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August 27, 2011

Hoops recruiting picks up momentum again



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The Missouri Tigers had been on top of Shawn Smith's list for a long time. Now, they're alone on his list.

"I just felt like it was time to get recruiting over with," Smith said. "And I felt like Missouri was the right place for me."

The 6-foot-3, three-star forward claims 11 offers from all over the country. He said it was the Missouri coaching staff that won him over.

"The head coach. The relationship I had with coach Haith and coach Chew," Smith said. "That's really what choosing a college is all about is finding that place where you have great relationships."

Smith said he was comfortable with the Tigers and would be taking no visits, other than an official trip to Columbia some time this fall. Smith currently plays at the Providence School in Jacksonville, FL, but could end up attending prep school elsewhere this year.

While Smith was making his decision, St. Louis big man Ryan Rosburg was on campus in Columbia.

"We got down there and met with the whole staff, met with Mike Alden, him and my family talked for a while, we went to the academic center, took a visit of the whole campus, had lunch with Phil Pressey, Marcus Denmon, Mike Dixon and Earnest Ross and all the coaches," Rosburg said. "The last time I took a visit down there it was just me and my dad. This time my mom and my brother got to tag along and meet coach Haith and everything."

Rosburg's brother is a current student at Mizzou. The Marquette High School product has plans to take all five official visits, including one to Missouri over Homecoming. However, he said that could change at any time.

"If it feels right, I don't think I need to wait. The plan is to take all of them, but that could change at any time," he said. "Growing up I have always been a Mizzou fan, it's been in the family. It just seems natural, Saturdays are Mizzou football games, that's kind of the topic of the household."

For Haith, the commitment and the recruiting momentum couldn't come at a more opportune time. Controversy has swirled the last couple of weeks since a Yahoo! Sports story linked Haith to potential NCAA problems. Living in Florida, Smith seemed fairly distant from the rumors swirling around the Mizzou program in recent days.

"I didn't want to get too involved in that," Smith said. "We're going to leave all that in the past."

Rosburg, however, was well aware of everything going on, being much closer to the situation.

"Going into it, you hear all these rumors on line, no TV, don't even know if coach Haith's gonna be there. We didn't really know what to expect. Went there today and they made it sound like everything was going to be okay and that was a good thing to hear," Rosburg said. "Obviously, I'm very interested in the school and if coach Haith wasn't going to be there, that would definitely impact things a lot."

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