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.

    Happy Thursday. Happy Chat Day. Lots to discuss. Let's get to this.
    I like what gates is doing. We will have 2 true point guards. Not sure how many games they win but I am excited with his effort to get players. I follow the women also they signed two good high schoolers but if they don't add some inside presence to compete in the sec.it will be a very long year. Their existing roster could finish in the bottom 3 of the sec. I hope coach will add some good players.
    Robin Pingeton feels really good about her team and the chemistry of the returning group, plus the two additions. But she knows they need to add a couple players through the portal. She hopes to sign two to three more this offseason. Obviously losing leading scorer and rebounder Aijha Blackwell is a blow. No one is going to spin her loss as a positive. But it's also fair to point out that Mizzou's two best wins this year - against South Carolina, at Florida - came without Blackwell. Maybe you can say that was a fluke. I don't think so.
    Good morning dave I’m not sure of the caliber of talent that Coach Gates is bringing in my question is will it be possible for Cleveland State Junior College to compete in the SEC
    We'll find out. Though I don't think that's a fair assessment. Junior college players can turn into great Division I players. They're usually not at the junior college level because they don't have the ability to play at the D-I level. Diarra was an international player who was raw and needed to develop. He did that at Garden City. East had already transferred once at the Division I level and needed a year junior college to raise his stock so he could transfer immediately back to a Division I program as a junior. Some skepticism over the two Cleveland State players would be more than fair if any other coach in America landed them; but Gates knows what he's getting in Gomillion and Hodge and knows what their value and their upside. I give him the benefit of the doubt on those two because he knows them better than any coach in America. Noah Carter had other high-major offers from programs that are better than Mizzou - or at least in the same tier.
    Have you been as surprised as much as I have by how fast Gates has remade the basketball team. While it is unknown how good this new team will be ,would you guess it will win more games than last season based on its new composition. It seamed Martin had a much harder time bringing in new players.
    Martin had one bad transfer cycle and other assorted transfer flops. But before last year he brought in productive transfers: Kassius Robertson, Dru Smith, Mark Smith. I thought Ronnie DeGray and DaJuan Gordon were serviceable players who might have been more effective with a better supporting cast.
    I'm not surprised Gates has reassembled the roster. His new bosses said they hired him because he's a relentless recruiter. He's lived up to that and has done the job he's being paid to do. He was always going to have a roster of 13 players. It's taken four weeks to get there - if he's in fact done - but it really shouldn't be surprising.
    The last 2 seasons Grant McKinnes (may have misspelled) was a reliable punter. Is that position open after spring practice, or has someone won it ?
  • I'd expect Sean Koetting, who handles kickoffs, to be the leading candidate as the punter this fall. That's a big reason he opted to return for his additional year of eligibility. He had shoulder surgery a few hours after the bowl game but should be ready to compete for the job this summer.
  • Dave,

    Haven't heard much love for Tyler Badie among the draft touts, but finally saw him at #100 in a CBS Mock. All-SEC back. May not be a Rd. 1 pick or RB1 on Sundays, but he's the versatile tough runner, pass catcher a lá the "wide back" role Deebo Samuel plays for the Niners. You hearing anything about pro prospects for TB?
    Badie and his agent believe he could go high as the third round. Fourth might be more realistic, maybe fifth depending on how quickly the top backs in the draft come off the board. It's not a great year for running backs, so that means teams with a need at the position can afford to wait later in the draft. That could certainly impact a prospect like Badie who's not considered to be in that elite class of backs this year. He's had a lot of Zoom calls with various teams in the last couple weeks and met with every team multiple times both at the Senior Bowl and the Combine. I think he'll bring a lot of value to a team as a second running back. He's durable. He's fast. He's a great receiver. One team I'm told to watch: Denver. They have Javonte Williams as the No. 1 back but haven't resigned veteran Melvin Gordon. Williams and Badie would be a dynamic tandem. The Broncos have four picks in the third and fourth rounds: 75, 96, 115, 116.
    Yuri Collins is entering the transfer portal. He led the nation in assists this past season with 267. ( he also led the nation in turnovers with 138). Mizzou needs a point guard. Collins needs to play in tougher competition than the A10 to prepare himself for the NBA. Tennessee is rumored to be his landing spot. Mizzou needs a point guard also. Is Mizzou in the picture or is Tennessee the front runner with a better NIL package than Mizzou can come up with?
    The Tigers could have used a point guard a week ago but they've since landed two in Sean East II and Nick Honor. I don't see Gates exploring the market for another PG. 
    Not long after Collins entered the portal I was told SLU is working to make a last-ditch effort to lure him back with an NIL package. I'm not sure it's enough to outbid Tennessee or any other high-major suitors.
    Do you know when Gates can comment on the additions that have been made to his roster? I'm curious as to how he plans to use guys who could slot at multiple positions like Carter and Gomillion. Also, what's your early prediction on a starting 5?
    He can't comment on them until they officially sign their letters of intent or scholarship papers. Just based on who has committed and who's on the current roster, maybe something like this ...
