with Mizzou's presentation. " I think part of it was Quin's player development package that he presented. Quin came out last year and recruited Brandon Lincoln and got a chance to see Thomas early. He was just in there first with Kansas. Thomas wanted to go somewhere where it would be his school. He kind of sees Kansas as Aaron and Mike's school."
And for Haskins, a personal streak continues. Counting Gardner to Missouri, that's four years in a row he's been able to send a recruit to a Top 25 team.