Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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




  • Greetings, chatters. Welcome to another week of Mizzou talk. I'll be here for the next couple of hours. Lots to talk about. Mizzou hoops schedule is coming together. The spring sports season is all but complete.
  • Dave,
    Now that its been about 5 years since Mizzou's move to the SEC, what are your impressions of the conference change? Do you think its helped or hurt Mizzou? Do you think it would have been a better fit to join the Big 10? Do you think the overall fanbase is content with it? Thanks.
  • I think Mizzou would have fit better into the Big Ten's geographical footprint and had more in common with those schools and college towns. But overall, I think MU athletics has adjusted pretty well to being in the league. Football has shown it can compete for championships in the league, though that was under a prior HC and a staff with a stronger track record and more continuity. Mizzou needs to make more money to  be able to spend more money to thrive in the SEC. That comes down to fundraising and putting a better product on the court/field that will attract more fans. That challenge would have been the same in the Big 12 and the Big Ten, but it's amplified in the SEC because the country's biggest spenders reside in this conference. The men's basketball program's problems the last four years had nothing to do with the SEC. MU would have struggled in any power conference with the roster and the recruiting and the coaching that led to 27 wins in three years. Baseball is much more challenging in this league, but MU made some progress this spring. I'm not sure about the general fan interest in the SEC. Fans want to win games, no matter what conference you're in. Joining the SEC raised the bar in terms of needing fan support and fund raising for salaries and facilities, and that's where MU continues to have room for growth.
  • oh I was talking when the basketball team comes back soon
  • They will be in town next week to begin workouts and start summer school classes. The summer 8-week session and first 4-week session begin Monday. There's a second 4-week session that begins July 3.
  • With the new basketball conference schedule out, which games (other thank UK) should be the most interesting?
  • If you missed today's story, the SEC put out its rotation of league games every team will play this year. Just no dates or times yet. Here's MU's home rotation: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
     
    And the road rotation: Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana State, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt
     
