Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Bring your Tigers football and basketball questions, and talk to Mizzou beat writer Dave Matter in a live chat starting at 1 p.m. Thursday.




    Any updates, timeframes on when we'll know what roles the new football assistants have? Seems like Ofodile and McGee likely to have WRs or TEs. What are your thoughts on Gibbs - CBs or S likely? How that would impact Walters role/if he still coaches a position group too? Any other changes or position group switches that could happen?
    No updates yet. I suspect Gibbs will coach corners and Walters take the safeties. Walters has more experience coaching safeties. Either way, I think it's a staff upgrade. Gibbs has extensively more experience than Brian Odom - and that coordinator experience should be beneficial. People scoff at the fact that he coached defense in the Big 12, but that means he was exposed to some of the most explosive offenses in the country on a weekly basis. Also, look beyond the superficial numbers and it's clear to see the progress his Texas Tech defenses made in his time there. I think that's a really solid hire.
    As for McGee and Ofodile, I'm not sure it makes a huge difference in the end. One will coach receivers, one will coach tight ends. 
    Heard rumors that Mizzou might retire 2 more men's bball player #'s this year. Predictions/thoughts on who that's likely to be?
    It's not a rumor. I reported it last week in this story:
     
    My strong hunch is that one of them will be John Brown's No. 50.
    The other is more of a guess but I would lean toward Derrick Chievous' No. 3. 
    Next in line would be Anthony Peeler's No. 44. 
    Can you compare M. Smith to Kassius Robertson whom I think was a more impactful player. I know Mark plays well and was very good against the Hogs, but he seems to disappear in some games. Was it Kassius was older, could create his own shot better, or was surrounded by better teammates?
    I'd say Mark is a better defender, much better rebounder and less turnover-prone. Robertson was quicker, but he turned the ball over at a higher rate last year than Smith this year. Smith can defend bigger wings. He's got more power when he drives the ball. And statistically he's a better 3-point shooter. 
    So, as valuable as Robertson was last year, Smith has been a better player in a lot of areas. 
    Hear any news about how Blanton and Adams performed at East West Shrine Bowl game and practices? Think they'll be drafted?
    I haven't heard any first-hand accounts. Both have a shot to get drafted, Blanton especially. He'll earn looks because of his size and blocking ability, but he's got some receiver skills that at times went untapped at Mizzou. He'll play on Sundays. Adams developed into a really good SEC right tackle. Probably not athletic enough to play left tackle and he might even transition into a guard. But he's got a lot of the right qualities to make it in the pros.
    It's frustrating watching our bigs get called for fouls on screens every game. The guards obviously need to wait another split second before using the pick. Is this on the coaching staff or the players?
    I'm not sure how much it's really on the guards or on the bigs. Tilmon sets some sloppy screens. He gets so revved up that he struggles to collect himself and set a hard, solid screen. Ultimately everything comes down to coaching. You have to put your players in position to have success or find someone else who can.
    When I watch the BB games it seems like we lack the athleticism that a lot of the other teams have. Besides Pinson and Tilmon it seems like the other players lack the athleticism of their opponents. Do you see this as a major concern as well?
    Yes, and let's not forget this program is still recovering from the dark ages of 2014-17. The players Martin inherited who are still on the team wouldn't be considered elite athletes: Geist, Puryear, Smith, Nikko, Suggs.
    Mark Smith is athletic enough. He's a really good college guard who does a lot of things well - and can shoot as well as anyone in the game this season.
    Watson is athletic enough to be an impact player at this level. He's still learning to commit to defense and needs more polish on his offensive game. 
    Pickett is underrated as an athlete and as a player. His shot looks funky, but he's athletic enough to be a solid starter in this league for multiple years. 
    Looking at next year, this Tiger basketball team looks pretty solid with the additions of 2 freshmen in Tray Jackson and Mario McKinney that look like they could both contribute immediately. Assuming another scholorship open up, is there anyone else on the radar? I haven't heard of any other recruits we're aggressively persuing.
  • Don't forget Dru Smith. This staff has incredibly high expectations for him as a combo guard. 
    I don't delve into recruiting too much this time of year, but there are other names Mizzou is pursuing for the spring signing period: Myron Gardner, a three-star wing/small forward from Ohio, is one name to watch. 
