This sign represented the fight for Tony Mitchell during College GameDay in October. Now, Mitchell is just the latest entry in Mizzou's history of "What If" candidates. Photo: KBIA Sports Extra
With one ruling, the five-star recruit's legacy changed from "in progress" to "complete."
The Legend ofhad written itself way too easily. Now it appears the legend has come to its conclusion with the majority of its chapters still unwritten.
But in the murky depths of the disappointment that followed the seemingly inevitable announcement that Tony Mitchell would not qualify to play at Missouri was this contradictory gem of information: The Legend of Tony Mitchell will never be greater than it is right now, and somewhat more notably, it will never be tarnished.
Just like romanticizing "the one that got away," Mitchell is now preserved in posterity. Rather than exposing his legacy to the peaks and valleys of a college basketball career, his meaning to Mizzou is frozen in time -- The One That Could Have Been.
Just like any other fan base, Mizzou fans fall under these incredibly generic and normal descriptions:
- By and large, they're extremely supportive of their student athletes
- They have high expectations, particularly for hotly-recruited, elite talent
- Though largely positive, failing to meet expectations even in the slightest introduces a small aura of negativity that slowly erodes the incoming sense of invincibility
It's not unlike the now-closed career of Blaine Gabbert as Mizzou's quarterback. By all accounts, he was the golden boy. The statuesque figure with a cannon for an arm and five stars under photos was the face of the future, but somewhere in the process of guiding Mizzou to nine wins a season over two years, very good results fell short of astronomical expectations. Heavy is the head that wears a crown with five stars.
But The Legend of Tony Mitchell will never have its adversity-soaked duel with the demons of expectation. So though Mizzou fans can break out their best Dylan heartbreak album and dream of what might have been, The Legend of Tony Mitchell will settle itself into posterity where it will forever remain untouched, and sadly, unchallenged.