    Arkansas should be good again, so that's two solid matchups. Huge home game against what should be a nationally ranked Florida team. I think A&M will have a rebound year. Two tests against the Aggies. Big game at Bama. Like Mizzou, it's been a while since the Tide have been to the NCAA tourney but they also have a top 10 recruiting class. Lots of young talent will be on the floor in Tuscaloosa. It won't be as much of a story had the game been in Tennessee, but Martin gets to coach against his former school in Columbia. Should be a much bigger story when he makes his return visit to Knoxville. 
  • 20 years ago Larry Hughes signed to play with SLU as an obvious one-and-done player. SLU failed to optimize their year with Hughes and build a pipeline. They made the NCCA's once in the next twelve seasons prior to Majerus showing up. So how does Martin avoid SLU's mistakes and use this season as a building block?
  • Simple. Recruit more Porters. Not just the kids, but more nationally sought-after players. That's harder to do when you don't have players with a natural connection to the school or the town, but that's what elite recruiters do. If Mizzou can become nationally relevant again this year, you can capitalize on Porter's one-and-done year with the exposure and heightened excitement when it comes time to signing 2018 and 2019 players. That's the challenge. That's the opportunity.
  • In your opinion what's the ceiling and also floor for this football season? Also % chance we finish that high or low
  • I don't play with percentages. Just isn't interesting to me. The floor is 3-9. The offense takes a major step backward and the defense gets worse. Wins come against Missouri State and Idaho and either Purdue at home or UConn on the road - and then a clean sweep by all eight SEC foes. The ceiling is 10-2. It's a repeat season of 2013 as MU takes the East by storm with an explosive offense and a defense that's good enough to hold off a mediocre fleet of East teams. A home loss to Auburn and a road loss to Georgia are the only losses, but a 5-1 record against East teams is enough to secure a trip to Atlanta for the championship game against Bama. Chances of that happening? Not very likely, but there's a lot of toss-up games on this schedule.
  • Do you see Jontay Porter as a 3 year player for Mizzou if he reclassifies?
  • The way he played in the EYBL this year with a very limited supporting cast, he could develop into a fringe one-and-done player who might want to test the waters in workouts next May. You don't find many 6-11 guys with his range and versatility. My hunch is he's a two- or three-year player, but it all depends on how quickly he develops and adds strength to his frame. Is he ready for the SEC's physicality? Can he develop that outside shot to make him a pure stretch 4 or stretch 5? Can he bring one clear skill to the table as a freshman, whether that's rebounding or shot-blocking? Lots to unfold here in the next year.
  • Hi, Dave: AD Sterk seems to be off and running in terms of fund-raising. I'm curious about what your sense of him in other areas, such as how he deals with coaches, athletes, and you the media. The feel I get from afar is that he seems a great fit, but I don't live in the area any more and thus I'm curious about your assessment so far. Thanks!
  • Very grounded, personable but not a snake oil salesman - and not stuffy or phony like some ADs, who work the job more like a politician than a CEO. He's gotten more at ease with the media. He's just not a self-promoter who needs to read his name in the media or pat himself on the back publicly. He's all about relationships and getting work done. I think that's the profile of the leader Mizzou needed badly when he came on board.
  • When will we 1st get to see the hoops team from our TVs
  • The first game, Nov. 10 against Iowa State.
  • Percentage that jontay signs this year?
  • Very strong. He told me last month that he's essentially made his decision but he wants to announce it on his terms. There have been some reports that he's already reclassified, but he assured me last night that's not the case. Not yet. It's very possible he and the staff know what he plans to do, but until he officially pulls the trigger and affirmatively says, "Yes, I'm skipping my senior year," then nothing's official in my view. Maybe an anonymous source or two say otherwise, but when Jontay tells me directly he doesn't have an official decision to report, then he doesn't as far as my job is concerned. Also, his AAU coach Chris Neff told me last night that Jontay has committed to keep playing with MOKAN Elite through the Peach Jam in July. Can he play on the AAU circuit while being enrolled in summer classes at Mizzou? (Classes begin June 5 and July 3 for the second session?) I've asked the AAU for clarification on that possibility and have not gotten a response.
  • What u think porter jr averages points and rebounds wise. What about the floor general in regards to points and assists
  • I know fans are hoping he averages 25 points a game, but it's so rare to see a freshman in a major conference score at a rate like this. Consider these freshman year averages:
    Kevin Durant: 25.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg
    Michael Beasley: 26.2 ppg, 12.4 rpg
    Carmelo Anthony: 22.2 ppg, 10 rpg
    I think Porter can average 20 points per game, if he can develop a consistent 3-point shot. Can he average double-digit rebounds? He probably doesn't have to. He'll be on the perimeter more than down low, so he won't have as many rebound chances. 
    Phillips has averaged 4 assists per game over two seasons on two of the worst offensive teams in America. No reason he can't push that average to 7 or more this season - as long as he's not looking for his own shot. 
  • Will Mizzou wrestling continue to surprise going forward?
  • Surprise? They haven't been surprising anyone. That's an elite program, one of the five or six best in the country consistently. They will be loaded next year, even without J'den Cox. He was only 1/10th of the team. As great as he was, as a team Mizzou can continue to contend for national titles with the way Smith has built that program with great depth from top to bottom.
  • Whats your startin hoops 5. With n without jontay?
  • With Jontay ... 
    PG Phillips
    SG Robertson/Barnett
    SF Porter Jr.
    PF Puryear
    C Tilmon/Nikko
     
    Without Jontay ... 
    Same
     
    Jontay figures in as a power forward or center, possibly a starter at either, but I don't see him starting over Puryear to begin the season. And I think Tilmon and Nikko are both more pure post players to fill the five spot, while Jontay is more of a four who can shoot from outside. 
     