    The 2020 class is the biggie for Mizzou with all the St. Louis prospects. I'll never say one class is make or break for a program, but it's going to be a pivotal year for backyard crootin'. 
    Does Les Miles improve chances of FB rematch?
    No. Why? Bill Self still runs Kansas last time I checked. 
    Plus, Mizzou is locking up Power 5 opponents through 2034. A game against Kansas won't come any time soon in football - even if you define "soon" by 15 years. 
    When's MU's NFL pro day workout scheduled for? Is it likely/typical for all the graduating seniors to participate? Hasn't MU allowed some other younger players/graduates (from past couple years) to participate at times in past, and if so, any potential names there?
    I don't know that date yet. It's always after the combine. So, some time in mid-March I would guess. 
    I don't think all of the graduating seniors will work out. Some of them are realistic enough to know they aren't playing on Sundays. But the bulk of them will likely give it a go: Lock, Hall, Blanton, Brown, Adams, Pendleton, Beckner, Palmore, Hall, Lee, Hilton, Fatony. Don't forget Crockett. He wasn't invited to the combine, so the pro day might be more important for him than anyone else. 
    Yes, sometimes former players who aren't in the league work out at pro day. No telling who will be there this year. Underclassmen aren't allowed to work out in the same drills as the draft-eligible players. Sometimes MU has the incoming seniors go through combine drills later in the day with the scouts in attendance.
    Speaking of Kassius Robertson, is he playing overseas right now? For only playing one year in a Mizzou uniform, he sure became one of my favorite all-time players.
  • Yes, in Germany. He plays for Medi Bayreuth and averaging about 11 points a game. One of his teammates is David Stockton, son of NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton.
    When does the next round of SEC/B12 Challenge bball games (teams and matchups) get selected? What does MU have to do to get selected?
    If they follow precedent, they'll reset the matchups for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. Last time when they set the pairings, the four teams at the bottom of the SEC standings were left out of the mix: Auburn, Missouri, LSU and Mississippi State. It backfired two years later considering three of those four teams are nationally ranked but aren't playing in this weekend's SEC-Big 12 Challenge. But, as several of the SEC coaches explained today - read more Saturday - they have to set those schedules in advance to work out which teams are hosting/traveling and how the games fit in the middle of each team's conference schedule. And the imbalance of one league having 14 teams and the other having 10 means four SEC teams are always going to be left out. 
    That said, if the bottom four teams are left out of the next two-year cycle, that's not great for Missouri - unless the Tigers make a push here the next six weeks. Same goes for Texas A&M, Vandy and Georgia. 
    Does Geist go down as Kim A's best recruit? Any of those prospects that transferred out become anything? Gill-Ceasar and couple others.
    Jakeenan Gant is having a great season at Louisiana-Lafayette: 20.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.1 blocks. Now, that's in a mid-major conference, but he's developed into a really good player. 
    Gill-Caesar never really recovered from his back injury and had to stop playing at San Diego State.
    Namon Wright is averaging about 17 minutes at Colorado and scoring 7 points a game.
    Tramaine Isabell is on his third school, averaging 11-4-3 as SLU's starting two guard. 
    KJ Walton is averaging 14-4 at Ball State.
    Willie Jackson is nearly averaging a double-double at Toledo: 9.7 points and 10.1 rebounds.
    Geist is in the running along with Gant. Puryear  has been a solid player at Mizzou, not spectacular, but has put in a lot of mileage and been part of a turnaround season.
    Hey Dave, watched a little of the BB game last night. Is it common for officials to allow offensive players to extend both arms, shoving a defender off his spot, without being called for a foul? Arkansas used this maneuver several times last night without penalty. It didn't cost us the game but, old guy here, and I don't recall seeing flagrant physicality like that in years past.
    I'm not sure what example you're talking about, but a little contact like that goes uncalled sometimes. Geist does that and gets away with it sometimes.
    Do you think Mizzou will looks for a grad transfer big? I feel like they could be solid a team next year if they found someone who could contribute at the 4.
    You don't see many bigs on the grad transfer market. Guards are usually in greater supply. High-major forwards don't grow on trees, especially after the November signing date. I would think Martin will consider all options to help the roster, especially up front.
