KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During the NCAA Division I men’s basketball early signing period, Kansas City's major-conference programs loaded up for the future
Missouri signed five players, including four Rivals four-star prospects, in putting together the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class.
Perennial power Kansas wasn’t far behind, signing two of the three players that comprise the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the country, while Kansas State added the No. 42 prospect in the nation.
Mizzou loads up under Gates
The Tigers — who surprised in Dennis Gates’ first season last year with their best finish in the SEC (fourth), best finish in the SEC Tournament (semifinals) and first NCAA Tournament win in 13 years — signed a full squad.
All five players who inked a National Letter of Intent on Wednesday with Mizzou are ranked in Rivals’ top 130 players in the 2024 recruiting class.
Shooting guard Annor Boateng, a 6-foot-5 native of Little Rock, Arkansas, is ranked as the No. 26 prospect nationally.
He chose the Tigers over Georgia Tech, Indiana, LSU and Virginia among others.
Boateng, the reigning Arkansas Gatorade Basketball Player of the Year, is the program’s highest-rated recruit since Michael Porter Jr. and second-highest in more than two decades.
“We look for champions in the classroom, on the court and in the community and Annor is a perfect example of that kind of all-around student-athlete,” Gates said in a statement. “One of the most complete guards in the country and a playmaker on both ends of the floor, Annor is physically gifted and a three-level scorer who excels in multiple facets of the game. He is also a tremendous leader and we're thrilled to welcome him to our Mizzou family.”
Allen, a 6-foot-7 native of Miami, Florida, picked the Tigers over his hometown Hurricanes, Stanford, Arkansas, Indiana and Villanova among others.
Gates lauded Allen as a potential shutdown defender with NBA upside.
Burns is a 7-foot-2 prospect from Houston, who also visited Purdue and Nebraska. He’s a unique player who offers three-point range and also offers elite rim protection with Gates saying he “has one of the highest ceilings of any player I've ever coached.”
Burns will be paired in the frontcourt with Marshall, an imposing 6-foot-10 bruiser from Marietta, Georgia, who picked Mizzou over Auburn, Georgia and Illinois among others.
Despite his size, Marshall, who checks in at more than 300 pounds, is nimble too, according to Gates, who called him “a dominant interior presence who is a great finisher and has tremendous touch around the rim.”
He's also a deft passer.
Finally, Barrett — a 6-foot-5 prospect from Edmund, Oklahoma, who also had offers from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — projects as the on-court general of the group.
He currently plays for Link Academy, a prep school in Branson, Missouri.
Only Duke has a higher-rated 2024 recruiting class, according to Rivals.
Jayhawks add to blue-chip haul
Point guard Labaron Philon, a 6-foot-3 native of Mobile, Alabama, currently plays alongside Barrett, who signed with MU, at Link Academy. He’s the No. 40-ranked player by Rivals and picked KU over Alabama and Cincinnati among others.
Jayhawks coach Bill Self praised the athleticism, vision and handles of Philon, who averaged 35 points per game at Baker High School in Mobile before transferring.
Small forward Rakease Passmore, a 6-foot-5 from Florida, currently plays for a North Carolina-based academy.
Self described Passmore — the No. 49 recruit in the country, according to Rivals, who chose KU over LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Wake Forest among others — as “a prototypical Kansas wing” with size, strength, the explosiveness to play above the rim, defensive intangibles, and shooting upside.
“I think he is more of the underrated players in this class and I think he will have an immediate impact,” Self said in a statement.
Flory Bidunga, a 6-foot-9 center from Kokomo, Indiana, has committed to KU but didn’t sign an NLI yet. The five-star prospect, who also visited Duke and Butler, is ranked as the No. 6 player overall.
Once completed, the Jayhawks’ recruiting class trails only Duke, Mizzou and North Carolina in Rivals’ team rankings.
K-State nets ‘a dude’
The Wildcats’ recruiting class wasn’t as highly rated as the Tigers’ and Jayhawks’ hauls primarily due to its size, but K-State rightfully celebrated signing Sunrise Christian point guard David Castillo.
The 6-foot-1 native of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, helped USA Basketball win the 2021 FIBA U16 Championships and 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup.
Castillo visited Kansas twice and Tulsa before choosing K-State over additional offers from KU, Arkansas and Illinois among others.
“We're excited to welcome David and his family to K-State," Wildcats coach Jerome Tang said in a statement. "We signed a dude today. He's a leader. He's a winner.”