Missouri Tigers

Support pours in for Missouri’s #RallyForRhyan campaign

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Earlier this fall it was announced that Rhyan Loos, the 5-year old daughter of Missouri assistant coach Brad Loos, was diagnosed with a form of cancer known as neuroblastoma. The Missouri family, as well as other teams throughout the college basketball and sports world, wasted no time rallying up support for Rhyan and her family.

Missouri began the #RallyForRhyan campaign, which provides both emotional and financial support for Rhyan and her family as she fights cancer. Thursday the Missouri men’s basketball team visited Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Columbia for a rally held in Rhyan’s honor, with Rhyan’s classmates (and the rest of the school) receiving special #RallyForRhyan wristbands.

Above is video from the team’s visit, courtesy of Missouri Athletics.

For those wishing to donate to the #RallyForRhyan campaign, more information on how to do so can be found here.

Missouri lands three-star power forward Reed Nikko

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Missouri landed its third commit in the Class of 2016, as power forward Reed Nikko announced his commitment on Monday night via Twitter.

“Couldn’t be happier to announce that I’m commiting to The University of Missouri for basketball,” he tweeted, attached with a thank you note to family, coaches and teammates.

Nikko, who attends Maple Grove Senior High in Minnesota, was in Columbia, on an official, visit this past weekend. He had scheduled an official visit to Kansas State scheduled this weekend, according to Rivals, which rates him as a three-star recruit.

The 6-foot-9 power forward joins small forward Willie Jackson and center Mitchell Smith in Kim Anderson’s current recruiting class.

Coaches on the Hot Seat

of the Indiana Hoosiers during the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Assembly Hall on March 3, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana.
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As we get closer to the start of the 2015-16 college basketball season, let’s take a look at the head coaches who need to have a good season in order to feel safe. While the list of coaches on CBT’s “hot seat” have had poor seasons and lost their jobs before, keep in mind that the last two No. 1 selections for this list kept their jobs the following season, including Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, who is currently thriving in College Park. 

1. Tom Crean, Indiana: Indiana enters the 2015-16 season with top-25 talent and high expectations, but Crean finds himself atop the hot seat list for failing to meet expectations at Indiana. Crean’s now entering his eighth season as the Indiana head coach, and only once in the previous seven seasons — the 2012-13 season — have the Hoosiers been good enough to be considered a true title contender. That’s not enough, but not only is Crean struggling to find the success the Hoosier fan base craves on the floor, but the dismissal of three more players this offseason hasn’t made life any easier off the floor. Indiana’s president isn’t pleased with the off-the-court developments and many prominent Indiana alums have been vocal about the Hoosiers falling below expectations. A big season would go a long way towards quieting Crean’s doubters.

2. Josh Pastner, Memphis: Much like Crean at Indiana, Pastner has achieved success but faltered compared to a passionate fan base’s expectations. Memphis missed the postseason altogether for the first time in 15 years with last season’s 18-14 record and the team’s best returning player, Austin Nichols, transferred to Virginia, following Nick King and Pookie Powell out the door. Pastner is going to rely heavily on the freshman Lawson brothers to make a postseason appearance immediately, but in a city that became accustomed to the success of John Calipari’s Tigers, will they be satisfied if we’ve already seen Peak Pastner?

3. Brian Gregory, Georgia Tech: After a 12-19 season and 14th place finish, Gregory is back for his fifth season at Georgia Tech. He’s never finished above ninth in the ACC. Gregory has coached one team to the NCAA tournament in his last 11 seasons and that came at Dayton in 2010. The local recruiting momentum is also limited for Georgia Tech under Gregory. The Yellow Jackets went 0-for-7 recruiting prospects from Georgia in the Rivals150 in the Class of 2015. In the Class of 2016, that number is 1-for-11.

4. Kevin Willard, Seton Hall: Entering his sixth season at Seton Hall, Willard has finished above .500 twice and owns a 30-60 mark in the Big East. Having never made the NCAA tournament as a head coach, the pressure is on Willard to produce even though experienced guards Sterling Gibbs and Jaren Sina both transferred out of the program.

5. John Groce, Illinois: Illinois missed the NCAA tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992 and that isn’t sitting well with Illini fans. Groce has never finished above seventh in the Big Ten and he hasn’t been able to reel in a lot of big-named recruits that Illinois finds itself a finalist for. Transfers like Darius Paul and Aaron Cosby haven’t lasted and proved to be harmful as replacements for those missed recruits. Illinois fans expect results and Groce needs to make the NCAAs again.

MORE: 2015-16 Season Preview Coverage | Conference Previews | Preview Schedule

Illinois head coach John Groce (Getty Images)
Illinois head coach John Groce (Getty Images)

6. Barry Hinson, Southern Illinois: The once proud Southern Illinois program has had to endure Hinson’s three-year tenure. He’s thrown his own players under the bus during a postgame press conference and publicly remarked about his job security this spring. The Salukis own a 40-57 record and 19-35 mark in conference play under Hinson and he lost five transfers this offseason, three of them freshmen.

