At Denis Gates‘ first day on the job, he was asked his top priority as a Missouri basketball coach.
“I have to re-recruit the roster, get to know them, they get to know me,” Gates said.
This work begins now. Senior Javon Pickett and freshman Trevon Brazil have been in the transfer portal since Tuesday afternoon. A school source confirmed the entry of both players but also said the paperwork usually takes a few days to process. This means that Brazile and Pickett started the transfer process before they met Gates and maybe even before they knew he would be the next coach.
Gates spoke to the team on Tuesday morning before meeting the media at noon in the practice gymnasium at Mizzou Arena.
“I just let them see who I was as a person, as a man, as a head coach here,” Gates said. “It’s sometimes territorial or even hard to watch because I’m, I’m a coach who comes from somewhere else. Right? We’re in transition. When young people go through a transition, you have to protect their hearts .
“I wanted them to ask me questions. I wanted these guys to be able to control the environment because too often as adults we don’t listen to young people in these traumatic stages. Trauma for everyone world. We have to pay attention to it. We have to listen.
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Pickett played four years at Missouri and participated in Senior Day ceremonies before Missouri’s final regular season game. However, since the 2020-21 season didn’t count towards anyone’s eligibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Pickett still has one year of eligibility if he chooses to use it. When last asked if he would play a fifth year, Pickett said he was undecided and hadn’t given it much thought.
Entering the portal wouldn’t necessarily mean that Pickett had decided to use the fifth grade, but it does give him the opportunity to hear other programs and decide to use that year, whether in Missouri or elsewhere. Pickett led Missouri in minutes and averaged 11.1 career points per game this season.
Brazile missed Missouri’s first eight games after dealing with an undisclosed health issue before the start of the regular season. He played the last 25 games of his first season, starting 23 of them. He averaged 6.6 points and 5.1 rebounds and led the Tigers with 48 blocked shots, nearly two per game. That number ranked third in the SEC behind Auburn’s. Walker Kesler and Florida Colin Castleton.
Anton Brookshire, a Springfield product and freshman like Brazile, entered the portal last week. First-year student Sean Durugordon entered mid-season. Additionally, signee Aidan Shaw has been released from his Letter of Intent and will explore his options.
Pickett, Brazile and Shaw are all candidates to return to Mizzou, but their new head coach will need to begin recruiting efforts immediately.