We continue our recruit and return series with Missouri, whose season ended with a first round loss to Florida State. Here's a look at what next season could bring for the Tigers:
Possible 2018-19 starting five:
G: Jordan Geist
Who is lost: Michael Porter Jr. missed all but two minutes of the regular season. But he returned for the postseason, an attempt to solidify his status as a top-10 prospect in this summer's NBA draft. Pro scouts have also tracked Jontay Porter, his younger brother, but he could climb into a loftier position with another year in Columbia. Both Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett, the top two scorers on the roster, have exhausted their eligibility.
Who is added: With his frontcourt intact, at least for another season, Cuonzo Martin focused on rebooting the perimeter for the Tigers. Watson is a four-star wing who, at 6-foot-5, adds size and his impressive scoring prowess. The former Ohio State commit could help the Tigers next season. K.J. Santos is a 6-foot-8 juco prospect who averaged 7.1 PPG and made 37 percent of his 3-pointers at Illinois-Chicago in 2016-17. And Javon Pickett, who missed an expected year of prep school with a shoulder injury, is a shooting guard who could help the Tigers down the line.
What it means for next season: Missouri reached the NCAA tournament without Porter Jr., a top-five recruit entering the season. That's a positive sign for the returning group that understands its ability and promise in adverse situations. The additions of Watson and Santos will stabilize a backcourt that will lose key players. Blake Harris and C.J. Roberts transferred. Terrence Philips was dismissed following a Title IX investigation related to sexual assault and domestic abuse allegations. All three might have helped Missouri in the future. But the future of Missouri basketball now starts inside. If Jontay Porter returns, he could team with Tilmon and Puryear to anchor one of the nation's top frontcourts. The incoming recruiting class won't change the program. But it should position Missouri to enter next season with similar postseason ambitions.
Trending: Neutral. If Watson matches the hype and Jontay Porter, the SEC's co-sixth man of the year, returns to accept a more prominent role in 2018-19, Missouri should chase another top-half finish in the SEC and at-large invitation to the NCAA tournament.