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.

  • Welcome back to the chat. We had basketball get in the way of our weekly get-togethers each of the last two Thursdays. But I'll  be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou. Let's get started.
  • I have been listening to a weekly pod cast which featured Missouri athletes which I have enjoyed. The first one was our new quarterback from Miami. It is part of the NIL program. It occurred to me that this pay for interviews has made your job much harder. Would I be correct that the players you cover are now restricting their interviews to only pay interviews?
  • It doesn't make my job any harder. The Post-Dispatch and I can't get involved with the NIL collectives or the athletes in any arrangement that involves either side getting paid, but that doesn't impact my job at all.
  • If you attended the indoor session with the football team what were your observations about the quarterbacks competition?
  • I was not there. I was a little busy in Sacramento. You can read what Calum McAndrew wrote about from the scrimmage.
  • Dave, do you think Mike Anderson will be a college head coach again? Have you heard any rumors if he is in the running for any open jobs?
  • I haven't heard him connected to any openings, but it wouldn't surprise me if he wants to keep coaching. I've had some folks close to him say he loves coaching so much that'll he want to keep going as long as he can breathe. Others would like to see him retire and enjoy life away from the daily grind.
    St. John's always seemed like an odd fit, but I could see him having success at a mid-major. He's 63. Not young ... but his new replacement at St. John's is 70.
    George Mason? Temple? New Mexico State?
  • It seems like the AD has not held back in giving Drink funds to keep his coaches, yet there seems to be too much movement from the program. Does the AD have someone do follow up queries with all involved to get to the root cause of each coach leaving.
  • It's not always about money. And every situation is unique. Here's the reality: Drinkwitz lost assistant coaches to Boise State (Bush Hamdan) and Purdue (Marcus Johnson) and both of those guys are going to have more job security where they are now. Ryan Walters is going to get four years at Purdue. Drinkwitz has to start winning now or he won't get two more years, much less four. Purdue's O-line coach left unexpectedly earlier this month. When you're a first-year head coach and you need to hire someone in a hurry, it makes sense to hire someone you've worked with in the past. Walters and Johnson overlapped here in 2020. At Purdue, Johnson has security he wouldn't have at Mizzou. And until we know more about his salary, he might be making more money.
    Hamdan wanted to be a coordinator so that he can eventually be a head coach. He wasn't getting the OC job here - or he wasn't getting by the time he needed to give Boise an answer. 
    Big picture, I'm not sure Johnson is a major loss. Did Mizzou's O-line look well coached last year? That group was a mess all season. Maybe some fresh eyes and a new voice will be the answer. 
  • Good morning, Dave.

    What does your reporting and insights tell you about the OL coach departing for Purdue? Odd timing or is this the norm now in "big man" football? I believe he now owes Mizzou some money for leaving?

    Any reportable insights on Saturday's spring scrimmage in the Devine Pavilion?

    A lot of chatter about the transfer portal and the MBB program. Any word in terms of the coaching staff and the program's support staff staying/leaving headed into 2023-24? Realize Final Four Week is always a "job hunter" feast at the tournament site.

    Any insights into the WBB coaching situation? My read is the program really needs a tough zero-base review top to bottom with the question being can Coach RP as they long-time incumbent do as such in an unbiased, forthright manner?

