The Maneater

Courtney Ramey passes on Missouri, commits to Texas

Missouri was one of four schools in the coveted point guard's final cut, along with Texas, Louisville and Oklahoma State.

Four-star point guard Courtney Ramey warms up before a high school game in St. Louis his junior year. Ramey committed to Texas over Missouri and three other finalists.

Even as Cuonzo Martin and his Missouri men’s basketball team moved forward in their offseason recruiting exploits, they held out hope on one guy. Friday evening, they lost out on the waiting game that was the Courtney Ramey sweepstakes.

Ramey, formerly the top-ranked undeclared player in the class of 2018, has committed to Texas in a video posted on his Instagram account and on his father's Twitter page. He announced his choice to play college hoops for Texas coach Shaka Smart and the Longhorns over Missouri and three other finalists.

"This has been the toughest decision of my life," Ramey said in the video. "The school I choose is the school I feel most comfortable with the coaching staff, players and style. The school I choose is the University of Texas."

Ramey, a 6-foot-3 St. Louis product, is a four-star recruit and consensus top-60 overall prospect in the high school class of 2018. He finished No. 56 in ESPN’s final 2018 rankings and is ranked No. 40 overall by Rivals.com.

Ramey’s father, Terrell, told Louisville Sports Live on Wednesday that Ramey’s final four contenders were Louisville, Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma State. That was narrowed down from a list of 10 final candidates released on Ramey’s Instagram on April 5 that also included Illinois, Oregon, Ohio State, Minnesota, South Carolina and Southern Methodist.

He used two of his five allotted official visits this winter at Texas and Oklahoma State. He left the other three officials unused but made an unofficial visit to Missouri and was present at Mizzou Arena for the Tigers’ senior night win against Arkansas on March 3.

In what turned out to be the final full week of his recruitment, Ramey received in-home visits from Texas and Missouri last Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

He had an in-home visit scheduled with Louisville for that Wednesday, but it was canceled due to Ramey’s departure for Philadelphia to play in last weekend’s Allen Iverson Invitational. Instead, Ramey made a final, unofficial visit to Louisville on Tuesday.

Missouri was considered to have emerged as a frontrunner in the final weeks of Ramey’s recruitment when he cited an improved relationship with Martin. Martin attended three of Ramey’s final four high school games, including the championship game in what proved to be Ramey’s second-straight state title.

Smart was at Ramey’s state quarterfinal game in St. Louis on March 10. He was required by NCAA recruiting policies to decline comment when The Maneater asked about Ramey.

Ramey is also known to have a good relationship with class of 2018 signees Torrence Watson and Xavier Pinson. Pinson said in a phone interview on April 11 that he felt confident Ramey would choose Missouri.

“Me and Courtney have been really close friends since like the eighth grade or freshman year, because AAU,” Pinson said at the time. “I just feel like if he came, we could be a good backcourt together along with Torrence [Watson] and another few players. I feel like we have a strong chance of getting him because of his history and friendship with Torrence and me as well. I’m really excited about Courtney.”

Watson and recent Missouri commit Mark Smith have also played AAU ball with Ramey before. Watson said in a phone interview on April 19 that he hadn't talked with Ramey recently but was optimistic that Missouri could land the coveted recruit.

Texas and Missouri both reiterated offers to Ramey last October after he decommitted from Louisville, following former coach Rick Pitino’s termination amidst an FBI probe for college basketball corruption. Ramey had been pledged to Louisville for seven months.

After the recruitment was reopened, Martin rarely involved himself with the in-state prospect until February, when he suddenly became a frequent presence at Ramey’s high school games, which culminated in a Missouri Class Five state championship. Ramey later said Martin explained that he thought Ramey’s mind was almost made up about another school, prompting the lack of connection in the early stages.

Missouri landed a point guard earlier on Friday in Evansville transfer Dru Smith. The Tigers now have one scholarship left to give ahead of the 2018-19 season, assuming freshman Jontay Porter stays in the NBA draft. With Ramey off the table, Martin will avert holding out longer and be able to continue his recruitment of other targets such as Blake Hinson, a 6-foot-7 combo forward from Florida who reclassified to the class of 2018.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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