ST. LOUIS CO, MO (KTVI)- The University of Missouri men’s basketball team will head overseas for an international trip to Italy in August, and it appears the 2016-2017 roster will have at least one more new, late roster addition.
Tuesday afternoon, Jakoby Kemp, a 6-9 forward from Layton, Utah, announced his commitment to play for Kim Anderson’s team this fall. Kemp told FOX2 he’d been talking to TCU, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UT-Martin, Drake, VCU and Utah State but said “it just felt right going here” to Missouri.
Missouri’s interest in Kemp was first reported this week by Rock M Nation’s Sam Snelling. The school won’t confirm any commitment until Kemp submits the necessary signed paperwork.
Missouri’s current roster lacks size, featuring only one player (Russell Woods) 6-8 or taller with previous college experience. Incoming freshmen Mitchell Smith (6-10) and Reed Nikko (6-9) will also compete for immediate playing time. Kemp describes himself as a “Stretch 4” and his YouTube highlight reel shows an ability to shoot from three point range while also being active on the interior.
Also Tuesday, an important target for the class of 2017 announced he’s narrowed his list of schools, and at the very least, it appears Missouri will have an uphill climb to stay in the game. Jeremiah Tilmon, the 6-10 center from East St. Louis who transferred to an Indiana prep school told an ESPN.com reporter about his final five.
Jeremiah Tilmon also just said that Missouri is still in the mix. @jeremiahtilmon_
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) June 28, 2016
Tilmon is tied to the St. Louis Eagles AAU program that has produced a prolific pipeline to Division I in recent years. Mizzou assistant coach Corey Tate is the former Head Coach of the Eagles.
Tilmon couldn’t be reached for comment.
Missouri finds itself in a precarious recruiting situation heading into 2016-2017. Kim Anderson’s club must show serious improvement if he is to see a fourth year at the helm. Top players like Tilmon who have been connected to the school in the recruiting process for the last 2-3 years have offers from other schools that present a better shot at winning immediately at the college level with a path to the NBA.
Every program knows that it will expend resources on the recruiting trail that will go for naught. You can’t get everyone you want. But it seems like the Missouri program has found itself stuck in a Catch 22 in recent years that keeps stacking the odds against winning recruiting battles for local talents like Jayson Tatum (Chaminade/Duke), Tyler Cook (Chaminade/Iowa), Xavier Sneed (Hazelwood Central/Kansas State) who would have the potential to change the arc of the Mizzou program. You can’t win them over if you don’t try, but the program’s poor record over the past two seasons and the still-lingering NCAA probe likely weighs heavily on recruits and their families, and has to serve as good counter-recruiting ammunition for rival schools.
After striking out on several big-name targets earlier in his tenure, Kim Anderson has spoken of honing his recruiting efforts to focus on players he can legitimately recruit to Columbia. Those efforts will again be put to the test as Tilmon and former Columbia Tolton star Michael Porter, Jr. make up their minds as part of the class of 2017.