Chat Mizzou sports with Dave Matter at 11 a.m. Thursday

Chat Mizzou sports with Dave Matter at 11 a.m. Thursday

Bring your Tigers football, basketball and recruiting questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday.

    Greetings, Mizzou chatters. Happy Opening Day for the Cardinals fans here in the chat. Happy Masters Week for the golf fans. Hopefully you'll find some time to talk Mizzou with me for the next couple hours.
    Good morning Dave,
    With two remaining openings on the BB team at hand, what is CM's focus? Any new names we have the inside track on? I know the issue is addressed daily, but this is a fluid situation with players coming-and-going by the hour. Talk to me.
    Missouri would like a forward, not necessarily a 6-10 Tilmon clone because those are about impossible to find in the portal. If they can find a big who's between 6-7 and 6-10 who can rebound, defend the post, protect the rim and play as a traditional center or a more modern small-ball five, then that would work for this roster. 
    Here's a new name that could fit that mold.
    He's a really good rebounder and efficient scorer. 
    Mizzou also continues to recruit Tamar Bates, the four-star guard who had signed with Texas but has since asked out of his letter of intent. His recruiting process has been very quiet. If they're willing to take Bates, I suspect they'd shop for another combo guard if he indeed picks another school. 
    What are your thoughts on how CM’s roster is coming together for next season? With all the transfers and the freshman you think we might sneak into the tournament again?
    I think it's impossible to project right now because we have no idea how the rest of the SEC is going to look. Just about every team in the league is having a major facelift this offseason. Anyone on April 8 trying to project how the conference race  will unfold by next March is fooling you. The more I watch clips of the transfers Mizzou has added the more I think this team can compete right away. Boogie Coleman is really intriguing as a point guard/comb guard. He's not super athletic or quick, but he's rangy, can get to the paint and shoot from outside coming off screens or off the dribble. He's got some flair to his game that I think fans will enjoy. This group will have to mesh well. They'll have to replace production of two All-SEC players (Dru Smith, Tilmon) and another who on some nights played like an All-SEC player (Pinson).
    Good Morning Dave - Not that Mizzou is now "Quarterback U", but it's very encouraging to have three quarterbacks on the team that were highly recruited and have real potential to be successful at the college level. I am looking forward to Bazelak second season as a starter and two back-ups competing for playing time. With that said, how does Drinkwitz keep the momentum going with recruits seeing Mizzou as a destination for premier quarterbacks? I don't want to get too far ahead of myself with it only being Drinkwitz's second season, but this is exciting to watch. Thank You
    Mizzou has two QBs who had a handful of Power 5 offers but not three. Maybe Brady Cook would have generated more Power 5 interest had he not committed to Mizzou so early in high school, but I wouldn't put him in the same category as Bazelak or Macon - and certainly not Sam Horn - in terms of recruiting hype. 
    As long as the guys at that position develop into productive players and win games you can build a strong line of succession at quarterback. That's what Gary Pinkel did and did it as well as any coach in Mizzou history and as well as just about any coach in the country over a 15-year span. It won't hurt if Drinkwitz's QBs go on to have NFL success, but that's not mandatory to have recruiting success at this level. Build a fun, exciting offense that's prolific and produces great players and recruits will want to play here. 
    Dave - I am confused about how the whole transfer portal works - mostly for football. Do players not have to wait a year before they are eligible to play for their new school? Are the new transfer rules because of COVID and will it go back to the way it was? Thank You
    The NCAA is expected to allow a one-time transfer waiver allowing football and basketball players to play immediately at a second school. The rule will eliminate the requirement that they sit out a full season before becoming eligible to play. That rule change was in the process of happening before COVID and will become a permanent change, not just a one-year policy. Mizzou expects Mookie Cooper to be eligible to play in 2021 even though he was at Ohio State last season. But the rule has to be formally passed first.
    Under the current rules, players can transfer and play immediately in all sports except for baseball, basketball, football and men’s hockey. The proposed change will allow players in those sports to play right away at their second school - however they can't play for two schools in the same season. 