    Keep in mind, when coaches think about these positions and lineups they're often thinking more about defense and defensive matchups. What position(s) can these guys guard when they're on the floor? What matchups pose problems for opponents or could put Mizzou in a bind defensively. Either way, this lineup has lots of possibilities for combinations.  
  • Not that I know of. He was in the weight room lifting with teammates yesterday when I was there reporting on another story.
  • It would be smart for Mizzou to pull of something like that. I'm sure the SEC Network would broadcast that - though ESPN didn't think enough of Mizzou to include them in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.
  • When do they release the non conference schedule?
  • Seven games have already been reported. Iowa State, UCF, Stephen F. Austin, Illinois and the three Orlando tourney games. Those are the only games MU has under contract for now. They'll release the rest later this summer. There's room for five or six more games.
  • Hi Dave. I was in the Fayetteville area last week and their sports radio station has all but guaranteed an NCAA championship based on their 2018 incoming basketball class. Justice Hill as the centerpiece if he reclassified next year. Just thought it is interesting based on the hype about our Tigers. Should be some fun years at Mizzou Arena!
  • It's about time that game means something for both teams. I'm not so sure about any SEC team being a national title contender outside of Kentucky, but I expect Arkansas to be one of best five or six teams in the league next year. And to think most of us had Mike Anderson on the hot seat when he lost to Kim Anderson last February.
  • How good can the football defense be this year with respect to sacks? How many will rely on defensive schemes versus straight bull rush talent?
  • Missouri has never relied on just bull-rush talent to get sacks. The D-ends and tackles use a variety of moves and countermoves to get to the quarterback. In general, Missouri plays more man coverage under Odom than past regimes, and generally that gives you more chances to blitz linebackers and defensive backs. I think you'll see more of that this year, unless the front four is capable of generating a sufficient pass rush. There's only established edge rusher on this team, Marcell Frazier. And he doesn't exactly have a long track record of success, just a handful of games late last season. Other guys are going to have to prove that they can provide a complementary rush on the other side. Nate Howard, Tre Williams, Nate Anderson? This team should have enough depth inside with all the incoming transfers to be able to identify players who can rush the pocket on passing downs. They didn't get much of a consistent push inside last year from Augusta, Logan, Hatley. That group can afford to be more athletic and explosive this year.
  • I was taking a look at the MOKAN stats a few days ago, Jontay is one of their best 3 point shooters, extraordinarily unusual for a 6'11" guy. (But his FT stats are <50%, how is that even possible?) Seems he would be a nightmare to guard, given his versatility. Do you think he will play wing as well as post in college?
  • He's a stretch four or stretch five. Read what his AAU coach told me about his future last week. (linked below). He thinks Jontay is skilled and agile enough for a big man to protect the rim AND linger outside as a jump shooter. You don't hear the term stretch five thrown around a lot in the game, other than guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Kristaps Porziņģis. But I think he's got the frame and the skills to play multiple spots in different sorts of lineup combinations. 
     
  • What 2018 and 2019 recruits will we chase the hardest excluding guys like Watson because we know about him. Also, what are chances with them?
  • Torrence Watson looks like a big priority. MU will need wing scorers. Robertson and Barnett are done after this year and Porter Jr. is likely done. MU will need some 3s who can shoot from outside, guys in that 6-4 to 6-7 range who can defend bigger wings and add perimeter scoring. That sounds a lot like Watson, the 6-4 wing from Whitfield HS. He announced his top eight last week if you missed: Mizzou, Marquette, Creighton, Michigan, SLU, Vandy, Kansas State and Butler.
  • Is Heupel seen as a potential candidate for head coaching jobs in the near future? Is it realistic to expect him to stick around another 2-3 years?
  • If Mizzou gets some signature games this year and the offense ranks among the nation's best, then sure, I would think he'll get some looks. In his first year as coordinator, he took the SEC's worst offense and produced the SEC leader in yards per game. MU needs to improve in a lot of areas this fall, but he knows offense and he's got an established system that he can install at any program and produce an offense that's going to move the ball. If I'm a mid-major AD with an opening this fall and I want a relatively young, hungry coach who has an exciting system that's worked at multiple major conference programs then I'd absolutely look at Heupel as a HC candidate. That doesn't guarantee he'll take any job offer that comes his way, but I would think he'll have an open mind. Also, he could be targeted for a coordinator job at a major conference team that can afford to pay more than the $750K he makes at MU. He could easily hit seven figures at a power program in the SEC or Big Ten.
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