The Missouri basketball team and head coach Kim Anderson got two bits of good news Saturday when 4-star shooting guard Montaque Gill-Caesar committed to the Tigers and reclassified into the class of 2014.
According to Jeff Borzello of CBSSports.com, who broke the news, Gill-Caesar's reclassification wasn't a surprise considering the moves Missouri had been making recently:
There had been rumors for months that Gill-Caesar would reclassify, but as time went on, it seemed less likely -- until Missouri hired Rob Fulford as an assistant coach. Fulford coached Gill-Caesar at Huntington Prep, and the Tigers immediately had a hook to get Gill-Caesar. A visit to Columbia shortly after Fulford was hired got the ball rolling in Missouri's favor.
With National Signing Day for this year in the rear-view mirror, schools likely weren't expecting anything major that would impact them for 2014 to happen in August.
Missouri had one more big move, though if you were to ask Anderson, he would probably tell you that this was a surprise. Included in Borzello's report is a statement from Gill-Caesar about his decision:
Everything about my visit to Mizzou was perfect, but I wanted to be thorough make the decision that was best for me and my family. I already had great relationships with Coach Rob (Fulford) and Coach Fuller, but having a chance to meet Coach Anderson and get to know him on a personal level just put everything over the top. I want to thank my family and everyone at Huntington Prep for their support and I'm ready to be a Missouri Tiger.
Gill-Caesar comes to Missouri with plenty of hype, taking over as the No. 1 guy for a Huntington Prep team that two years ago had Andrew Wiggins. Canadian national recruiting analyst Elias Sbiet told Dustin Pollack of Yahoo Sports that Gill-Caesar's evolution in such a short time has been remarkable:
Anybody who plays behind [Wiggins] and Xavier Rathan-Mayes is going to be the second option. [Montaque] handled it well and understood it was a very important part of his development.
He’s really evolved in terms of building a perimeter game for himself and now becoming a legitimate high-calibre Division I guard . . . He’s very versatile offensively so that’s what sets him apart.
According to 247Sports.com, which had him ranked as the No. 9 shooting guard for the class of 2015, Gill-Caesar had offers from 14 schools including Michigan State, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio State and West Virginia before deciding on Missouri.
The Tigers are in an interesting spot right now. Anderson is taking over as head coach after Frank Haith left for Tulsa in April. He had to convince all of Haith's incoming recruits to stay, as well as try to build the roster that he wanted.
Landing Gill-Caesar, who wasn't thought to arrive in college until next season, is a major coup for Anderson as he tries to get Missouri back to the NCAA tournament following last year's disappointing 23-12 record.
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