    Now, if you transfer within the same conference, some conferences have rules that require athletes to sit out a certain number of years, but conferences have started to eliminate those sit-out years. 
    Dave - We may still not know how good the defensive line will be this year until the season starts, but do you have any indication of how things stand coming out of spring camp? Thank You
    It's mostly all the same players with a couple additions in junior college transfers Daniel Robledo and Realus George Jr. I'd expect both of those guys to play based on the snaps they got during live drills in the spring. The D-line could be a strength for Mizzou, at least in terms of depth. There's no reason a D-lineman should be tired by the fourth quarter because there's going to be plenty of bodies to rotate in and off the field. They're also shifting to a one-gap, four-down linemen scheme that should help with some of the run fits and create fewer busted gaps.
    Dave - I was a little surprised to see Dave Yost was let go at Texas Tech after one bad season - but that's the nature of college football. Has he taken a new job? Thank You
    I don't know all the details as to what happened in Lubbock this year, but seems like Yost was the fall guy for their offensive struggles - even though the team runs head coach Matt Wells' offense. He hasn't landed another job to my knowledge. You'd think someone would take him on as a quarterback coach, but sometimes buyout money allows these coaches the luxury of time when picking their next job. 
    When Yost first left Mizzou's staff his initial plan was to take a lower-level NFL job, a behind-the-scenes analyst role studying film. He was content with disappearing from the high-profile college jobs ... but ended up joining Mike Leach's staff at Washington State when he got a good offer. He's one of the most interesting coaches I've ever covered in more than 20 years of doing this job.
    Dave: I'm a little worried about the 3-point shooting on the roster for next year. It seems like only one of the transfers thus far has good 3-point numbers (the one that really jumped up from one year to the next--can't remember his name). Knowing what you do about the incoming frosh and the transfers and the few that return, what does the shooting look like to you?
    I think it's a valid concern. Boogie Coleman shot about 43% this year at Ball State. That's really good. Even if that percentage slips some against high-major competition, he's a proven shooter. Amari Davis came to college without a 3-point shot in his arsenal but made major strides this past season. If everything I've heard about him is true in terms of his work ethic, he'll have a serviceable shot by the time the season rolls around. DaJuan Gordon is not an outside shooter. That won't be his role. 
    As for the freshmen, Anton Brookshire shot 40% this season for state champion Kickapoo. Again, that might not translate to a 40% season at this level but he can clearly shoot the ball. Sean Durugordon was a good outside shooter as well. 
    Missouri is only losing one consistently proficient 3-point shooter from last year's team, Dru Smith. Mark Smith and Xavier Pinson certainly had the ability to make 3s but they were both very inconsistent. In three years at Mizzou, Smith shot 37.5%, which is a solid overall average but it went down each season and bottomed out at 31.5% this year. Pinson was a career 33% shooter from 3.
    A question about both mens's BB and football. Who are the biggest overachievers since you've been on the beat? The guys who just came out of nowhere and competed at a level that you never thought they'd reach when they arrived on campus. And conversely, who are the biggest disappointments...Thanks
    Overachievers ... In football, I'd probably go with Tommy Saunders, who didn't have ideal size or speed at receiver but did everything else and finished his career top 10 in all-time receptions. I'll give Ish Witter a nod, too. When he first got to Mizzou I never would have imagined he'd become a 1,000-yard rusher, but he continued to surprise year after year. 
    In basketball, Jordan Geist. He might be Martin's favorite player in four years at Mizzou. Tough as hell, relentless defender and built himself into a competent shooter and very productive scorer. 
    Underachievers ... Well, Dorial Green-Beckham comes to mind first, but he had a lot of personal issues that seemed to keep him from ever living up to his athletic potential. 
    In basketball, I thought Jakeenan Gant had the tools to make him a productive SEC player, but it took him a while to figure out who he was on the floor. To his credit he had a couple really good years at Lafayette after leaving Mizzou.
