The University of Missouri basketball team has had quite an eventful week, between the NBA Draft and the news of two additions to the basketball program.
First, the NBA Draft took place last Thursday and one former Tiger's name was called -- however, it is not the former Tiger that most fans would have guessed. Alex Oriakhi was chosen in the second round with the 57th pick by the Phoenix Suns and was the only Missouri player to be drafted. The Suns have a crowded front court with Marcin Gortat, Louis Scola, Channing Frye, the Morris twins, and the newly drafted Alex Len as well, but Oriakhi will have a chance to really make an impact rebounding the ball. Even with all that depth, rebounding was a weakness for the Suns last season, so if Oriakhi can rebound like he did in college, he will have a future in Phoenix.
Two former Missouri basketball players that didn't get drafted were Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers. Pressey left Missouri a year early to enter the draft, and by not getting picked, the decision continues to remain questionable. Both players did get signed as undrafted free agents, however. Pressey is headed to Boston to try to fight his way into the league with the Celtics. Rumors were swirling that the Celtics really liked Pressey and were considering taking him in the late first round, but they clearly figured he'd be available after the draft. While they didn't draft Pressey, the team jumped at the chance to sign the dynamic point guard immediately afterward. Pressey has a real chance of playing for the rebuilding Celtics this season, as the Boston roster is expected to have a number of new faces in 2013-14. His chance will be even greater if the Celtics trade starting point guard Rajon Rondo, which is a real possibility.
Laurence Bowers also signed a free agent deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are Bowers' hometown team, so it was a natural fit for the big man. Unlike the other two former Mizzou players, Bowers does not have an easy opening available for him on the team -- he is going to have to really impress during the summer to earn a spot on the Grizzlies roster.
As old talent leaves Missouri, the future seems bright as the Tigers got two new commitments over the weekend. The first commitment comes from shooting guard Chris Sandifer. Sandifer has plenty of ties to Missouri, with family in the St. Louis area, and comes from the same AAU program as current Tiger Jabari Brown. He is a four-star rated prospect and the 88th ranked prospect in the nation, according to Rivals. His commitment is huge for a Missouri program looking to get a nice start to the 2014 recruiting class.
The second addition to the Tigers from this past weekend is Louisville transfer Zach Price. Price didn't play much for the Cardinals during their national championship season, so he decided to explore transfer options. The center visited Missouri and committed during his visit. Despite not being able to crack the Louisville rotation, Price has plenty of potential. He was a four-star prospect coming out of high school that just didn't get the opportunity to play at a big time program. Missouri always loves to have a big center, so Price will get an opportunity when he is eligible to play in 2014.
Sandifer and Price join Baylor transfer Deuce Bello as players eligible to start playing for the Tigers in 2014. All three players are phenomenal talents, and their presences are huge for the future of Missouri basketball. Head coach Frank Haith is proving how committed he is to recruiting top talent to Missouri, and the additions of these three players shows that the Missouri basketball program is in good hands.