On Wednesday, Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith announced the signing of three high school seniors as part of the Missouri Tigers' 2013 recruiting class, including PF Johnathan Williams III 6'9" 190 Memphis (TN) Southwind, PG Wes Clark 6'0" 170 Romulus (MI), and PF Torren Jones 6'8" 225 LaPorte (IN) La Lumierre School. All three are expected to arrive at Missouri next summer.
"We filled three important needs for the future, and are bringing in the high-caliber young men that our staff and the Missouri fans have come to expect," said Coach Haith. "These young guys are high-character, high-motor players. They come from strong families and great programs, and they expect to win. Athleticism was a big key for us, especially with our move to the Southeastern Conference……………………………………….. I really like the makeup of this class."
Williams III, who goes by the nickname "J3", is an athletic, highly skilled, and highly regarded lefty who has played on the U.S. National team. He is the #9 power forward in this class, according to Scout. He's been compared by some to a young Lamar Odom.
"It's a good feeling to have everything out of the way," said J3, speaking of having signed his National Letter of Intent. "Now, I'll be able to focus on my senior season."
J3 was a member of Team USA for both the U17 World Championships and the U16 squad that won the FIBA Americas title in 2011. He averaged 7.0 points and 4.6 rebounds at the U17 World Championships, shooting 54% from the field. Williams III is a four-year starter at Southwind High school in Memphis. As a junior, he was named first-team all-state, and averaged 15.7 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game, as he helped his team to a 28-5 record and the state quarterfinals. J3 averaged 17.3 points and 11.5 rebounds as a sophomore, and 10.2 points and 9.5 rebounds as a freshman.
"I'll be playing with other good players at Missouri," continued J3. "I have a good feeling about coming to Missouri."
"Jonathan Williams III is so versatile on the floor and he has a number of ways that he can impact a basketball game," said Coach Haith. "His size and skillset are unique, and he can present mismatch problems for opponents. He is smooth on the perimeter, and is long and active, and he really has a great feel for how to attack his opponent and keep his teammates involved."
"J3 is a guy who was on everybody's wish list," said Coach Haith. "He's very versatile, very athletic."
Clark is another highly skilled and highly regarded player who will be counted on to play a major immediate role for the Tigers. He is the #24 PG in this class, according to Scout, and he really shot up the rankings this past summer, after outplaying more highly ranked point guards on the camp circuit. He is the starting point guard on the top-ranked team in the state of Michigan entering the 2012-2013 season, after having led his team to an 18-7 record in 2012-1012. As a junior, Clark averaged 18 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 2.3 steals, shot 57% from the field, including 38% from 3-PT range, and was a first-team all-state selection in Michigan's large-school class.
"It's a great relief to sign with Missouri," said Clark, who is focused on his senior season and trying to win a state championship. "Missouri is a good spot for me. I feel like I picked the right school with great coaching, and the right players. We're going to have something really special!"
"Wes Clark is the ultimate competitor," said Coach Haith. "He is one of those point guards that won't give you an inch. He is all about winning, and did it at a high level in a very good basketball state. Wes was one of the country's fastest-rising players at the point guard position with his play over the summer. He has a very good burst off the dribble, and he has the ability to break people down or create for his teammates."
"I love Wes Clark's toughness, and his competitive spirit," said Coach Haith. "He's always in attack mode. And, he's a guy who has always been around winning."
Scout National Recruiting Analyst Brian Snow has tabbed Clark an "instant impact" signee for Missouri, and suggests that Clark may be asked to take over the Tigers' point guard responsibilities in year one.
Here's what Brian Snow wrote about Clark:
"Clark went from mid-major interest in April to high-major interest following an excellent run of things in July. (He's) a kid who is a jet in transition and is comfortable scoring or setting up teammates in the half court. Clark should be playing big minutes from day one in a system that asks the guards to be major scoring threats."
Jones is an athletic big man who is expected to play on the inside for the Tigers. He's looking forward to getting to work upon his arrival at Missouri.
"I am very excited to sign with Missouri," said Jones. "I'm glad to have the paperwork out of the way. I can't wait to get on campus at Missouri, and to prove myself."
Jones has a worker's attitude, and that approach will help him to develop into a strong inside force for Mizzou. Jones earned all-state recognition in each of his first three seasons at Basha High School in Chandler (AZ), where as a junior, he averaged 19.6 points and 10.6 rebounds for a 24-7 team.
"We are really excited to have Torren Jones join our program," said Coach Haith, who said that Jones reminds him of Ricardo Ratliffe. "He's quick off the floor. He's very bouncy, very athletic.……………………………………….. He will play this season at one of the top prep programs in the country. Torren is another high-quality young man, and we feel like he has a very bright future at Mizzou. He is athletic, and has a college-ready body. He's not afraid to mix it up in the post, and he attacks the rim on both ends of the floor. He is a guy that doesn't need to dominate the basketball to make an impact. He runs the floor extremely well and can score in transition, or with his back to the basket. Defensively, his strength and energy are big assets, and allow him to play at a high level."
All three signees are expected to arrive at Missouri in June, and to strengthen an already talented roster heading into the 2013-2014 season.
"We are really excited about the class," said Coach Haith. "It is a class that answers some needs for us, and one that we're really excited about."
With four scholarship seniors currently on Missouri's roster, it is expected that Coach Haith and staff will continue to add to their 2013 recruiting class.
ShowMeMizzou.com will have more on that later.