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Cuonzo Martin kept the steady flow of talent from St. Louis heading west while drilling a pipeline into another coveted area for his latest basketball recruiting class.
Mizzou signs two highly rated hoops recruits for 2019 class
Missouri officially announced the signings of Mario McKinney and Tray Jackson to its 2019 class on Wednesday.
Jackson signed with the Tigers in the morning at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita after committing to Missouri on Oct. 19. He was previously committed to Minnesota before flipping to the Tigers. McKinney signed in the afternoon at Vashon High School in St. Louis.
McKinney committed to MU in September after an official visit with his best friend and fellow target E.J. Liddell. Liddell eventually committed to Ohio State while McKinney stayed home. McKinneys cousin Jimmy played for Missouri under Quin Snyder and was one of the last heralded recruits out of St. Louis to play at MU before Martins hiring.
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Since Martin took the job in March 2017, Missouri has landed talent in the St. Louis area, including sophomore Jeremiah Tilmon and freshmen Torrence Watson and Javon Pickett.
Martin cautioned the praise of local recruiting because it puts a microscope on the program, especially when the natives arent a part of the teams success.
You have to get them in position where theyre playing, he said. You never want to get into a situation when you have multiple local guys and theyre not playing and theyre not successful because thats not a good thing. Theyre right here. Its OK if they go away and not play but theyre local, OK why is he not playing.
Martin said on Wednesday that hes known the McKinneys for a long time, because his cousin is married to Marios aunt. MUs coach praised the 6-foot-1 guards style of play, calling him a tremendous on-ball defender.
Hed like to see McKinney, a consensus four-star recruit, become a more consistent free-throw shooter because he could be a regular there at the college level with his ability to draw contact at the basket.
Jackson is a native of Detroit and Missouris first signing from Michigan since 2013, when the Tigers signed Wes Clark. Assistant coach Cornell Mann hails from Michigan and has made an emphasis of recruiting the state, like Norm Stewart used to, since joining Martins staff.
A 6-foot-8 forward, Jackson is consensus four-star recruit and top-100 prospect nationally. His game has drawn comparisons to current MU sophomore Jontay Porter for his ability to stuff the stat sheet and play multiple positions.
A guy that can attack off the dribble, Martin said. Both of those guys, guys that can make plays off the dribble. From A to B wherever they are on the floor they can get to the basket. Both Mario and Tray can get to the rim. When you got guys that can get downhill it opens things up and its another element to our offense.