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May 22, 2011
Earlier this week, Belleville (IL) prospect Malcolm Hill grabbed headlines when he left his visit to Missouri with his first scholarship offer. However, Hill wasn't the only player from Illinois to make the visit. He was accompanied by 2014 prospects Darius Austin, Raymond Doby, Darreon Reddick, and C.J. Rivers.
The four high school freshmen all play together for the Southwest Illinois Jets AAU team and all enjoyed their visit.
"That was the best campuses I've been on, clearly," Reddick, a 6-foot-3 guard who has visited Southern Illinois and St. Louis University, said. "I really like the coaching staff."
While the players were only in Columbia for a few hours, they fit a lot into their time at Mizzou. After meeting the entire coaching staff, they were treated to a tour of Mizzou Arena including the practice gym and weight room.
"It was really cool to see [Mizzou Arena] in person," Rivers, a 6-foot-2 point guard, said. "I had only seen it on TV before."
After discussing Missouri's strength training program with strength coach Todor Pandov, the players went to Frank Haith's office to watch highlights of last season's Tiger team. That was followed with a tour of campus. However, it was the relationships the players were able to build with the coaching staff that stood out the most to 6-foot-6 combo guard Darius Austin.
"I really liked the whole visit," Austin said. "The most impressive thing was building relationships with the coaches. When they were taking us around campus I really liked them. I had never built a relationship with any coaches like this before."
On a scale of 1-10, Austin rated his Mizzou visit, "a ten." He hopes to commit to a school within a year and says that right now, Missouri is in the driver's seat.
"Mizzou's on top right now," Austin said. "It's Mizzou, then Illinois."
6-foot-7 forward Raymond Doby echoed those thoughts.
"I've been to other schools but this was the best I have seen so far," Doby said. "The whole thing was just really nice."
While each player is still looking for his first scholarship offer, Austin posted on Twitter he believes a Mizzou offer could come "very soon."
Until then, each prospect will continue to work on his game while playing together for their AAU team. As for playing together in college, Rivers said they're open to the idea, but added, "We haven't really talked about that much."
Each player will be back in Columbia in just a few weeks. All four, along with Hill, plan to attend Missouri's Elite Camp in June.
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