Kleiza, a 6-8, 240 pound power forward from Montrose Christian High School, was considered to be the top high school prospect yet to sign until Thursday when he inked with the Tigers. He was forecasted as a top 20 national prospect by many recruiting services and was ranked as the No. 12 power forward in the country by both ESPN.com's Mark Mayemura, and No. 13 in the nation by TheInsiders Dave Telep. A tremendous competitor with great upper body strength, Kleiza averaged 20.5 points and 12.2 rebounds per contest last year at Montrose Christian as a senior and was named the Washington Post's High School Player of the Year. He was selected to play in the Michael Jordan Brand Capital Classic that was played in Washington, D.C. in late April with several other top prospects from around the country and registered a monstrous 16 points and 11 rebounds in the contest.
"Linas is an outstanding player who we think will make an immediate impact for us," Snyder said. "He possesses a great work ethic and will provide great size and strength in the paint as a relentless rebounder and talented scorer. Linas is a quality young man that comes from a great program at Montrose under head coach Stu Vetter. Linas comes from a great family and we are glad to welcome him to the Mizzou basketball family."
Kleiza will now prepare to represent his home country of Lithuania at the 19 and under World Basketball Championships, which will be played from July 10-20 in Thessaloniki, Greece. The signing of Kleiza wraps up the Tigers' 2003 recruiting class. The Tigers add him to a great class of guards that includes Thomas Gardner (6-5, 210 Portland, Ore.), Spencer Laurie (6-1, 160 Springfield, Mo.) and Randy Pulley (6-2, 210 Raleigh, N.C.).