Dennis Gates and the Missouri Tigers basketball program picked up another win with the signing of Danny Stephens from Augusta, Illinois. This is the fourth member to join the Tigers next season in Columbia, MO.
Stephens is a 6-7 small forward who currently attends Southeastern High School in Augusta. Stephens brings raw athleticism, solid shooting and deceptively quick movements with the ball. His ability to knock defenders out of dribbling is sneakily good. There’s no hesitation in basketball.
As a junior, Stephens paced the Southeastern Suns, taking them to the Elite 8 of the Illinois State Championship. He finished the season averaging 28.1 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Stephens’ defensive skills will improve as he matures, but he still offered 1.4 blocks that matched 2.3 steals per contest. His reputation as a gamer and hard worker will bode well for the Missouri Tigers as head coach Dennis Gates looks to continue his rebranding as a tough, competitive team that never gives up. The culture that Gates wants to implement is why he was brought to Mizzou. Stephens fits perfectly into this Tigers team.
A big area of improvement for the Missouri Tigers basketball is batting
The Tigers shot 42% from the field in the 2021-22 season. To date, they convert 52% of their attempts from the field. Significant improvement year-on-year. Stephens hits a robust 60% on his field goal attempts and is a 92% shooter from the free throw line. His ability to shoot from a distance will earn him game time as he adapts to Gates’ system.
Dennis Gates had this to say about Danny Stephens:
“Danny is a prime example of a player who embodies our eight core values at Mizzou. He’s a winner on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. He’s a very experienced player for his size, capable of scoring in many ways and defending multiple positions. Our program gets better with the addition of Danny. He has Mizzou in his heart and we love players who want to be here and be part of something special.”
Key elements that stand out are Shot Danny Stephens’ shot selection and ball placement
Danny Stephens chases the basket and gets the paint when the opening is there, but he’s fully capable and ready to take outside shots if the defender gives him space.
Stephens rarely gets the ball under his chest, gets rid of it quickly in traffic – ball safety is guaranteed. His release is one of the faster you’ll see from a high school perimeter shooter.
This is the fourth recruit to sign with the University of Missouri for 2023. Dennis Gates has a game plan, and he’s executing it beautifully to make the Missouri Tigers’ basketball program relevant again. Gates has prioritized the recruitment pipeline. The Tigers continue to build for 2023 and beyond.
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