    1: East, Honor, Kaleb Brown
    2. Hodge, Gomillion, Coleman, Davis
    3. Carter, Shaw, Gholston
    4. Brown, DeGray
    5. Diarra
    Now, some of the guys at the 2 can play the 3. Carter and Shaw can play the 4, while Brown and DeGray can play the 5. Adding another big at the expense of a 2 guard might be ideal going forward. 
    Your thoughts on Mizzou moving their football season opener vs. Louisian Tech to Thursday night?
    LOVED your story today about the tragic passing of Mizzou Pitching Coach, Brian DeLunas...well done, sir! Your thights on the way Coach Stebe Bieser has held this team together inlight of that tragedy?
    I'm all for Mizzou thinking outside the box to boost attendance and get some extra exposure. Early-season Thursday night games become must-see events because fans are dying for college football, no matter the opponent. Students should be in full force for a Thursday night game ahead of Labor Day weekend. These are the kind of moves a forward-thinking coach and administration make.
    Thank you on the DeLunas story. I give all the credit to the Brian's brother, Adam, Austin Cheeley and Mitch Plassmeyer. They took some time to help me tell the story. 
    Bieser has done an admirable job of putting a much better team on the field in the wake of a tragic situation. And he would deserve credit for the Tigers' play regardless of the DeLunas situation. This team is far more competitive at the plate and on the mound. At just 26, Plassmeyer has done a nice job figuring out his staff and working in newcomers to figure out the best roles for the best situations. Over the last month this team is doing exactly what it should: win SEC home series against the average teams (Kentucky, South Carolina), consistently beat nonconference opponents (Kansas, Illinois, Missouri State) and play competitive series against the elite SEC programs (Arkansas, Tennessee).
    How many more players do you think will transfer out of the MBB team? I guess another way to rephrase this question is: Do you think Gates is done adding new players? My guess is no given his statements this week at the event in STL and the need for a big man following Keita's departure.
    I think they'll add at least one more. They could really use another big man. Who is the odd man out? Maybe one of the two guards, Davis or Coleman. I assume the Browns stick together and if you want Kobe - and they should - you can live with Kaleb as a third point guard. I'm not sure everyone agrees with me, but I like what DeGray brings to the table. Selfless player who can do a little bit of everything and plays bigger than his size.
    Dave, I'm out of town so I usually make one FB and maybe one or two basketball games a year. From an out-of-stater's view, it seems like there's some good buzz in Columbia, but will it generate into increased ticket sales? Do you know how sales are going thus far among season ticket holders?
    It's too early to measure season ticket sales. Check back in the summer. I don't expect to see a big bump in football attendance this year - unless the team opens 4-0 going into the Georgia game. Outside of the loyal core of fans that show up religiously, Mizzou will have to prove it's a good team before you win over the fringes. Same for basketball. Gates will raise some interest, but not enough to fill a 15,000-seat arena until the team is already a proven success.
    Can you take an Illini basketball question? They recently picked up a commitment from Skyy Clark and Kofi Cockburn announced he is definitely going to the NBA. You can't undo that commitment a third time. How do you think the Illini lineup is looking for next year? Overall they look talented, but young. I'm a little worried about the front court.
    I haven't studied their additions very closely. Underwood has four four-stars signed with Clark as the headliner and the apparent point guard - though Jayden Epps is impressive, too. Ty Rodgers is a solid addition on the wing. I like Coleman Hawkins, assuming he comes back. Active guy. Plays with an edge sometimes. Very young but really talented core.
    Any chance Coach Ford is interested in Yaya Keita?
    Years ago I covered the Moberly Junior College basketball team for the local paper. I will say there are some talent in the juco ranks. We once had Gerald Wilkins, who went for one season because he wanted to gain experience before going to D1. He played over 30 games before moving on the Tenn-Chat and then NBA. Also, Mitch Richmond played two seasons at Moberly after missing is senior high school year due to injury. Juco players can be really good.
    Absolutely. Their production can be difficult to project sometimes because of the step-up in competition but once surrounded by better resources and teammates there are some junior college transfers who thrive in their new setting. They sometimes play with that added edge that you need on your roster. More often than not they come from a place with meager resources and facilities and they're forced to tough it out and build up some scar tissue and toughness.
    I sure hope the women's BB program starts to fill their open positions soon. Biggest issue with Blackwell was she quit in the team's final SEC game at home against Arkansas. Only two attempts in second half and nine shots taken entire game. I felt then she was going to leave.
    I can tell you this much: The sky is not falling in that locker room. Now, Robin needs to add some pieces. And they have to be get better defensively. She knows that.
    With so many upperclassmen on the roster now, it would seem that HCDG is not concerned about the roster class imbalance and plans to keep transfers as well as HS kids part of his recruiting approach. Do you think this is the way of the future for most D1 teams and that fewer HS kids will go power school D1 as freshman (i.e. more will go low D1 for a year or two, achieve success, then transfer to high D1)?
