Travis Ford and the Saint Louis Billikens have their first 2020 commit as 6’6″ wing Markhi Strickland announced his commitment to Team Blue last night.
Strickland, hailing from Miami, Florida, is an elite athlete who burst onto the scene during the AAU circuit this summer. He currently is a low 3 star recruit, but was garnering significant interest from SEC teams such as Arkansas and Mississippi State before committing to SLU. With good size and great athleticism, Strickland is a good fit for the Billikens’ desire to play faster and his length should help him develop into a stout defender at the college level.
Strickland’s commitment follows his attendance at SLU’s Billiken Madness this past weekend, continuing Travis Ford’s trend of securing recruits immediately after they visit campus. Strickland also has the potential to be a hidden gem. Strickland played last year on the IMG Academy Blue squad, so he did not have the same amount of eyes on him as the members of IMG’s national team. New assistant coach Ford Stuen went to IMG Academy and his connections there likely played a role in identifying and bringing in Strickland. Despite his lower profile, Strickland has a strong basketball pedigree; he is the son of former NBA player Mark Strickland.
Interestingly, prior to Strickland, the first commit of each of Travis Ford’s recruiting classes at SLU has been a St. Louis area native. Strickland will join a stable of wings that includes junior Javonte Perkins, freshmen Terrence Hargrove Jr. and Gibson Jimerson, and sophomore Fred Thatch Jr. SLU now has one scholarship left in the 2020 class, though with turnover in college basketball being what it is, I’d be very surprised if there are only two newcomers next year. Strickland gives Ford another long and exciting wing for 2020, and he should fit right in with SLU’s style.