Who could leave, and who could be incoming: What could Mizzou basketball look like next season?
A dream season of Missouri men's basketball has ended. The players are taking their time to put a wrap on the season in their own way.
The coaching staff, however, is already on the recruiting trail as the 2023-2024 roster could look very different from the 2022-2023 roster.
That recruiting trail is a long one. Especially when it entails recruiting the transfer portal, as well as weighing the future of players on the current MU roster.
Returning players could always enter the transfer portal, although it would be different for some as opposed to others.
Some players have the opportunity to transfer elsewhere and play immediately. Aidan Shaw and Kaleb Brown could transfer and take advantage of the one-time transfer rule. Others like Noah Carter and Ronnie Degray could potentially classify as a graduate transfer.
Although, there's little indication those players would be interested in transferring.
Players like Sean East and Nick Honor, who have already transferred multiple times, would need to sit out a season if they transferred from MU to another Division I program. It's possible, but players like Honor and East already have established roles on the team next season.
"I love Missouri," Honor said.
The biggest question, however, lies in forward Kobe Brown.
The first-team All-SEC forward has a decision to make. He could return to Missouri, play his final year of eligibility, or he could go to other routes.
He could declare for the NBA Draft and begin preparations for a professional career. This route could be somewhat misleading, too.
Brown can declare for the NBA Draft and still return to MU. In fact, experienced college players can declare for the draft, receive draft evaluations and decide whether or not to return to college based on those evaluations. Those evaluations can also point a player to what they need to improve on in order to improve their draft profile.
It wouldn't be surprising to see Brown declare for the NBA Draft just to weigh his options. Isiaih Mosley did that last offseason before deciding to transfer to Missouri.
Brown could do the same. He could opt to enter the transfer portal and transfer elsewhere.
Those decisions will come later, he said.
"I have no idea," Brown said. "I just want to just grieve with my teammates right now. I'll have those conversations with Coach Gates later on whenever he sees fit"
Once those futures are decided, it comes down to how Dennis Gates can utilize his incoming Class of 2023. This includes four-star players Jordan Butler and Trent Pierce, three-star guard Anthony Robinson and junior college transfer Curt Lewis.
Those players will figure into the rotation next season, especially the likes of Pierce and Butler. Butler's presence would immediately add to MU's ability to protect the rim. Pierce would bring length to the post and perimeter on offense and defense.
Those players could also figure alongside any players Gates potentially adds through the transfer portal.
Mizzou's transfer portal activity (so far)
A new offseason means a new foray into the other side of college basketball recruiting.
Last year, Gates used the transfer portal to his benefit and reshaped a depleted roster around familiar players and talented additions to comprise that 25-win team.
This offseason could feature more of the same.
Here are some of the players Missouri has contacted, according to different reports:
Colorado State guard John Tonje: 14.6 points per game, made 38.9% 3-pointers, 4.7 rebounds per game
Illinois-Chicago guard Jace Carter: 16.6 points per game, 7 rebounds per game, 1.6 assists per game
FIU guard Denver Jones: 20.1 points per game, 3.8 rebounds per game, 1.8 steals per game
Northwestern State transfer DeMarcus Sharp: 19.5 points per game, 5.0 assists per game
Wofford guard Jackson Paveletzke: 15.1 points per game, 2.7 rebounds per game, 3.7 assists per game
TCU forward Eddie Lampkin: 6.3 points per game, 5.9 rebounds per game
Wyoming forward Graham Ike: 19.5 points per game, 9.6 rebounds per game (2021-22 stats)
Ball State center Payton Sparks: 13.3 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game
That's just a handful of names, with more most likely hearing from Missouri every day. It should be noted that MU reaching out to a transfer does not indicate a specific level of interest, just interest in general. In the era of the transfer portal, every team should reach out to every player in some capacity. If not, coaches aren't doing their due diligence.
MU would do well to add a player like Lampkin or Ike, who can defend the post and add a rim-protecting presence alongside Mohamed Diarra and Shaw. It would also give Butler and Pierce an opportunity to sit behind a player and learn from a veteran presence.
Adding a player like Sharp or Tonje would help replace the shooting that D'Moi Hodge leaves behind and give MU a scoring guard to offset the losses of Hodge and DeAndre Gholston.
There's so much that could happen in the coming months. Prepare for MU's roster to look completely different come the start of the 2023-2024 season.
This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: What could Mizzou basketball look like next season?