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Mizzou lands DeSmet’s Keita, fifth 2021 commit

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri head men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin stands for the national anthem before a game Nov. 9, 2018, at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

The recent string of success for Missouri men’s basketball recruiting its Class of 2021 continued Wednesday night with the addition of DeSmet forward Yaya Keita.

The three-star, 6-foot-9 Keita committed to the Tigers via social media to become the fifth member of the 2021 class.

Keita had long been a priority target for Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin, as Keita is an in-state product who fills the Tigers’ frontcourt needs with the graduation of Reed Nikko and the final seasons of Jeremiah Tilmon and Mitchell Smith upcoming.

Keita chose Missouri over programs such as Iowa, Tulsa, Missouri State and Saint Louis. He’s rated as the fifth-best player in the state of Missouri in the 2021 class by the 247Sports composite.

Nationally, the composite ranks Keita as the No. 25 center in his class and the No. 169 prospect in the nation.

Missouri’s only 2021 commit rated higher than Keita is Kickapoo guard Anton Brookshire, the No. 4 prospect in the state.

Brookshire, who committed to Missouri in May, was the Tigers’ only pledge three weeks ago. On Aug. 25, Huntsville, Alabama, native Kaleb Brown, younger brother of Missouri forward Kobe Brown, committed to Missouri. A day later, small forward Sean Durugordon also pledged his talents to the Tigers.

That trend continued this week as Brookshire’s Kickapoo teammate Trevon Brazile committed to Missouri on Tuesday, only to be followed by Keita on Wednesday.

Keita’s commitment lifts Missouri into the top 30 of national recruiting rankings for the 2021 class.

The 247Sports composite has the Tigers ranked No. 26 in the nation and fourth in the Southeastern Conference, trailing only LSU, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Missouri is tied for the most Class of 2021 commits in Division I, alongside Florida State.

The Tigers will have at least six open scholarship spots for the 2021-22 season, with five players on the team currently in their final year of eligibility and one unfilled spot this season.

eblum@columbiatribune.com