    Thank you.
  • 1. I just touched on Johnson leaving for Purdue. Not a whole lot more to add. Again, timing isn't ideal, but I don't see it as a major loss as long as Drinkwitz hires a solid replacement. 
    2. I've been all hoops lately and was out of town for the last few football practices that were open to reporters.
    3. Haven't heard anything about possible staff departures, but it wouldn't shock me if there's some interest in Charlton Young at South Florida if USF misses on some sitting head coaches. I've been impressed with some of the staffers who aren't full-time assistants (Fly, Sharbaugh, Cline) and if they should get offers as full-time bench assistants they'd have to consider those options.
    4. It's been almost three full days since Mizzou WBB played its last game. It's not like Reed-Francois to wait this long to fire someone. Heck, she just fired the tennis coach DURING the season. After Monday's game Robin talked like a coach who's been told she has one more year to get back to the NCAA Tournament. If MU goes into the weekend without announcing a change, I expect her back next season.
  • Hey Dave, What should we make of the difference the head coaches of Mizzou's two revenue sports treat fans and media? Gates goes public in front of the Columns with a first practice session open to all. Drinkwitz does not allow Mizzou beat reporters access to spring practice and belatedly hides the annual spring scrimmage to all but select guests / big donors and cancels SEC Network TV coverage. From your reports, there is no media access to football staff other than Drinkwitz' after-game statement and a weekly podium event. While Gates welcomes media publicity and encourage fan involvement, Drinkwitz appears the polar opposite. Why this apparent closed door secrecy? How do you see this affecting the football program going forward?
  • I would push back on the two teams having polar opposite approaches to media access. There were weeks this basketball season when Gates wasn't always available to media before games. We usually got to interview one, sometimes two players per week in a group setting - not ideal for anyone trying to do original work. The access is much better at the SEC and NCAA tournaments, but that's only because the SEC and NCAA require teams to open their locker room and make all players/coaches available for interviews. 
    MU football access is fine. It's been improved over the last year. I'd say of the two sports, basketball has more room for improvement next season. 
    I understood why Drinkwitz closed the scrimmage. There was snow on the ground and temperatures were in the 20s. Nobody wanted to sit through that - and it's hard for a team to have a productive practice in those conditions. And logistically, they couldn't have televised a scrimmage/practice in the Devine Pavilion. It's just too small. It's not even 100 yards long. That said, had he scheduled the scrimmage for April, more fans could have attended. But he likes to get spring ball over with before spring break so that the coaches can focus on recruiting and players who are hurt have more time to recover before August camp.
  • Do you think it's a safe assumption that if Pingeton hasn't been let go by now she'll be back next year?
  • Nice win by the Mizzou baseball team last night in KC. Taking some heat off of Coach Bieser? Any thoughts on the athletic department addressing a woeful baseball facility in the near future??
  • Great start for Mizzou baseball. If they win this weekend's series at South Carolina, this should be an NCAA regional team. But it's still a long SEC season. Let's see how they play on the road in an SEC venue. 
    As for a new facility, I've heard rumblings of the desire to build a more modern stadium in a more appealing location. But who's going to pay for that? They've had challenges for more than five years to upgrade the field surface at Taylor Stadium. Unless some major donors are willing to step and finance a new stadium, you'd have to borrow more money from the university to afford a new facility. And I'm not sure that's a wise investment for a program that never generates revenue beyond its expenses. Maybe after a couple NCAA regional runs. 
  • Any expectation of what positions Drinkwitz may be targeting when the portal opens back up? I would think they’d want to add a starting caliber Center and Tight end if possible.
  • If there's a Power 5 starting center out there it's worth exploring, but no telling if any players better than the in-house candidates will be available and interested. If you can find a proven pass-catching tight end on the market I'd try to add one for sure. There doesn't seem to be any other major personnel needs in terms of pure numbers where they're seriously short of options.
  • Hi, Dave: Robin Pingeton seems to have survived the chopping block. This seems a bit of a departure for DRF as the AD has seemed to pursue the "we expect excellence in all activities" type of approach that has appeared to be her operating model. I know I've heard that the buyout is large in a non-revenue sport, but is that really going to govern how she does things now? More people go to the WBB games than to Baseball games so I'm surprised if she's going to just let it ride. Do you have any thoughts or insights on the Athletic Department's approach to a chronic under-achieving program like WBB? Thank you.
  • As of a few weeks ago, based on some conversations I had, I figured there was a strong chance for a coaching change. I'm less certain now. There's no way the administration went into the WNIT unsure of its plans - and based on Robin's comments after Monday's game, she spoke like a coach who expects to return under pressure to win next year or it's over. She has two four-star players coming in next season to add to a couple promising freshmen in Judd and Kroenke. "My heart hurts for these girls. But when I think about our kids coming in the offseason, I think that's gonna be a big one for us. I think we all know the expectations and I'm committed to making sure that happens."
    DRF fired the volleyball coach after two last-place finishes in the SEC. That's much different than the women's basketball program being one win (2022) and two wins (2023) away from making the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years. Also, the buyout for Josh Taylor ($400K) was about a third of what it would cost to fire Pingeton. That's got to be a factor, too.
  • MIZBB ranked 349th out of 351 teams in rebounding margin in a NCAA list of rebounding stats. Princeton outrebounded MIZ 44 to 30 ovreall and 16 to 8 on the offensive boards. This seems to me the one area that needs the most improvement especially if Kobe Brown doesn’t come back. MIZ’s tallest player, Diarra only played 14 minutes. Didn’t see any second chance points stat in the loss to Princeton, but I bet it was in Princeton’s favor. Will improving on rebounding be a point of emphasis as they start focusing on next year? Can any of the 4 recruits lined up solve this issue? Are they pursuing anybody in the transfer portal. Since there were 0 expectations for this season, the fact that they won a game in the tournament makes the loss to Princeton easier to swallow, given the results actually attained this year,, expectations for next year will be sky high.