    Dave, great point on the dark years of 2014-2017. Mizzou needs to be better. But for now I have patience with Martin.
    What would you diagnose as the issue with turnover for the hoops team? Lack of experience for a lot of the players? Lack of a solid point guard? Surely the coaches are preaching it, but the identity of Martin and the team is defense and rebounding, some teams you hear part of their identity is "taking care of the ball", so maybe lack of ball security as an identity?
  • Last night the point guards had nine of the 24 turnovers, but they haven't been to blame as much as other players in most of the other games. Geist had a rough game. They took him off the ball in the second half and he seemed to have more problems playing when he wasn't the primary ball-handler. He rushed some entry passes and just made mistakes that he hasn't made this year. More than anything, guys on the wing weren't strong catching and making passes. The Hogs deny the wings with a lot of pressure, so they're able to jump any passes that aren't thrown at the right spot at the right time.
    Watching parts of the Arkansas game, last night, it seems like Tilmon goes into his picks like a pulling guard – he seems to want to not just pick the defender but hit him. He’s an experienced player (has been doing this for, what, 15 years?) and I’m sure Counzo, et al, have been working on this … how can he still be picking up offensive fouls on picks at this point in his career?
    Good analogy with the pulling guard. That's what I saw last night, too. The coaches work with him constantly. There must be some sort of disconnect. He played great at Texas A&M, but the Aggies don't have really physical bigs like Chris Silva and they don't play with pace like Arkansas. Tilmon did a nice job controlling Gafford last night in the first half and some in the second half. But offensively he was just too reckless with his body.


    Since you are a life-long Missourian (I would guess, at least) and covered this university for, what, close to 20 years? Can you explain why the culture of its fans is so different than, say, Auburn or UGa? Mizzou has had what I would consider extended periods of success – in the 1960s, for example, only Alabama, Texas and Arkansas had a better aggregate record. But the UGa alums I work with (even those who aren’t sports fans) are far more enthusiastic about their teams, especially football.
  • I think the simple answer is Georgia has won championships at the national and conference level and winning over extended generations cultivates a fan base that grows from generation to generation. 
    Also, demographics count here, too. Georgia has about 11 million residents. Missouri has about 6 million. Missouri competes with the Kansas schools on the west side of the state, Arkansas in the south and Illinois in the east. When it comes to football, UGA is the king of its state. Sure, there are other SEC schools in neighboring states and you've got Georgia Tech in Atlanta, but when you're a state like Missouri with fewer residents and two pro markets on each side of the state - and you don't have multiple generations who are devoted to a national college football program - you're not going to have the same kind of raw strength in numbers with your fan base. 
    There's culture at play here, too. People in the traditional SEC states just care more about college football. Check out the TV ratings for any weekend in college football. Per capita, Birmingham is almost always the leader in ratings. 
    I have been a Mizzou fan for a long time and attend all football and basketball games (men & women). My seats for bb are in the upper deck. In the past, the announcer would invite fans to move closer to the court after the game has started. It seemed like a good thing, but they haven't done that for a long time. Is it the AD's decision? the coach? Seems like a good way to reward the fans who come, especially if those prime seats are empty.
    I don't recall MU doing that for men's games, only the women's games. But maybe I'm wrong. 
    Coaches don't get involved in those decisions. It would be more of an AD/department policy.
    As a policy, I think allowing folks to move down gives fans less of an incentive to buy the better seats if they know for a handful of games they can buy the cheaper seats but still move down. If I'm buying the expensive tickets and attending every game, I'm not thrilled that people spending less money are getting the same value. 
    The real solution is people who don't use their lower seats need to give them away or sell them to make sure someone's butt is in that seat. I couldn't imagine paying that much for those tickets and then letting them go empty. Then again, I could't imagine making enough money to afford those seats near the court. 
    But, as my eyeballs can attest, this isn't a Mizzou isolated situation. Texas A&M's arena was about half full on Saturday. Only 7,000-something tickets were scanned at Arkansas last night. There were sections in the top tier that were completely empty.
    OK, chatters. That's all the time I have today. We'll chat again next Thursday.
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