The steady stream of high-profile Canadian basketball recruits continues. Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins have been number one picks in the past two NBA drafts. Now, the Missouri Tigers have been able to reel in the latest hyped Canadian for their upcoming basketball season.
Montaque Gill-Caesar is the name, and the Tigers hope that his game will be good enough to get Mizzou into the NCAA tournament once again.
What Does This Mean For Missouri?
This is a huge deal for Missouri. It’s a badly-needed piece of great news for a program that saw its coach walk away to Tulsa. The people close to Missouri basketball who have seen the trend over the last few seasons wanted head coach Frank Haith out, but it still had to feel like a slap in the face to see Haith leave instead of getting the satisfaction of seeing athletic director Mike Alden fire Haith and find his own hand-picked successor. Instead, Haith left first, and Alden had to work furiously. He couldn’t land a big name, so he had to settle for Kim Anderson, a coach who has worked the lower divisions of college basketball and has stayed largely out of the limelight. With Anderson in charge, Missouri didn’t figure to get a lot of high-profile guys to come to Columbia, Mo., but Gill-Ceasar changes that belief, at least a little bit. The news gives Anderson, Alden, and the program at large a psychological boost before anything else. This allows Missouri coaches and administrators to feel that things are headed on the right track.
In addition to that piece of the puzzle, this is an important move because the Tigers lost their main sources of scoring this past season. Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown gave Missouri a mixture of dribble penetration and shooting ability, with Clarkson being the driver and Brown the shooter. They’re both gone, having committed to play pro ball. The Tigers need to remake their identity, and with top-100 signee JaKeenan Gant in the fold, not to mention Notre Dame transfer Cameron Biedscheid on board as well, the Tigers might be able to piece together a roster good enough to get to the NCAA tournament one season after the embarrassment that was the 2013-2014 season, in which the Tigers could do nothing right away from home and finished in the middle of an average SEC.
Gill-Ceasar is a big guard, a 6-5, 220-pound wing player who should be able to muscle the ball to the rim and absorb body contact as he tries to lay the ball in or dunk it against comparable size. He has Clarkson’s mindset to take the ball to the rim, but he’s stronger and more powerful than Clarkson.
How To Bet The News
It’s true that Gill-Ceasar makes Missouri a lot better. This is not in dispute. What’s going to be tough to gauge is how this will impact the College Basketball betting odds, and whether Missouri was already an NCAA tournament team before Gill-Ceasar’s arrival, or if the Tigers were an NIT team that’s now in contention for an NCAA berth. It’s probably more the latter than the former, though we won’t really know until the first three weeks of the season have come and gone.