7. Donnie Jones, UCF: UCF was successful in Conference USA, but its been a rough back-to-back stretch for the program. Jones has never made the NCAA tournament and his 2010-11 wins were vacated for using ineligible players. Jones was also suspended three CUSA games and the program put on probation. Now he’s 25-36 overall and 9-27 in the American the last two seasons.

8. Travis Ford, Oklahoma State: It’s never a good sign when the team’s athletic director and biggest public booster, T. Boone Pickens, publicly have to back Travis Ford, which is precisely what happened in Stillwater this offseason. It’s a far worse sign that Ford owns no NCAA tournament wins since 2009 despite recruiting McDonald’s All-Americans like LeBryan Nash and Marcus Smart, who both played for multiple seasons.

9. Dave Rice, UNLV: Rice has proven to be a formidable force on the recruiting trail, but that success has yet to translate on the Thomas and Mack Center court, as the Rebs have missed the last two NCAA tournaments. Rice was feeling the heat a little bit this offseason when rumors of Ben Howland looking at UNLV began swirling, but Howland is now at Mississippi State and Rice landed hometown McDonald’s All-American Stephen Zimmerman. Rice still doesn’t own any NCAA tournament wins, and with yet another talented recruiting class, he needs a strong season.

10. Kim Anderson, Missouri: Anderson’s first season at Mizzou was a disaster as the team went 9-23 and 3-15 in the SEC. It’s not looking much better in the future as the Tigers lost some key pieces — namely Jonathan Williams III and Teki Gill-Cesear — to transfer.

Missouri adds three-star forward Willie Jackson

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Missouri picked up its second front court commitment in a week with the addition of Class of 2016 three-star forward Willie Jackson on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-6 Jackson announced his decision during a news conference at Garfield Heights High School, where the forward helped the team to a semifinal appearance in Ohio’s Division I last season.

Jackson selected the Tigers over Akron, Boston College, Cleveland State, Temple and Wichita State. A strong rebounder who can play multiple positions on the floor, Jackson should be good in transition and on the defensive end for Missouri. Playing with King James in the Nike EYBL, Jackson averaged 8.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in 21 contests while shooting 45 percent from the field.

While Jackson will have to improve his perimeter shooting ability, he does have a high motor and should find the floor early because he makes plays.

Over the weekend, Missouri landed a commitment from three-star center Mitchell Smith, who will join Jackson to form part of the Tigers’ future front court.

Four-star JUCO power forward down to five schools

Mike Anderson
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One of the top junior college prospects in the Class of 2016 has narrowed down his list of colleges to five schools. Connors State College (Oklahoma) power forward Arlando Cook announced via Twitter that he’s now considering Nevada, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Missouri and Memphis.

As a freshman Cook averaged 11.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, shooting better than 57 percent from the field. Of the five schools remaining on Cook’s list four will lose at least one power forward from its roster at the end of the 2015-16 season. In theory that would open the door to quality minutes from the start for Cook.

Nevada will lose its best front court player in senior A.J. West, as well as reserve center Lucas Stirvins, but they did receive a verbal commitment from high school senior Kenneth Wooten earlier this summer. Oklahoma State will lose two seniors in Chris Olivier and Anthony Allen, and they didn’t bring in an interior player in their 2015 recruiting class either.

Missouri, which received a verbal commitment from high school power forward/center Mitchell Smith on Saturday, loses Ryan Rosburg at the end of the upcoming campaign. Memphis not only lost Austin Nichols (transferred to Virginia) this summer, but they also have to account for the eventual departure of senior Shaq Goodwin as well.

Arkansas is the lone exception to this, but their lack of depth due in part to 2015 commit Ted Kapita not qualifying academically means that the Razorbacks need to land some interior help in the 2016 class.

h/t JucoRecruiting.com

Missouri reels in three-star forward/center

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Missouri received its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2016 Saturday afternoon, as 6-foot-10 center Mitchell Smith has decided to play for Kim Anderson. Smith, a native of Arkansas, made the decision while on an official visit to Missouri and announced the news by way of his Twitter account.

Missouri will lose senior Ryan Rosburg at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the addition of Smith will help the Tigers account for that loss. Among the other programs considered by Smith Arkansas, Creighton, Memphis and Wichita State.

Smith, who was a first team All-Class 7A selection last season, played for the Arkansas Wings Elite grassroots program this spring/summer on the Nike EYBL circuit. He will join a front court that includes current underclassmen Jakeenan Gant, D’Angelo Allen and Kevin Puryear, and junior college transfer Russell Woods.

Video credit: Courtside Films