Rock Bridge Hoops Star Staying Home

Thanks to some heavy family ties to Missouri, it wasn't a surprise to see Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge standout Ricky Kreklow choose to stay home and play for the Tigers. However, the small forward's decision came a bit earlier than originally expected.

All along, Ricky Kreklow had a plan that he was going to stick to. The 6-foot-6 small forward from Columbia (Mo.) Rock Bridge was going to play out the month of July, see who was still showing the most interest and then sit down with his parents to decide on his next course of action.

Unfortunately, a back injury cut Kreklow's summer short. While the injury cost him some games in front of coaches, it also allowed him to speed up his recruiting timeline and make a Friday commitment to Mike Anderson's Missouri Tigers.

"With me having the two weeks off because I haven't been able to play it really gave me more time to think," said Kreklow. "When I knew I wasn't going to play, I was able to take my mind off playing and was really able to talk to my parents more about what they thought and what I thought."

As it turned out, Kreklow knew that he wanted to stay home and because of that he decided to make a commitment. The decision had just as much to do with respecting his other finalists, Stanford and Virginia, as it did with satisfying his own dreams.

"I knew what I wanted to do and having respect for the other schools," said Kreklow. "I didn't want to drag them along. They've got to go out and get other guys now and I didn't want them to waste time chasing after me when I knew what I wanted to do."

In recruiting, it's hard to ever rule out the home school and Mizzou's proximity certainly played a role. After dragging his parents Wayne and Susan -- who run the Missouri Volleyball program -- around the country, Kreklow thought it would be nice for them to see him play in college without having to worry about travel and schedule conflicts.

"I've been dragging my parents all over the country playing basketball since I was real young," Kreklow told Inside Mizzou. "It's not like it's the only reason, but I felt like I owed it to them to let them see me play. That was the biggest thing that the other schools didn't have."

Of course a terrific relationship with Mike Anderson and his entire staff didn't hurt. Neither did the Tigers style of play.

"I'm really excited about it because it's such a wide open system," said Kreklow. "There's a lot of room for creativity and to just make plays. There's still structure, but it's reads and you're playing basketball and you're playing quick."

Also important to Kreklow was that Mike Anderson's system demands that there be several players available so the opportunity to play early is there. Now, it's just up to him to get on the floor.

"I think what would keep me off would probably just be my lateral quickness on defense. I've been working on it, but it needs to be better," said Kreklow of his strengths and weaknesses. "I'm kind of offensively savvy I guess. The thing that I really take pride in in my game is just making the right play. Passing, knowing when to shoot, when to kick, when to drive, all of that kind of stuff just seems to come to me."

While things may have ended up happening a bit faster than he'd originally anticipated, Kreklow is certainly seeing the benefits of wrapping up his recruitment. Now, he can focus on healing his sore back knowing that his future is set. "I can finally just kind of relax," said Kreklow. "I know what I'm doing and I'm really excited about my decision and comfortable with my decision."

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