Linas Kleiza, the 6-8, 245 pound big forward who has spent the last two seasons at Montrose Christian Academy in the Washington, DC suburbs, did choose a college in the last week of the month as he indicated following his outstanding performance at the Jordan Capital Classic. Except it was the final week of May rather than April when the University of Missouri got the good news that Washington, DC's Player of the Year will be joining the Tigers this upcoming season. The Big 12 school announced yesterday that he had signed with the program.
Kleiza picked Missouri over Florida State and North Carolina. Connecticut, NC State, Virginia and St. John's also were among the final applicants for his services.
To say he had a good year is an understatement. Montrose Christian, coached by famed prep coach Stu Vetter, was the Washington Post's number one team and USA Today's number 9 prep program this season with a 20-1 record. And Kleiza was the paper's Player of the Year after averaging 20.5 points and 12.2 rebounds.
Head coach Quin Snyder: "Linas is an outstanding player who we think will make an immediate impact for us. He possesses a great work ethic and will provide great size and strength in the paint as a relentless rebounder and talented scorer. Linas is a quality young man that comes from a great program at Montrose under head coach Stu Vetter. Linas comes from a great family and we are glad to welcome him to the Mizzou basketball family."
Jon Kirby of our affiliate PowerMizzou.com interviewed Kleiza yesterday. For his report, please click here.
Kleiza, RivalsHoops.com's No. 23 player in the Class of 2003, completes the college decisions of our top 100 guys, with the exception of three players whose names are in next month's NBA draft, LeBron James, Charlie Villanueva and James Lang.