    Ideally, he wants to add transfers who have two to three years of eligibility - not just the one-year rent-a-players. He wants to develop relationships with the top high school sophomores and juniors to lay the foundation of the program with HS recruits - and then supplement your roster needs with transfers. In the age of the transfer waiver high-major teams will probably be less inclined to recruit the under-the-radar high school prospect who needs a few years to develop. There's just not enough patience on anyone's part to invest that kind of time in a player who can't produce immediately. The players are less patient in that process and the coaches are most certainly less patient when they can go into the portal and find a more seasoned player who's ready to contribute right away.
    Quick update on Yaya Keita from a source involved in his process: Lots of calls and interest coming in from a wide range of programs. By next week he expects to really focus on some schools that will be the best fit. If he can get healthy he'll add value to somebody's program. Incredibly hard worker, team-first player. He can develop into a rotation player for someone's frontcourt. A mid-major might be a better fit, but he can certainly play in the A-10 or the American.
    Greetings Chatmeister. With the sudden retirement of the Villanova coach, along with Coach K and other highly successful coaches stepping down recently, I think we’re seeing a byproduct of NIL and the transfer portal in college sports. Used to be I thought college coaches had a little easier go of it than their pro counterparts, but not anymore. Seems that revenue sport coaches are on 24/7 recruiting the portal/JUCOS/high schools and most importantly their own players. The portal has clearly become free agency and I think unless someone intervenes we’re now headed for superconferences in football and basketball. Thoughts?
  • I do think the immediate eligibility and NIL has contributed to some of the older coaches deciding they're done with college coaching. Will it dilute the game? I don't think so. We still have a lot of highly motivated coaches who haven't lost their fastball and have found ways to maximize (manipulate?) the new dynamics in college recruiting. In the SEC alone, you hear complaints, but nobody does it better than the likes of Saban, Smart, Kiffin, Pearl, Calipari and Musselman.
    Here's a related challenge that I think more fans can relate to than they can gazillionaire coaches retiring from the sport: For decades fans have been asked to fund athletics departments with their donations and ticket purchase so schools fan build facilities, pay coaches gazillions of dollars and supply scholarships for their athletes. Now on top of those financial burdens, fans are being asked to finance NIL deals so the millionaire coaches can recruit the best players and give them endorsement deals. At one point does the season-ticket holder say he can't afford to pay for tickets any more or fund the facility projects? At one point does the money run out and fans check out? If all the money goes toward NIL collectives, will there be a course correction on coaching salaries and facility budgets? 
    I'm writing about that topic for Friday's College Sports Insider column.
  • Dave, I’d like your thoughts on Brian Wallace. My sons went to CBC and Arkansas at the same time. He was a great Cadet and Razorback. Peace to his family and friends. WPS #60.
    Yes, condolences to Brian's family and friends and many coaches and teammates over the years at CBC and Arkansas. Just a tragic story. I don't know any more than what's been reported, that he suffered a couple heart attacks, was hospitalized in St. Louis and passed last week. I don't know if he had any health concerns that had gone undetected. But he was a great lineman at Arkansas. Was a big local pick-up for the Hogs staff at the time and he played well there under Bielema. Very sad.
    Am hearing the hiring of a 2nd assistant coach will happen any day now. Do you see much a chance that the coach will also bring in a player, causing one other player to leave team?
    You mean the third assistant coach? Yes, I wrote on Tuesday that Mizzou is still expected to hire Kyle Smithpeters from Logan College. 
    Was told the other night that there's some thought that Western Kentucky center Jamarion Sharp - the tallest player in Division I at 7-5 - is waiting to see where Smithpeters lands before deciding if he'll enter the portal or stay at WKU. (He played for Smithpeters at Logan.) The WKU staff is aware he might leave and follow his former junior college coach to a high-major team. Players have 10 days to enter the portal before the May 1 deadline. 
    How would you grade the first half year of Reed-Francois compared to the same time period for her predecessors? And do you have thoughts on whether Choi has been a net positive/negative for athletics compared to those before him?
    I really don't like assigning grades for ADs. So much that happens is beyond their control but it's still how they're measured as ADs. Every AD also steps into a different situation. A few months on the job Jim Sterk got hit with the tutor scandal that dragged on for years. It's impossible to know/analyze how Reed-Francois would deal with something like that. Sterk quickly got the ball rolling on the football team complex that was nixed by the previous regime. He also didn't waste any time getting rid of Kim Anderson and made a solid hire in Martin without a whiff of drama or controversy. 
    I think Reed-Francois has done a good job addressing challenges with new ideas: changing the seating sections at home football game; she made a coaching change in men's basketball that a lot of fans didn't think she'd have the gumption to make; then she made a hire in Dennis Gates without any of the typical interference from outside voices that usually try to influence coaching searches. I've talked to some folks around the program who usually are kept in the loop on such hires who this time were kept out of the process - but still came away impressed with how she got it done. There has been A LOT of turnover in the athletics department since last summer. Some left on their own; others didn't have that choice. 
    As for Choi, Mizzou chancellors and system presidents have a history of being visible and active in athletics endeavors. Tim Wolfe (president) and R. Bowen Loftin (chancellor) certainly wanted to have influence in major decisions. On the flip side, Brady Deaton probably did more for Mizzou athletics in his time as chancellor while allowing Mike Alden and Gary Pinkel to do their jobs and spend more time in the spotlight.
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