Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

Join Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter for his live chat at 11 a.m. Thursday

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

    Greetings, chatters. Mizzou has a new basketball coach. Spring football is in the books. Spring teams are off and running. It's officially portal season for college hoops. Let's get to it.
    I could ask so many questions but I won't. Is there some big problem in womens basketball program. 4 girls already in the portal , the one that really surprised me is the freshmen guard. Is there a need to change coaches.
    First of all, it's women's basketball, not girls. We don't refer to the men's team as boys.
    Desiree Reed-Francois isn't firing Pingeton. She's not paying more than $1 million to buy out a coach in a sport that operates at a revenue deficit - especially after paying $6M to buy out Cuonzo Martin. If more people cared about the women's basketball program and the program had a chance to profit financially, then maybe there'd be more motivation to make a coaching change, but that's not reality.
    Before the team's late-season slide, I took my family to a weeknight game against a nationally ranked SEC opponent and the arena was empty - and this was two weeks after the huge upset over South Carolina. Even when the team is playing reasonably well, there just isn't as much interest in that program to justify costly changes. 
    Are there problems internally? Perhaps. But nobody is talking. We reach out to players when they transfer. Almost 100 % of the time they don't respond. 
    Keep in mind: This is what college athletes do now. They transfer. It's never been easier to change schools. And for a lot of them, this is nothing new. They transfer high schools all the time. They change AAU teams every summer. It's also never been easier to add impact transfers. That's Pingeton's challenge now.
    Izzy Higginbottom entered the portal yesterday and within hours she committed to Arkansas State. She transferred down a level and to a school closer to home. That one wouldn't concern me much if I'm a Mizzou fan. 
    Kira Dorroh was a top 100 recruit but barely got off the bench this year. LaDazhia Williams went through a senior day ceremony, so no one seemed to figure she'd come back next year. 
    As of today, Aijah Blackwell has not officially entered the portal or announced her plans to my knowledge, even though it's been reported she plans to transfer. (She blocks me on social media for some reason, so don't expect me to have that news first if she does indeed transfer!) If she leaves, that's a blow. But don't forget, athletes are motivated by NIL deals, too. If she can get more endorsements in the short term in another market, who's to fault her for looking around, regardless of any issues at Mizzou?
    I heard Coach Gates is MAGA. Thoughts?
    I've read just about everything written about Gates in the last week and haven't come across anything remotely political.
    Good morning Dave,
    I believe the Gates hire is solid and in-time our Tigers will return to the NCAA tourney. My question is, do you have any insight yet as to how the process and ultimate hiring decision came down? Who was the competition? How many candidates were interviewed? Was Gates the Man all along or was there someone else MU wanted and either that individual said no or took another job? There were other coaches who had more experience and better win %.
    Chatmeister, men’s basketball players entering the portal is understandable given the coaching change, but what, if anything, do you make of the spate of women players doing the same? Is this just the reality of college sports in 2022, or signs of problems in the program? Thanks as always.
    I'm getting to John L's question first:
    Like I wrote the other day, Gates has been on Reed-Francois' radar going back to her time at Virginia Tech several years ago. She said he was in MU's top tier of candidates all along. From what I'm told Todd Golden was involved in the search, but Florida moved fast on him. There was initial contact with Kim English, but Missouri favored more seasoned head coaches. MU explored Matt McMahon in some capacity but I don't believe the interest was strong. Kevin Willard said yesterday he had offers from four schools before choosing Maryland. I was told a few days into the process to pay careful attention to Willard in Missouri's search but also heard he wasn't interested in moving this far from the East Coast. 
  • Now, for Ikeinkirkwood ...
    It'd be great to know more about the women's basketball situation, but like I posted earlier, transfers rarely, if ever, talk about the situation they're leaving. So, don't expect anything too revealing to be uncovered. More than anything, this is just what college sports has become. The SLU men's team has lost a bunch of players to the portal as well. I don't think anyone would describe that program as in disarray. 
    Is it too much to think that a group effort at running back will produce what Badie did last season ? One guy may emerge, but it appears the group talent is greater, deeper now. If replacing Badie’s production turns out to be the case, and the defense is notably improved, particularly early in the season, then the difference between sub .500 and a SEC assigned bowl (but not 1st place in the division) likely rests on QB success. Or do you feel that’s making it appear too simple?
    I don't think there's anyone on the roster close to his ability. If Badie was a 9 as a college running back, playing a couple 4s and his 5s in his place might replace his production but not necessarily his value as a big-play threat and a prolific receiver. Drinkwitz has never really done a running back committee. He sticks with one primary back more often than not and feeds him the bulk of the carries. I don't know if there's anyone on this roster who has come close to proving they're capable of that kind of workload. Tavorus Jones wasn't here for the spring, but all indications are he'll get a chance to compete for carries right away.
    Important question Dave: what is a woman? I know you aren’t a biologist, but I am hoping you can still help me out. TIA.
    Should Reed-Fracois’ past hire of TJ Otzelberger give us faith in her ability to identify strong coaching candidates? I was pessimistic when they first announced Gates, but starting to warm up to it the more research I’ve done on him.
    I can't tell you how to feel about the hire. But I do know that university leaders were emboldened by her eye for coaching talent after seeing what Otzelberger did at Iowa State this year. I was told that directly this week.
    You/others say potential recruits/ current players don’t make decisions based off social media noise but yet Mizzou fans are reprimanded when we voice our opinions right, wrong or indifferent. ie: coach gates hire, all the womens basketball players transferring, etc. which is it? Do the fans have a voice and could be a part of a potential outcome or do we not play a part at all? Thanks Paul, I’ll hang up and listen.
    I'd say fans presence or lack of presence at the games has far more of an impact on decisions than noise on Twitter. I do think recruits and their families pay attention to the social media noise. Does it impact their decisions? It would be naive to think some of that doesn't hurt the program's image.
    There are strong feelings among folks at Mizzou - and folks who have left Mizzou for other jobs and other schools - that the toxicity on social media does real harm to the athletics department. Is it worse at Mizzou than other places? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's another sign of the times.
  • Hi Dave,

