Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Positive Pub on Denmon

While out and about earlier today, I caught the beginning of Soren Petro’s show on WHB in Kansas City. For those who don’t know him, Petro is the best thing going in sports talk – smart, opinionated, exceptionally well-informed, and steadfastly opposed to engaging in fake controversy. On a day when there’s much to talk about – the Chiefs’ quarterback battle, the Royals’ blowing a lead last night, Michael Vick’s guilty plea, the renewed possibility that the Nashville Predators might relocate to KC – do you know what he led with?

Marcus Denmon – the best basketball player in the city – has committed to Missouri.

His words, not mine. That’s awfully high praise, especially considering that Travis Releford, a Kansas commitment and an elite national recruit, is in the same class in the same town, and Michael Dixon, a prime point guard prospect from Lee’s Summit, is just a year behind.

Petro indicated that Releford will be a fine complementary player as a collegian, but he predicted stardom for Denmon because of his blinding quicks and his ability to dominate a game with the ball in his hands. Petro says that Mizzou is getting a physical ballplayer, who despite less-than-imposing size, can get into the lane and finish. Petro said Denmon is perfectly suited for Mike Anderson’s relentless style of play.

Petro also labeled this as something of a statement moment for the Missouri program, because it’s proof that Anderson is fulfilling his stated goal of locking down the state’s best talent. Now, I think that overstates the case a bit – it looks like the Tigers will be shut out in St. Louis this year, where there are two or three elite-level prospects, and MU also targeted Releford – but it’s still a cogent point. Denmon and Steve Moore – two homegrown talents – have a shot at being cornerstones of Anderson’s first big recruiting class at Missouri, and most indications are that Mizzou sits in good shape with Dixon and St. Louis big man Tyler Griffey, two highly regarded prospects in the class of 2009. To get where he wants to be, Anderson needs for the state’s best talent to grow up thinking of Missouri as a destination location.

It’s a long way from last week’s doom and gloom, huh?