  • Rebounding was an issue all year - and the struggles against Princeton shouldn't have come as a surprise. If you read my "Numbers to Know" story I posted before the game, I brought up rebounding as a factor:
    22.7: The percentage of offensive rebounds Princeton’s defense allows, the lowest rate allowed by any team Missouri has played this season and eighth-best nationally in Division I. Only three teams in the  NCAA Tournament field are better on the defensive glass: Saint Mary’s, Drake and Vermont.
    Diarra returns. He's got a high upside as a rebounder. This was a major transition season for him. He needs to get stronger and polish his fundamental skills. But he averaged 11.2 rebounds per 40 minutes and 16.2 per 100 possessions. Both led the team by wide margins. Translation: With more minutes next year, he projects to be a prolific rebounder. But he's got to learn how to defend without fouling (6.1 fouls per 40 minutes) and needs to be an asset on offense, not a liability. Learning how to consistently finish at the rim would be nice. 
    Otherwise, MU signed two high school players with good size, but I'm not sure they'll be impact rebounders immediately. 
    MU has been active in the portal. They'e been linked to close to 20 transfers. A few big men have been contacted, including TCU's Eddie Lampkin, Wyoming's Graham Ike and Ball State's Payton Sparks. All worth monitoring.
  • What are your thoughts on Kobe Brown returning next season? Would he need an Oscar Tshiebwe-type deal? Would Mizzou's NIL collective e able
  • I would expect Kobe to declare for the draft and go through the pre-draft process so he can explore his draft stock. I'm confident in saying Mizzou's preferred NIL collective is going to be competitive to put together a package to bring him back for another season.
    NBA mock drafts are more sophisticated than ever before. He's just now appearing as a late second-round prospect. As a 23-year-old senior who turns 24 in January, he doesn't have the built-in upside that you get with a teenaged G-League Ignite prospect or an NCAA freshman or international prodigy. His age works against his stock. But let's say he's a late second-rounder. There's no guarantee you get a contract as a second-rounder. If you don't make the team, you could be out of luck and have to settle for a G League or overseas deal. Last year, Colorado's Jabari Walker was the second-to-last pick in the draft. Portland signed him to a two-year deal with an average annual value of $1.6 million. I'm not sure the collective can match that total, but to make that kind of money, Kobe would have to get drafted and make the team.
  • Other than NIL $, why would Kobe come back, favorable NBA grade or not?
  • He seems to be very happy in Columbia, likes the staff and his teammates. He's an exceptional student. But NIL will be a factor - and maybe the No. 1 factor.
  • Is it correct if Kobe Brown returns he would not count against the 13 scholarship players on the roster because of his participation with the team during the Covid pandemic?
    Also, will the NCAA continue to grant waivers to players that have already transferred once? If Gates
    is looking to expand the roster, and it appears he is, someone on the current roster could be in jeopardy of having to sit out a year or transfer down.
    It seems a difficult situation, how do you tell a player who has transferred once, "you need to find another place to play?"
  • I have not found any documented report that the NCAA policy is still in effect three years after the first COVID run of waivers that would allow a fifth-year player to not count against the scholarship limit. As I understand it, Mizzou's staff is not operating with that understanding. 
    It's going to be harder to transfer more than once and play right away at your third school unless you had a coaching change at your second school. Graduate transfers can still play right away.
  • Does it slow down for you now, or do you keep pushing through the end of spring sports? Will you attend softball or baseball games?
  • I work non-stop from August to March and generally throttle down this time of year. I'll still write and report but I won't cover the spring sports on a daily basis. There's just not the demand for that coverage with the non-revenue teams. I'll write some feature stories and could cover the postseason(s), but not with the same amount of coverage as we give football and men's hoops.
  • I would think that if Mosely wants to return, it has to be assumed that he will be a full-time participant. Otherwise, good motives or no, we’re wasting a scholarship, aren’t we?
  • I would think Gates and Mosley would have to have some serious conversations about his life outside of basketball before either side can commit to the 2023-24 season.
  • It doesn't sound like Horn or Garcia really impressed during the scrimmage last Saturday.
    Are you surprised Horn hasn't taken bigger steps based on his recruiting profile and hype as a top high school quarterback?
  • Not surprised, mostly because he couldn't throw much early this spring with the baseball injury. Also, if they were certain he was the 2023 starter he would have gotten more snaps in 2022 and they wouldn't have pursued a high-profile transfer in Garcia.
  • I asked earlier in this thread whether Missouri athletes have made access to interviews by you much more difficult because they are now being paid under the NIL by various pod casts for their interviews. Your answer surprised me. You said no. A few questions on you remarked lack of access has made getting original content harder. For what it is worth I have enjoyed the in-depth interviews of the football athletes and would enjoy reading about their experiences in the Post. Just curious is you answer still no problem.
  • Whether I have a problem with the NIL interviews or not, I can't be engaged in any kind of interviews that involve money being exchanged. So it's really not relevant to me. I don't think my coverage of Mizzou will be impacted in any way by the NIL collective activity. Now, if athletes start saying they won't do interviews unless they're getting paid, then I won't interview them. Pretty simple.
  • Although I don't expect Mizzou's football offense to make the kind of leap the defense made between '21 & '22, I do fully expect an improvement this year. But my sense is, this can be a signficantly better team and still be anywhere from 6-6 to 8-4. How do you see those things playing out (the potential improvement/record)?
  • I don't see how they'd be a significantly better team if they're still 6-6. If they're still 6-6 I'd expect to cover a coaching change. A 60% raise comes with expectations.
    I'm not convinced they'll be any better on offense. We have no idea what happens at quarterback. No idea if an O-line without an O-line coach will be better. No idea if Kirby Moore will be an obvious improvement. No idea if Burden can replace Lovett's production in the slot. Other than blind faith, I'm not sure where anyone can come up with enhanced expectations in March. Let's see what happens when the ball is kicked off. The defense made major strides last fall, but there was no way to truly know that would happen last March.
  • Dave, have you heard if there's anything in the works for another alumni basketball game this summer? I didn't know if that was now an annual event.
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