Mizzou in Contact with Tennessee Athlete

The Tigers don't currently have any scholarships available for next year, but that hasn't stopped the staff from keeping close tabs on some members of the Class of '07 in case the roster undergoes some attrition. One player firmly planted near the top of the staff's list is Deandre Bryant, 6-foot-7, ultra-athletic defensive stopper from Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg, Tenn.

Bryant and Motlow State coach Bobby Steinburg confirmed to InsideMizzou.com Friday that MU assistant Matt Zimmerman paid them a visit recently and observed Bryant going through an individual workout.

"Coach Zimmerman was in town a few days ago," Steinburg said. "They're interested. I don't think they'd have made the trip out here if they weren't."

Though it doesn't currently have a scholarship to offer, the staff seems to be working on the premise that it will soon have one to offer – and there has been no lack of rumors about the potential roster spot opening. Delaware transfer Zaire Taylor visited campus last weekend and is a possibility, while Bryant could visit within the next month.

A native of Atlanta, Bryant spent his freshman year at Arkansas, where he was a redshirt football player hoping to also play basketball. When his hardwood plans didn't work out, he transferred to Motlow in hopes of reviving his basketball career at another Division I school. He averaged 13 points, eight rebounds and four steals per game for a team that had five double-figure scorers, and set the school record for steals in a season.

Bryant has a freakish 7-foot-1 wingspan and can guard virtually any position on the floor. He also has excellent footwork and extremely quick hands, and has shooting range out to the three-point arc.

"As far as how Missouri plays, he is a big-time defender," Steinburg said. "He's got great feet defensively and has got a nose for the ball, which is the football in him. He's still getting better every day and is extremely coordinated and skilled for a big guy."

"He's a talented player, he sure is," Steinburg said.

Bryant fancies himself a defensive stopper.

"It's something I work hard on. I think defense is better than offense. If you play good defense, it'll turn into offense," he said. "As you play good ‘D,' you'll be good."

Bryant currently holds offers from a handful of mid-majors and is receiving serious interest from ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Florida State, Colorado, New Mexico and Wichita State, to name a few. He plans to visit Ole Miss and Louisianna Tech in a few weeks and has talked to Zimmerman about taking a trip to Columbia thereafter.

He's looking for a program in which he could play early, and one that plays a style suited to his skills. He also would like to study Kinesiology, he said, but isn't 100 percent sure. And his grades are in good shape.

"I like the pressure [defense] they run," he said of Mizzou, adding that Zimmerman "seemed pretty cool."

He's expected to come to a decision by mid or late May. InsideMizzou will keep you updated…

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