InsideMizzou Analysis: Hoops Recruiting Board

With hoops recruiting season in the home stretch, we take an in-depth, analytical look at Missouri's recruiting options at each position. Recruiting, of course, is fluid by nature, and new names will inevitably show up on the radar –- we have unveiled two this week and have more on the way -- while others will fade. But this is the most accurate look possible at MU's recruiting as of mid-July.


POINT GUARD

Tyshawn Taylor: As we reported earlier this week, Taylor has been verbally offered by MU. Mizzou is one of many schools with growing interest in Taylor after a strong performance at Reebok U. Scout.com national recruiting guru Dave Telep told us this week that Taylor is one of the best 12 available point guard in '08. Because he plays on a stacked St, Anthony's (N.J.) team, though, Taylor does not get gaudy stats or accolades. He told us he likes MU but will explore all of his options. He also likes the ACC but is not dead-set on playing in the conference.

Zaire Taylor: All indications point to Taylor being a Tiger by the end of the summer, pending his summer school grades at Delaware. The Delaware transfer told us he isn't looking at any other schools, which should tell you something. He'll likely take Mizzou's one remaining scholarship for next season – pending the Kalen Grimes situation -- and per transfer rules, would have to sit out 2007-2008.

Shaquille Johnson: We have reported often on Johnson, the gritty combo guard from Jacksonville. Johnson and his father came to MU this summer for camp and appeared to have a solid offer. But at this point, it remains to be seen exactly where he stands on the staff's priority list. We wouldn't be surprised if he were to end up committing elsewhere this fall. You'll recall his friend, AAU teammate and fellow MU target Dante Anderson died in a car accident this spring. Now his recruitment has been put on the back burner temporarily because of another loss, this time in his family.

Courtney Fortson: Fortson told us a few weeks ago that he is seriously considering Mizzou, but Kentucky and Tennessee appear to have the inside track. Fortson, the No. 16 point guard in the Class of 2008 – and the fifth-ranked uncommitted point guard -- is one of the better lead guards on MU's wishlist. He's tough, athletic and a likely impact high-DI player. Time will tell whether or not Mizzou's staff can use it's Alabama ties to lure the state's Mr. Basketball to Columbia for a visit.

Chase Robinson: Robinson, another Alabama kid, would appear to be a backup option at this point.

Miguel Paul: Missouri has been growing increasingly interested in Paul, a 6-foot-2, 170-pounder who has started for Kathleen High in Lakeland Fla., since his freshman year. Paul, who led his team to the state finals last year, could be climbing up the list of priorities for MU.

SHOOTING GUARD

Scott Suggs: Suggs would probably be the centerpiece of Mizzou's class, and is being treated as such my Mizzou's staff. It's easy to see why: he's a legit 6-foot-6 and can play anywhere from the one to the three, can knock it down from the perimeter with regularity and handles and passes well. He's also cerebral. Buzz has Mizzou, Illinois and Washington duking it out for his commitment, which could come in August or September. Illinois has missed recently on several touted in-state prospects and is putting the press on him, while Washington coach Lorenzo Romar is looking to parlay his family connection with the Suggses. It's hard to handicap Mizzou's chance here because Suggs is tight-lipped, but the Tigers are very much in the mix.

Eshaunte Jones: Jones de-committed from Indiana last month and we found out shortly thereafter that Mizzou will be one of the schools he'll look most closely at. Will the MU staff share similar interest? We'll see. Other top options are Memphis, West Virginia and Indiana. Jones is not going to be making visits any time soon and seems likely to be a late commit, though you never know what will happen with kids who have already committed and reconsidered.

Marcus Denmon: Denmon, at times, has been close to committing to MU, but hasn't quite pulled the trigger. After a strong performance last weekend in Oklahoma, several new schools such as Kansas, Texas A&M and Gonzaga began to sniff around. Kansas State has been trying to land the prolific 6-3 scorer as well. Still, though, we'll be surprised if he doesn't end up choosing MU. The other question is, where will he be playing next year as he attempts to shore his academics?

Tay Waller: We weren't sure whether to list Waller as a point guard or shooting guard. He's only 6-2, but make no mistake – he's a scorer. Coach Bruce Stewart of Okaloosa-Walton said his freshman year was as good, offensively speaking, as any freshman he's. That includes Donnell Taylor, who starred under Anderson at UAB and went on to the NBA. Interestingly, recruiting analyst Eric Bossi tells us he appeared to be more of a slasher than a shooter during his high school career. Combine that with his outside shooting prowess, and you've got a player for who
m you'll have to fight against a handful of high-majors. Still, Mizzou definitely has a shot here.

Terrico White: An excellent shooter and athlete, he has MU interest but no offer. He'll likely end up committing to a Southern school this summer.

Jason Jones: This is a new name on the list. He seemingly would be toward the bottom of the MU list at shooting guard, but he has gotten some interest. Likely mid-major.

SMALL FORWARD

Keith Ramsey: Ramsey is one of the most talented players on MU's board, despite not being a major national name. He also would help in terms of balancing the roster, since he'll enter college as a junior after two years at junior college. Can MU get him? Most definitely. He was recruited by Anderson at UAB and likes MU's style, which seems tailor-made for his skills and length. But the Tigers will have to beat out what should be a growing list of high-major suitors. He's a guy Bossi has seen plenty and likes a lot.

John Coy: Coy committed early to Arizona State and remains committed to the Sun Devils, though reliable sources have told Inside Mizzou he may reconsider in order to stay closer to home. Should he come back on the market, Mizzou would seem likely to take a long look. The 6-7 win from Benton is an extremely skilled player on the offensive end.

Jared Swopshire: Swopshire's interest in MU remains somewhat of a mystery, since he's proven to be an elusive interview. But the Mizzouri native, who played first at Fort Zumwalt West and now attends IMG Academy in Florida, is undoubtedly a player on whom the staff is keeping close tabs. Like Ramsey, he packs a lot of ball skills into a long frame. He can shoot and handle very well for his size. But he is also rail thin and will need to be consistent. And he said this week that Michigan, Clemson and Marquette are recruiting him hardest.

Dequan Jones: Seems like a serious longshot.

POWER FORWARD

Steve Moore: Moore surprised us last month when he became the first player to commit to MU. We like his potential as a big, active post player who will mix it up. We'll be keeping tabs on him this summer and next season, as he's a player from whom MU will probably need immediate contributions. It doesn't seem likely MU will add another power forward, but we'll take a brief glimpse at the other PFs who were on the radar.

Toby Veal: We knew Veal was a longshot, and apparently MU did not make his final five. We hardly knew ya, Toby.

Will Brown: Like Veal, not going to happen.

CENTER

John Brandenburg: The only true center Mizzou has consistently been linked with, he has the Tigers in his final five along with Virginia, Stanford, Florida and Wisconsin. UCLA could be very much in the mix as well should the Bruins offer. Brandenburg recently visited UVA and likes the Cavaliers a lot. He also seems enamored with Stanford. Mizzou still is working on him, but he seems like he's seeking a school with an elite academic reputation nationally – no knock on MU, of course, but Stanford and Virginia do offer that. Still, Mizzou isn't out of this one, though it's hard to get a really good gauge because Brandenburg isn't doing a lot of talking right now.

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