    If you were an AD or President would want your school to move from a lower tier conference where they are regularly in play for conference championships or move to a more marquee conference with higher prestige and outside revenues (tv, etc), but knowing that you regularly are going to be lower to mid-pack and fan/alumni base will shrink (as far as enthusiasm). I don't ask this just because of Mizzou, but there are several schools in the same boat (Maryland, Nebraska, West Virginia, SLU, Butler, Wichita State, etc). As a fan it's hard to get excited by higher paid coaches, more associate ADs, "blinged out" athletic facilities, etc when there's no excitement of the victory.

    Thanks Dave.
    This seems like more of a basketball question because you included schools that don't have football programs. I would prefer to be in a football power conference and have access to the Power Five media stream revenues. Money doesn't solve every problem, but it's hard to be relevant without that revenue.
    Quick check on Coach Gates recruiting success would be the re upping of Brazile and Pickett. BTW what was the significance of a # 55 jersey at the hiring ceremony. Thanks
    I was told 55 was related to his jersey number as a player, but at Cal he wore No. 51. He also held up a 55 jersey at his first press conference at Cleveland State. Maybe there's more to it. 
    Gates will recruit Brazile and, I would assume, Pickett. No telling yet if he'll have any success. There are efforts locally to support Brazile with NIL deals, but I can't say if they'll match what he'll have available at other schools.
    Beyond QB, what position groups do you expect Drinkwitz to target in the transfer portal now that spring practices are wrapped up?
    I would think tight end. Maybe offensive tackle with the Hyrin White injury. Defensive back seems to be a place worth monitoring all the time because you need a bunch of them and they can play on multiple special teams. Plus they just lost a corner to the portal, redshirt freshman Snoop Reaves.
    Auburn's Devan Cambridge, the season's starting wing from the SEC champions, has entered the portal. Be prepared for a flood of transfers - good players from good programs - to become available.
    Good recruiter and NIL advocate - Good luck to Coach Gates
    Looking for info on the NIL process. Does each player have a web site? How does everyman find out about the NIL for each player? Is direct payment from a booster under NIL permissible? What part of the NIL process is the head coach or recruiter allowed to be involved with? Has there been an info article written on the details?
  • Mizzou has a third-party company that helps manage NIL deals. We've written a few stories that explain the whole process. Boosters cannot directly pay recruits legally. There has to be some kind of service rendered for the payment. The coaches cannot get directly involved with the negotiations, but it would be naive to think they're not in the loop. 
    Here are a couple stories we've done over the last couple years:
  • Dave, when are we going to get the details of Gates' contract?
    Good question. As soon as it's available, I'll have it. It's unusual for Mizzou not to make MOU terms available at the introductory press conference.
    I am very excited about men's basketball. I really liked coach Martin but there is such apathy among fans a need had to be made. Guys leaving is okay because he needs players that believe in gates. Surely Whitmore will not take up a scholarship . I guess the 4 mid major players already at mizzou can serve a role surrounded by good players. Iowa state won 2 games last year and now in sweet 16 by bringing in mostly a new roster. Can't see yeita being able to help. Really excited to see who he recruits . As of today 725 guys in the portal.
    I can convince myself that even with the potential Transfer losses MBB is looking positive long term. But wow, the wheels seem to be falling off WBB. It makes me wonder if the Sophie years were an aberration and if after 12 Pingeton years it’s time to bring in a new regime? What do you think? Her record without Sophie is 115 and 127 if my math is correct.
    I haven't done the math, but it's not really relevant because she DID have Cunningham for four years and won a bunch of games. The team won as many games this year as the last two years combined, and like I wrote earlier, Mizzou isn't in the business of paying $1 million buyouts for teams that don't make money even when they're good. I understand that there's a bloodthirsty hankering to fire coaches in today's culture, but it's not always good for business.
    Also, what's the status on JT Daniels?
    He plans to visit West Virginia. Not sure if he'll consider anyone else. His camp doesn't do interviews, so I wouldn't expect to hear much until he makes a decision.
    Hello Dave

