Saint Louis and Mizzou men's basketball coaches Travis Ford and Cuonzo Martin.

(USA TODAY Sports images)

Check Out the Newest SLU, Mizzou Basketball Signees

November 15, 2018 - 8:50 am

Wednesday was the first day of the National Early Signing Period for high school athletes across the country. It's become one of the most popular days of the year for boys and girls basketball players to sign their letters of intent. 

The University of Missouri and Saint Louis University were the big winners, in terms of securing some of this year's top talent from the greater St. Louis area.


Mario McKinney, the Vashon High School guard we've previously told you about, followed through on his previous verbal commitment and is one of two, four-star players headed to Mizzou.

McKinney was tabbed the No. 1 player in the state of Missouri's class of 2019 by both ESPN and 247Sports. A four-star recruit ranked No. 19 nationally at the point guard position and No. 125 overall, McKinney was a 2018 Class 4 all-state honoree and the Public High League's player of the year.

The other signee, it Tray Jackson – a 6-foot-8 four-star power forward out of Detroit, Mich. ranked No. 56 in ESPN's 2019 Top 100. The Detroit native averaged 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds for the Meanstreets on the Nike EYBL circuit. He shot 38.7 percent from beyond the arc and poured in 218 points in 16 games. At the 2018 Peach Jam, Jackson chipped in 12.2 points per game over five contests and shot 73.1 percent from the free throw line.

On the women's side, the Tigers also got one of the best girls high school basketball players in the country, Aijha Blackwell.

Blackwell, from Whitfield School in Berkeley, Mo., who was recruited by just about every Division-I program in the country, is ranked No. 8 in the nation and No. 1 in the state of Missouri in espnW's 2019 HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings. She is a three-time Missouri Basketball Coaches Association (MBCA) Class 3 All-State selection (2016-18), and a USA Today first team Missouri selection in 2018. As a junior, Blackwell led Whitfield to the Class 3A state semifinals and a 22-7 record, as she averaged 24.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Entering her senior season, Blackwell is one of 50 high school seniors named to the watch list for the 2019 Naismith High School Trophy.

Yuri Collins, a guard out of St. Mary's High School is the No. 6 recruit in Missouri: 

Terrence Hargrove Jr. of East St. Louis High School is the No. 9 recruit in Illionis: