De Smet’s Keita signs letter of intent to play basketball at Missouri, will miss senior season due to injury

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ST. LOUIS, Mo- The University of Missouri men’s basketball program announced a five member signing class of 2021 Wednesday, the first day players can sign binding letters of intent in the November period. Cuonzo Martin’s class is heavy on in-state talent, including 6-9 Forward Yaya Keita from De Smet Jesuit.

“I knew this day was coming and I was ready for it. I’m blessed,” Keita said at De Smet Wednesday afternoon. I feel like Cuonzo will be the right coach for me to play for, for my next four years, and Mizzou will be the right school to go follow my dreams.”

Keita has played under former Martin assistant Kent Williams at De Smet, which Martin said likely helped build familiarity with what’s expected at the next level and at Mizzou. “He carries a heavy chip on his shoulder, burden on his shoulder to support his family so he puts the time into it and I think Coach Williams understands it,” Martin told reporters in a Zoom news conference Wednesday. “He knows there are certain things he has to get better at.”

Keita’s journey from Mali to the U.S. and eventually the world of Division I hoops will have one detour. He confirmed that a torn ACL will keep him off the court for his senior season, with the expectation that he’ll be ready to go at Missouri next fall.

Other members of the early signing class include Springfield Kickapoo teammates, guard Anton Brookshire and forward Trevon Brazile, forward Sean Durugordon from Queens, NY, and guard Kaleb Brown out of Huntsville, Alabama. Brown’s older brother Kobe will be a sophomore for the Tigers.

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