    I only read and heard snippets of Gates conference. I heard him talking about being the players friend and going to their weddings, but did he say anything about embracing NIL and how he plans to utilize that to recruit actual great players? We had a 'friend' coach with Cuonzo so those comments didn't excite me. Also, he mentioned wanting to see the kids graduate. But last I looks the majority of GREAT players are one year or two and done. Does he not plan of getting those kinds of players? The players are NOT there to graduate. Win! Win! Win! That should be the goal, not graduation rates!
  • Here's my advice. Don't pay attention to what the new coach says on Day 1. Pay attention to his actions on Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, etc. Of course I was there to write about what he said, but it's just words on Day 1. He's sitting alongside his bosses, so of course he's going to talk about graduation rates and culture and all the buzz words that melt the hearts of university leaders. And he very well could mean those things, but he also knows he got this job because the last guy got fired for going 12-21. It's why I asked him what his new bosses expressed to him are the real expectations for this job, considering they just fired someone who was in the NCAA Tournament last year and had a ranked team for much of the season. He understands what's at stake. "Guys, I'm gonna be measured,” he said. “I know the business and profession I’m in. I realize that. I am not running from it. I'm here to tussle with it. I'm here to fight against our opponents. Not just the SEC but in the country. I understand that. I understand expectations."

    Also, believe it or not but it's possible to be a nice guy, treat people right and still recruit at a high level and win a bunch of games. I think some fans have been so seduced by some of the slimy characters in the SEC that they've convinced themselves that good people can't win in college basketball. No one's ever accused of Jay Wright being a bad guy. Same for Scott Drew. Rick Barnes. Matt Painter. Ed Cooley. Porter Moser. 
  • Have the details of Gates’s contract been releases yet?
    I am not sold on the Gates hire. He sounded more like a politician than a new head coach. He answered every questions from the reports with a lot of fluff and non-answer answers. I know it was Day 1, but I was hoping for a bit more substance. Is that common for new hire coach press conference?
    Like I said, pay attention to his actions after the press conference more than his words at the podium. He said many of the same things Martin said five years ago. I pointed that out in my story the other day. 
    Gates on March 22, 2022: “My dream is to become a national champion. My dream is to become a hall of fame coach. Mizzou has everything in place for me to accomplish those goals, those dreams, those aspirations.”
    Martin on March 17, 2017: “I don’t think there is anything Mizzou is lacking. I think we have a lot of things to be successful. I think we have everything we need to be the last team standing one day, and that’s my goal.”
    Tuesday was Mizzou's third head coach introduction in eight years and fifth in 16 years. Some of those hires proved to be better than others, but just changing the guy in charge isn't going to magically solve everything, especially now in the NIL age. 
    Any real chance that Pickett, Brazile and the 4-star recruit change their minds and go back to Mizzou. Does that happen often with portal guys?
    Yes, it happens. Shaw has told me he'll still consider Mizzou. The other two haven't returned messages. Until they say they've eliminated Mizzou, there's always a chance.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement