Hey, chatters. Happy Thursday. Guess what, no questions about who's going to be Mizzou's next basketball coach!! OK, I'm sure you have other questions. Let's do this.
FYI, before we get started, I talked to Craig Roberts, the father of Mizzou signee C.J. Roberts. Cuonzo Martin spoke with both of them on the phone last night. Martin plans to visit them in Texas next week. The Roberts have not asked out of his national letter of intent. They want to sit down with Martin next week to hear more about his vision. From what Mr. Roberts said, Martin seems to want to keep Roberts in the mix. But ... "He's come in and been bold and decisive and he's changing the program in big strokes." He declined to elaborate but did say he expected the Porters to join the team next year. More at STLtoday.com after today's chat.
Washington's AD said she would like the 2017 signees to meet with the new coach before deciding if they'll honor their NLI or go elsewhere. At this point, I expect Martin to hire Michael Porter Sr., and if so, Michael Porter Jr. would all but certainly come to Missouri for next year. Stay tuned for updates.
Wow, folks, Indiana has fired Tom Crean. I was starting to think he would survive another year.
No, I have not. Recommend?
My guess is Tilmon will want to see who Illinois hires before making any decision on where he wants to play. Maybe he likes the new coach better than Groce. Unclear on what the plan will be with Mark Smith. Martin has to figure out how many scholarships he'll have available. If Roberts stays committed, MU only has two scholarships. One goes to M Porter. If Jontay reclassifies and joins MPJ next season, then you're out of scholarships - unless there's some roster turnover, which could very well happen.
Was told by someone close to several of the players that Martin is the candidate they were hoping would land the job. That's all I know for now.
He's a defense-first coach who runs a lot of motion offense. This team has capable defenders in Phillips, Walton and Puryear especially, but they're inconsistent and will have to be better on that end under Martin. Offensively, well, Mizzou is coming off a historically bad shooting season. Hard to say this talent fits any coach's vision for what they want to run offensively.
It could be a matter of weeks, but if Martin officially hires Porter Sr. sooner than that, then it will be all but certain that Junior follows him here.
I'm not going to speculate on that. It's not fair to the kids or the coaches to have it out there publicly that I think someone's on the move when I have no idea what they're thinking.
Some people believe that, but I know for a fact he had been poking around and asking questions of people at Mizzou about the program, the leadership, etc. I suspect he was laying the groundwork for MU to be a possible landing spot. And he was definitely someone Mizzou explored either via Sterk or the search firm early in the process. Yes, Martin was high on the list from the start, if not on top of the list, but no AD starts with a list of one and doesn't consider other options.
Indiana has confirmed that Tom Crean has been fired. I'm surprised by that. I figured he was safe for another year. Two points: Indiana doesn't make the move unless it thinks it can sign a big, big name. Gregg Marshall, Steve Alford, Archie Miller, Tony Bennett. I wouldn't be surprised if the next Hoosiers coach is one of those four. Two, where does Crean go next. N.C. State would be my guess because it's the probably the best job available. Or Washington? Or Cal? Or LSU? Or Illinois?
I'm pretty good at multitasking. Watching the games. Doing my chat. Writing two stories for tomorrow's paper. Finishing a book. I'll sleep when I'm 40.
Martin isn't known as a flashy offensive guy, but he's all about rugged defense. Think of his Purdue teams when he was a player and coach. I loved watching those teams with Glenn Robinson and Painter and Cuonzo.
It's an absolute reality. I just spoke with Craig Roberts, the father of signee C.J. Roberts, and he talked about the Porters as if it were already a done deal. I don't think the situation has moved along that quickly yet, but I'd be surprised if MPJ plays anywhere else.
The advanced metrics tell you that his teams have been better defensively. But he's had good offensive players come through his programs. His last Tennessee team was hard to defend when he had things going strong with McRae, Stokes and Richardson.
I'd expect Michael Porter Sr and Tracy Webster, who has coached with Martin at Cal and Tennessee.
I haven't read everything from the Washington situation yet. Hope to speak with Michael Sr. soon but no guarantees.
FYI, I reached out to Gregg Marshall's agent just to see what level, if any, of contact there was between Marshall and Mizzou this time around. Three years ago, his agent fully acknowledged Mizzou's contact/interview with Marshall and gave me a statement on what Marshall thought about the job and why he declined the offer. This time, his agent declined to say whether there was contact/offer but did wish Mizzou & Cuonzo well.
You're right. Too small a sample size to make a sweeping assessment. Plus, not all three situations can be measured by the same standard. The MVC was essentially a one-bid league when he coached at Missouri State and his last team there got upset in the conference tourney - otherwise would have made the NCAA. His first two Vols teams were saddled with Pearl's sanctions. Cal just isn't a great program, but when 40,000 nutso fans sign a petition to get you fired, I think it's understandable why he jumped at the first decent job he could get to leave that toxic situation in Knoxville.
I made this point on Bernie's show today, but I don't buy the "he's a job-hopper" criticism coming from MU fans. One: He hopped to you this last time, so clearly he thought your job was better than the situation at Cal. Two: The move from Missouri State to a power conference team like Tennessee was a no-brainer. His last Missouri State team won the Valley, had 26 wins, but lost in the conference tourney so it missed on the Big Dance. He was smart to leave when he did. Three: The aforementioned dumpster fire at Tennessee. Cal was a lateral move at best, but when the fans make a statement like that, it's time to bounce.
Nothing short of 40-0 will do.
Seriously, I don't know. Let's see how the roster shapes up. Let's see what the noncon schedule looks like. We know Missouri opens at home against Iowa State, the Big 12 tourney champs and an NCAA tourney regular. They'll get Illinois in St. Louis. Otherwise, the slate is undefined to my knowledge.
I don't think there's any major secrets, but I think he's referring to the degree to which things sucked beyond his control He was in a Catch 22 with the roster. He wanted to clean house of some Haith recruits, but it would have sunk the APR and led to sanctions, including a postseason ban. It would have been difficult to recruit with a postseason ban. Anderson was required to keep Tim Fuller on staff his first year and probably wasn't thrilled with the late pickups of Allen and Isabell. But MU was in a bind because Anderson was hired so late and had holes to fill. The knucklehead factor on the roster led Johnathan Williams to transfer, so not only are you stuck with players you don't necessarily want but you lose your best player. That said, I'm not trying to strike big sympathy tones for Anderson. He could have been more proactive with the roster situation.