What Mizzou basketball can do with its 2 scholarships as Amari Davis transfers out

Missouri guard Amari Davis squares up to shoot a free throw during the Tigers' loss to UMKC at Mizzou Arena.
Missouri guard Amari Davis squares up to shoot a free throw during the Tigers' loss to UMKC at Mizzou Arena.
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Dennis Gates will have almost an entirely new Missouri men’s basketball roster next season.

Amari Davis, one of the key reserves for Missouri last season, entered the transfer portal Monday. Davis averaged nine points per game for the Tigers last season.

Davis' departure leaves two open scholarships for Gates to use on next season’s roster.

Davis was one of the many newcomers in Cuonzo Martin’s final season. He came to Columbia from Green Bay and formerly was the Horizon League’s freshman of the year.

Davis’ best game came against Mississippi on the road, where he went 10-for-10 from the field and scored 23 points.

More: Who Mizzou basketball is recruiting, losing and keeping so far in the 2022 offseason

The three players remaining in Columbia from last year’s roster are Ronnie DeGray, Kobe Brown and Kaleb Brown.

With the open scholarships, Gates has the luxury of finding a post defender to help replace Yaya Keita, who entered the portal last week. Keita brought an athletic presence to the defense before missing the back end of the season with a knee injury that required surgery.

One of the open spots could also go toward recruiting a shooter, which Gates was reportedly courting. MU was a finalist for The Citadel’s Jason Roche, who made over 100 3-pointers last season. Roche recently committed to Richmond.

Gates has already remade the guard rotation with the additions of junior-college transfer Sean East and Clemson transfer Nick Honor.

One potential addition for Missouri's future could be Keyshawn Hall, a 6-foot-7, 235-pound forward from Atlanta. Hall, a three-star prospect, has listed Missouri in his list of final four schools.

Rivals.com has forecast that Hall will pick Arizona State, one of his other four finalists, but Missouri is still looming as a finalist.

Another option coming to light is Blair Oaks star Luke Northweather, who is reportedly visiting Missouri this week, according to Rivals.

Northweather would symbolize more than just a young addition to the team; it would mean Missouri is actively expanding its recruiting efforts to make sure it's plucking great players from its own backyard.

Blair Oaks' Luke Northweather (45) blocks the layup of Tolton's James Lee (1) during the Falcons' win over the Trailblazers on Monday.
Blair Oaks' Luke Northweather (45) blocks the layup of Tolton's James Lee (1) during the Falcons' win over the Trailblazers on Monday.

Northweather doesn't have an offer from Missouri, but that could change. It's easy to see why Gates would take a liking to him.

He averaged 29.2 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this past season, which earned him Missouri's Gatorade Player of the Year honors. He set school records for career points, points in a season and points in a game.

That school record for points in a game was a 51-point outburst in a win over Eldon.

The way Missouri's roster is constructed would allow for Northweather to sit for a season to learn Gates' system, get stronger and adjust to the college game.

However, that would mean the other open scholarship would need to be a player that can contribute immediately. That would likely be through the transfer portal.

There are over 1,465 names in the transfer portal.

With two open spots, Gates and his fully formed staff can now flex their recruiting skills. That will be key as the May 1 deadline to enter the portal approaches. Any entrants after May 1 would need to work with the NCAA to gain eligibility for the 2022-23 season.

Chris Kwiecinski is the sports editor for the Columbia Daily Tribune, overseeing University of Missouri and Boone County sports coverage. Follow him on Twitter @OchoK_ and contact him at CKwiecinsk@gannett.com or 573-815-1857.

This article originally appeared on Columbia Daily Tribune: Amari Davis enters transfer portal, opens 2 scholarships for Mizzou