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Former Missouri commitment chooses Tennessee

Monday, May 5, 2014 | 5:13 p.m. CDT; updated 6:20 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 5, 2014

COLUMBIA — One day after locking up small forward D'Angelo Allen, the Missouri basketball program lost out on the chance to add former State Fair Community College guard Kevin Punter to the class of 2014. 

Punter, who verbally committed to Missouri last month, announced his intentions via Twitter to play for Southeastern Conference rival Tennessee on Monday morning.

"I Am Officially The Newest Member of the Tennessee Vols!!," Punter wrote. "I Will Be Spending My Next Two Years In The City Of Knoxville."

Punter, who averaged more than 20 points per game last season, could not be reached for direct comment.

The 6-foot-4 shooting guard signed a national letter of intent Monday after a weekend visit to Knoxville, Tenn., to tour the campus and speak with recently-hired Volunteers coach Donnie Tyndall, State Fair coach Kevin Thomas confirmed.

"I think Coach Tyndall sold him on his role with the program," Thomas said. "He can come in and play right away. He can score and be a solid contributor right off the bat."

While Missouri will miss out on an immediate rotation player, the Tigers did officially announce the first signing of the Kim Anderson era on Monday. Allen, a three-star recruit from Dallas, could earn playing time right away on a thin Tigers roster.

Allen chose Missouri over Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Georgetown and Marquette after a senior year in which he helped Dallas Kimball to a 4A State Championship.

Missouri assistant coach Tim Fuller appears to have been crucial in the signing.

"I think he played a big role because of the familiarity he had with D'Angelo," Allen's AAU coach Erven Davis said Sunday. "Coach Fuller had been recruiting him for a while. He just felt very comfortable with him."

Fuller is a holdover from Frank Haith's staff, and his presence could give the Tigers a shot at retaining four-star shooting guard Namon Wright.Wright, from California, signed Missouri but asked for a release after Haith's departure. His high school coach said Sunday that Missouri is still very much a possibility for Wright.

The Tigers couldn't hold onto Punter, though. He decommitted from Missouri on April 28.

Anderson now has two open scholarships — three if you count Wright as gone. Allen and 6-foot-8 power forward JaKeenan Gant are the lone 2014 commits.

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.


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