Generally speaking, college basketball teams have to develop chemistry over time, as kids from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations come together in a new place. This weekend, the Missouri Tigers took a step toward importing a core team intact as part of the 2014 recruiting class.
According to the Kansas City Star, Frank Haith and associate head coach Tim Fuller entertained four players from Team Thad, an AAU team sponsored by Philadelphia 76er Thaddeus Young. All four left campus with scholarship offers.
There’s little doubt that there’s a bit of recruiting gamesmanship going on here. Four-star prospects Leron Black (forward) and Anton Beard (point guard) are the real prizes, but Haith is clearly willing to find roles for their as-yet-unranked teammates if it gives him an edge in landing the top two.
From the Star’s story:
Four players from Memphis-based Team Thad – which is currently 24-0 and sponsored by current Philadelphia 76ers Thaddeus Young – visited Columbia on Saturday, including four-star forward Leron Black (who is rated by Rivals as the No. 20 overall player in his class) and four-star point guard Anton Beard.
Five-foot-nine point guard Chris Chiozza and 6-7 combo forward Marcanious Hymon also made the trip, and while they haven’t been assigned a star rating by Rivals yet, they – like Black and Beard – also left Columbia with scholarship offers.
“All of them got offered today by Missouri,” said Team Thad coach Norton Hurd, who drove the boys from Memphis to Columbia late Friday/early Saturday. “I was excited for them, just like they were. But right now, they expect the offers. They’ve put in the hard work. Everybody is calling for them left and right.”
Hurd said the 6-7 Black and 5-10 Beard have already received offers from schools like Georgetown, UConn, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Memphis and Tennessee.
Those two arrived in Columbia with Hurd and their teammates at 3 a.m. Saturday morning, only to wake up at 10 a.m. so they could see the campus and athletic facilities. Sometime after that, Haith gathered them all together and gave them the good news.
“He said he ‘wanted Team Thad to come to Missouri, so all four of you have an offer,’” Hurd said.
To be clear, the other members of Team Thad are not charity cases. Chiozza has been offered by VCU, and his AAU coach believes he can be another Phil Pressey type for the Tigers.