Jakeenan Gant becomes fourth Missouri basketball transfer from last year’s roster

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gant is interested in Georgia, Georgia Tech and Clemson.
Missouri Tiger forward Jakeenan Gant (23) goes up for a layup during the basketball game against Mississippi State on Jan 30 in Mizzou Arena.

Not one player remains from Missouri basketball’s 20th-ranked recruiting class in 2014 after Thursday’s announcement that Jakeenan Gant was transferring from the program.

The 6-foot-8, former 53rd-ranked player in the nation according to ESPN.com from Springfield, Georgia, announced his plans to return closer to home in wake of an undisclosed medical condition his mother recently developed. He is the fourth player to transfer from last year’s roster and the fifth from that vaunted recruiting class that former Missouri coach Frank Haith put together.

“Shortly after the season, Jakeenan and I sat down to discuss his future with Missouri Basketball,” coach Kim Anderson said in a statement from Mizzou athletics. “At that time and several other times, he confirmed his commitment to our program. In the past few weeks, his mother has developed a medical condition that necessitates his return closer to home to continue his educational and athletic pursuits.”

Simply put, Gant’s career with Missouri didn’t go as planned — both on and off the court. In 2014, he was suspended in connection on suspicion of third-degree assault. Then, in February of 2016, Gant and Missouri forward Russell Woods were suspended after being cited for possession of drug paraphernalia.

Gant also got caught up in NCAA violations prior to his freshman year. Before ever taking the floor in black and gold, Gant was suspended for nine games for accepting benefits from a booster.

In basketball terms, Gant’s Mizzou career didn’t play out much better. Gant struggled last season averaging a mere 15.6 minutes per game last year, 5.1 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game.

This transfer leaves Missouri thin up front and in the post. As the current roster stands, Mizzou’s tallest returning player in the 2016–17 season will be 6-foot-8 senior Russell Woods.

“My time at Mizzou has been great and Coach Anderson and his staff really helped me develop as a player and person these past two seasons,” Gant said in the release. “I’ll miss Columbia, but feel the need to make a move with my family and mother in mind. I want nothing but the best for Mizzou in the future and appreciate the friendships I’ve made in my time here.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported earlier that Gant is interested in Georgia, Georgia Tech and Clemson.

And though this does open up another scholarship for Missouri — it now has two available for this 2016 class — this hit Anderson hard.

“While disappointed, we certainly support his decision,” Anderson said. “Jakeenan has been a joy to coach these past two years and all of us, coaches, teammates and staff wish him the best. We will do all we can to help in his transition.”

Edited by Katherine Knott | kknott@themaneater.com

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