Mizzou Head Coach Frank Haith talked about the signing of a nationally-ranked recruiting class that is picked in the top 20 by ESPN. The three players who will join Mizzou for 2013-14 are Wes Clark (6-0, 175, Romulus, Mich. / Romulus H.S.), Torren Jones (6-8, 215, Chandler, Ariz. / La Lumiere School (Ind.)) and Johnathan Williams, III (6-9, 210, Memphis, Tenn. / Southwind H.S.).
The Tigers needed to fill some holes that will be left next season when players like Michael Dixon, Laurence Bowers and Alex Oriakhi are gone. Clark will bring Haith someone who can handle the ball and score. Williams, who they call J-3, was highly recruited picking Mizzou over Michigan State, Memphis and Georgetown. He can score different ways and Haith thinks he will get better on long range shooting, but Haith likes him for his high energy. He crashes the boards and blocks shots.
With the type of offense Missouri runs, they need all around solid players, not just big bodies up front. Mizzou needs to continue to find players who can run the floor, dribble, pass and shoot. Many consider the SEC the most athletic conference in the nation and Haith noticed that when he watched film over the summer and compared the Big 12 to the SEC.
“The tempo of the games. The way they (SEC teams) play. In terms of up and down…pressing. So we need to have who can finish and play athletic also, not just on the defensive end,” said coach Haith.
Johnathan Williams, III (6-9, 210, Memphis, Tenn. / Southwind H.S.)
Rankings: No. 33 by Scout.com; No. 37 by ESPN; No. 39 by Prep Spotlight
Selected Missouri Over: Michigan State, Memphis and Georgetown
Williams Bio: Ranked among the Top 40 players in the country by Scout.com and ESPN … Ranked the No. 9 player at his position by Scout.com … Member of Team USA for both the U17 World Championships and the U16 squad that won the FIBA Americas title in 2011 … Averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds at the U17 World Championships, shooting 54 percent from the floor in 15.5 minutes a contest … Averaged 15.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 blocks per game as a junior at Southwind High School in Memphis … Helped his club to a 28-5 overall record and the state quarterfinals … Will be a four-year starter for Southwind, which has gone 80-16 during his time with the program … Averaged 17.3 points and 11.5 rebounds as a sophomore and averaged 10.2 points and 9.5 rebounds as a freshman … Named first team all-state and all-district by the Tennessee Sports Writers … Was also a Class AAA Best of the Preps selection as a junior by the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Head Coach Frank Haith on Williams:
“Johnathan is so versatile on the floor and has a number of ways he can impact a basketball game. His size and skillset are unique and he can present mismatch problems for opponents. He is smooth on the perimeter and is long and active and really has a great feel for how to attack his opponent and keep his teammates involved. Off the court Johnathan is just such a complete young man. He comes from a tremendous family and has a great sense of what it takes to be a leader on the court, in the classroom and amongst his teammates.”
Torren Jones (6-8, 215, Chandler, Ariz. / La Lumiere School (Ind.))
Rankings: No. 65 by Prep Spotlight; No. 116 by Rivals.com
Selected Missouri Over: Arizona, California, Marquette, Oregon and Washington State
Jones Bio: Ranked No. 65 nationally by Vince Baldwin of Prep Spotlight and No. 116 nationally by Rivals.com … Is the top-ranked forward from the state of Arizona and will play his final season at La Lumiere in La Porte, Ind., one of the country’s elite prep programs … Earned all-state recognition from the Arizona Republic his first three seasons while playing at Basha High School in Chandler, Ariz. … Averaged 19.6 points and 10.6 rebounds as a junior, helping his club to a 24-7 overall record last season… Broke the school record with 22 rebounds in a win against Kofa last year … Added 25 points in that game as well … Averaged 9.9 rebounds a night as a sophomore … Was named a Second Team Freshman All-American by MaxPreps.com, averaging 14.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks … Was a preseason first team all-state pick in Arizona before his transfer to La Lumiere.
Head Coach Frank Haith on Jones:
“We are really excited to have Torren join our program and he will play this season at one of the top prep programs in the country. Torren is another high-quality young man and we feel like he has a very bright future at Mizzou. He is athletic and has a college-ready body. He’s not afraid to mix it up in the post and attacks the rim on both sides of the floor. He is a guy that doesn’t need to dominate the basketball to make an impact. He runs the floor extremely well and can score in transition or with his back to the basket. Defensively his strength and energy are big assets and allow him to play at a high level.”
Wes Clark (6-0, 175, Romulus, Mich. / Romulus H.S.)
Rankings: No. 70 by Rivals.com; No. 74 by ESPN
Selected Missouri Over: Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Xavier and San Diego State
Clark Bio: Ranked among the Top 100 players nationally by both ESPN and Rivals.com, Clark gives the Tigers a tough, physical play-making lead guard for the future … He is the starting point guard on the top-ranked team in the state of Michigan entering the 2012-13 season and led his club to an 18-7 overall mark in 2011-12 … As a junior Clark was a first team Class A (largest class) all-state selection by the Associated Press and flew up the national rankings following an outstanding summer on the AAU circuit … A preseason all-state pick as a senior for Head Coach Nate Oats’ club, Clark averaged 18 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.3 steals as a junior … He also shot 57 percent from the floor and 38 percent from three-point range.
Head Coach Frank Haith on Clark:
“Wes is the ultimate competitor. He is one of those point guards that won’t give you an inch. He is all about winning and did it at a high level in a very good basketball state, Michigan. Wes was one of the country’s fastest-rising players at the point guard position with his play over the summer. He has very good burst off the dribble and has the ability to break people down or create for his teammates.
Obviously the Detroit area has been very good to Mizzou over the years and our fans will really enjoy watching the mental and physical toughness Wes brings to our program.”
The Mizzou Basketball staff will remain active for the 2013 spring signing period. That period opens April 17, 2013.