  • Before this season, much was made of the experience that returning Tiger BB players had and how that would foreshadow good results for the season just ended. It looks to me that 75%+ of the 2020-21 season are leaving which may mean a .500 or below season for next season. The 5 incoming freshman recruits are all 3 stars and probably have an adjustment period before they can make meaningful contributions. Parker Braun is the one fransfer out that I wish were staying, but if HCCM keeps him on the bench, I don’t blame him for leaving. Are the transfers in and out eligible to play next season or do they have to sit out a year?
    Once the NCAA officially passes the new rule allowing one-time transfers to play immediately in basketball, football, baseball and men's hockey then, yes, all the Mizzou transfers will be cleared to play right away.
    Arizona fired Sean Miller yesterday presumably for the multiple level 1 allegations. I thought Kansas also had multiple level allegations, yet they gave Bill Self a lifetime contract by adding an additional year to his contract at the end of each season. I know Kansas is one of the top 5 BB programs in the country, but I can’t figure out why on school fires their coach, while the other school gives their coach, who I assume committed similar violations, a lifetime contribution. What is going on here?
    I don't think it's all that complicated? Kansas cares about winning and that's all. Self continues to win games in Lawrence - though not at the same rate he had been for years - while Miller's team had slipped out of contention in the Pac-12 the last few seasons. Arizona was 29-27 in the Pac-12 the last three years; Kansas was 41-13 in the Big 12 over the same three seasons. It's much easier to part ways with a cheater who's no longer winning. Harder to do with a national championship coach whose program is still a championship contender. 
    The most despicable part of the entire KU-NCAA saga is the lawsuit KU filed against former Adidas executive Jim Gatto for defrauding the KU athletes he was paying to play for KU. 
    Anybody on the PD first team all metro team under consideration for the 2 open slots left on Cuonzo’s squad for next year?
    Not that I know of. On the first team, two are just juniors. Of the three seniors, Nick Kern signed with VCU. I don't believe the other two have chosen a school or are considered high-major recruits. The only second-team player who signed with anyone is Keshon Gilbert, who's going to UNLV.
    Brandon McKissic to Florida? Not another area player ch coosing an out of state program? Is the Tiger BB program that unattractive that Coach Martin can’t the borders? I hope Eli has better luck sealing the borders and getting them to come to COMO.
    Sealing the borders isn't a big deal in basketball at Mizzou or any other school because it's a national sport. Coaches recruit players from coast to coast via the AAU circuit. They can go to two or three AAU events every summer and see players up close from all corners of the country. You're more limited geographically in football - also more limited by time because you have to sign 25 guys, not five.
    Sure, it's nice if you can land an area player, but not all area players are necessarily looking to stay close to home. Kim English didn't want to stay close to home. Neither did Laurence Bowers or Jordan Clarkson or Jabari Brown or Doug Smith or ... you get it. Sign good players regardless where they're from.
    Dave, I've always been a fan of Coach Pingeton. Following Sophie C's departure, I expected them to continue to improve and become a NCAA Tournament regular. But this year I find myself concerned for the first time. The team consistently failed to perform in the 4th quarter, which indicates to me a coaching problem. You have any feel for Coach P turning things around next year.
    What part of her coaching did you not like? It's always easy to diagnose player problems. This guy turned it over too much. This player can't shoot free throws. This one is a terrible on-ball defender. But when I hear folks criticize coaches, which, don't get me wrong, sometimes is fair and warranted, my next question is always: What about his/her coaching did you not like? 
    Was Pingeton a better coach when she had the best player in team history than she is now? Or is she still the same caliber of coach but just doesn't have a generational player? 
    Ultimately that's the question Jim Sterk has to ask when he evaluates the situation next year or the year after or whenever. She's definitely recruited some talent. She's brought in some productive offensive players. Mizzou was one of the nation's best shooting teams all season. But they don't defend particularly well, they turn it over a lot and seem to struggle against teams with size. This is a pivotal year coming up for Pingeton. I'm not saying she's on the hot seat, but another losing season will make it harder t recruit for the future and only digs the hole deeper. 
    No free passes around here, but two things to keep in mind:
    1. COVID severely threw off this team. It had several new parts and they weren't able to mesh during the offseason ... then had a long COVID disruption with several positives on the team. They never really recovered from that.
