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Columbia Missourian

Missouri basketball teams sign new recruits

By Justin Yang
November 14, 2012 | 8:12 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — One is a versatile forward with a strong sense of leadership. Another forward has a college-ready body, and there is also an ultra-competitive point guard.

That's how Missouri men's basketball's coach Frank Haith described his newest players.

Johnathan Williams III, Torren Jones and Wes Clark all signed with the Tigers on Wednesday afternoon. ESPN ranked the signing class 20th in the nation.

Williams is a 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward from Memphis, Tenn. He was ranked in the top 30s nationally by various groups. Haith, who calls Williams, "J3", says his skills are comparable to current senior forward Laurence Bowers.

"I think he's a very good passer," Haith said. "He's long, he's lanky. He's a good shooter but will be a better shooter down the road with range. He plays extremely hard and is athletic."

Haith also praised Williams off-court abilities.

"He comes from a tremendous family and has a great sense of what it takes to be a leader on the court, in the classroom and amongst his teammates," Haith said.

Jones at 6-foot-8 is another big man. Haith said the Chandler, Ariz., native reminded him of former Missouri forward Ricardo Ratliffe because of his high energy and physicality. Jones played for Basha High School in Arizona but  transferred to La Lumiere School in La Porte, Ind., over the summer, according to bleacherreport.com.

"He's quick off the floor, very bouncy, very athletic," Haith said. "Great body already, a very physical kid already."

Clark, a six-foot point guard out of Romulus, Mich., was touted by Haith for his aggressive and spirited characteristics.

"He's always in attack mode," Haith said. "He's a guy who's been around winning a lot so that was very important for me, too."

Clark also brings ball distribution talent for seasons to come, Haith said.

Tigers freshman forward Stefan Jankovic said he's most excited about the competition the new class brings.

"I want guys to come in that are good," Jankovic said. "You can push each other because we all have competitive natures."

Haith said he hopes the new class' play next season will reflect their ranking.

"Some say this class is top 20," Haith said. "But that will be determined over the next couple of years on how those guys play here at Mizzou."

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL RECRUITS

The Missouri women's basketball team signed three new recruits Wednesday.

Kayla McDowell, a 6-foot-2 forward, comes to Missouri from Cincinnati, where she averaged 13.7 points per game and 7.9 rebounds per game at Mason High School.

Jordan Frericks, a 6-foot-1 forward from Quincy, Ill., has helped her team at Quincy-Notre Dame High School to two straight Illinois Class 2A State Championship titles.

Sierra Michaelis, a 5-foot-10 guard from Mercer, was named to the statewide first-team by Missouri coaches in the 2011-12 season.