The nation's sixth-ranked team will start conference play Tuesday night with just seven scholarship players on its roster.
Missouri announced Tuesday that reserve forward Kadeem Green intends to transfer, a decision that leaves the already thin Tigers even more shorthanded in the frontcourt. As a result of Green's departure and Laurence Bowers' season-ending ACL tear, 6-foot-8 Ricardo Ratliffe and 6-foot-9 Steve Moore are the lone scholarship players on Missouri's roster taller than 6-foot-6.
"We obviously wish Kadeem nothing but the best as he moves forward with this decision," Missouri coach Frank Haith said in a statement. "Kadeem made great strides during his time at Mizzou, and we are sad to see him leave the program. This is a decision that did not come easily for Kadeem — he has made a lot of friends and he has really enjoyed his time here at Mizzou."
What Green's transfer really means to Missouri is that the Tigers can ill afford either injury or foul trouble — especially in the frontcourt. The 6-foot-8 freshman averaged 3.0 points and 3.1 rebounds and did not get off the bench in victories over Illinois and Villanova last month, but he represented an insurance policy in case either Ratliffe or Moore tweaked an ankle or picked up two quick fouls.
Missouri is currently only playing one big man at a time with 6-foot-6 Kim English sliding to power forward, but the lone options behind Ratliffe and Moore are seldom-used walk-ons. Andrew Jones is a converted tight end who joined the team in December and Andy Rosburg is a St. Louis product yet to log more than four minutes in a game this year.
The decision Green made to transfer was clearly based on playing time. The Toronto native signed with former coach Mike Anderson and wasn't certain to see his role increase even next season with Bowers returning and junior college forward Tony Criswell and high school prospects Stefan Jankovic and Ryan Rosburg all set to arrive.