    2. They seemed to play their best against the best teams in the league. They just don't know how to finish. Knowing how to win games and manage the decisive moments late in the game is a learned skill. This team needs work in that area. 
    Dave, I sense that a strong, say, 8 or 9 win season this fall would put the football program on a fast track for division top 3 standing. Drinkwitz seems like an example of a young, aggressive HC whose program won’t require more than 1solid Full season to get established. Your impression?
    Maybe this is breaking news, but Missouri has already finished third in the SEC East under Drinkwitz. It happened last season.
    Now the question is can Mizzou build on some of that success last year and fare better against a normal 12-game/8-SEC game schedule? I think so. For one, I don't see any serious challengers behind Mizzou. Vandy, Tennessee and South Carolina are all working under first-year head coaches. Kentucky took a step backward last season - but shouldn't be counted out as long as Mark Stoops is still in charge.
    Mizzou has some key pieces on offense and an established quarterback to build around. I'm bullish on the new defensive staff and some of the scheme changes Steve Wilks has made.
    Here's where I'd advise Mizzou fans to be careful: Four of Mizzou's wins last year were by 10 points or less ... while the losses were by margins of 19, 19, 23, 24 and 35. The Tigers were a lot closer to 2-8 than 8-2. The losses weren't competitive in the second half. Four of the five wins were competitive late into the fourth quarter. For the season MU was outscored by eight touchdowns ... even though it finished 5-5. Did the Tigers turn the corner as a program last year? Perhaps - but their still a long way off from moving into the SEC's upper class. 
    What are your thoughts on the J’den Cox situation?
    Really strange and unfortunate situation. I know there are some conspiracy theorists out there saying the situation was rigged so Cox couldn't compete at his weight class, but it sounds more like an accident. 
    Here's what Cox told NBC Sports after he was ruled out of the Olympic Trials for reportedly weighing in 13 minutes after the deadline: “I was informed with the wrong times of when weigh-ins were supposed to be, and that’s just flat-out the truth. Really, I think it’s just miscommunication. In the grand scheme of things, I feel that I was not — how do I say — presented, I guess, the same opportunity would be the word to say. I’m not really sure how to phrase it, but I think it’s just miscommunication. I want the right to represent my country.”
    I hope the situation gets resolved in time for the Olympics. If not he can still compete at the World Championships this fall.
    Any insight to the falling out between CM and Parker Braun? I figured he would have an expanded roll moving forward. He showed shot blocking ability and decent touch for a 4/5 that could have stretched defenses.
    He clearly wanted an expanded role but the staff didn't feel like that made them a better team. Martin likes Braun. He's been very complimentary of him. But the way Braun has developed over the last three years Martin just doesn't see him as a starter or someone who could play starter minutes for this team. I'd expect him to transfer to a mid-major program if what I've heard is accurate.
    With such a surge in transfers, I'm curious about the idea that schools may recruit players in the transfer portal who are from schools in their conference with the expressed purpose of trying to gain "inside" information. Mostly with football but I guess basketball and other sports as well. Have you come across any info that suggests coaches may be doing this?
    I really don't think that's a factor, especially with basketball. There are no secrets to learn about basketball. It's not like teams run trick plays or gadget offenses or defenses. It's all out on the floor. Coaches studying tape are probably going to learn more about their peers in the league than any intel a player could give them.
    Do you have a feel for whether or not Mevis could be an All American before he is through with his time here? He certainly was super impressive this past year. Has he embraced his nick name or does he shy away from it?
  • Sure, why not. The path to being an All-American kicker isn't all that complicated. Make a bunch of field goals and don't miss the easy ones.
    Dave,

    Thank you for spending time with us today. I've heard alot about the receiving core looking good in spring camp. Who are your biggest break out players you saw this spring who you expect to make a jump next season.
    The obvious ones were the two newcomers, Mookie Cooper and Dominic Lovett. Not much size but lots of speed and explosiveness. 
    I still think you'll see a lot of Keke Chism and Tauskie Dove on the outside. Two reliable guys who emerged as favorite targets for Bazelak last year. 
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