Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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




    Hello, chatters. Greetings from Nashville, where we're hosting today's chat before heading over to Bridgestone Arena for round 2 of the SEC tournament. I'll be here for the next two hours and change to take your questions.
    I'm going to take Geist's side on that last second shot he was forced to take Saturday v Ole Miss. I'm pretty sure CM told him he was the man he wanted to take the shot. I think Cuozo needs to develop a better "end of game" strategy next year to end these late losses and bad last possessions.
    Geist was looking for Watson to get open for a 3 but didn't have a clear pass to him. Puryear was also open on the perimeter for 3. Sometimes you have to give credit to the other team for defending the play the right way and not giving the ball-handler the best options.
    So much floating around the web about Jontay Porter: he's got to come back vs. no way he comes back. He lives in Denver, has a girlfriend in West Virginia, is never seen in Columbia ... or is it he lives in WV, his girlfriend is in Denver, and he's always around CoMo. Etc. Could you just lay it out there for us about what is going on with Jontay Porter? I guess I brought up the "he's never around" part because, if true, that's kind of disappointing. I mean, officially, he's still a teammate.
    I have seen Jontay Porter no more than three times since the start of the regular season. He was on the bench for two home games, at least before tipoff, and on the bench in St. Louis for the Illinois game. He hasn't done any interviews with the media that cover the team. He's been in Colorado doing his rehab while taking online classes. Cuonzo was asked about Porter about three weeks ago and cut off the question about three words in, saying he didn't have any sense for what Porter would do after the season. I do not expect him back for next season. He's still projected as a first-round pick in this summer's draft. The draft is not as deep as last year and 6-11 centers who can pass and shoot 3s will always be in high demand because there's such a short supply. Maybe he officially announces that he'll make himself available for the draft once the season is over.
    How's the SEC-Tournament-in-Nashville experience compared to the SEC-in-STL experience? Will the league ever come back here?
  • The tournament's home will be in Nashville. The tourney will stay here through 2030 with one exception, Tampa in 2022. The league has a five-year option to extend the contract with Nashville through 2035. Obviously I'm partial to St. Louis being a native and an employee of the Post-Dispatch, but Nashville is a better host city for this event. It's a better downtown area for visitors in terms of food and nightlife. It's a closer locale to most SEC towns. That's nothing against St. Louis. Last year's tournament was fine - but the location, the attractions and, usually, the weather is just better here in Nashville.
  • I know the main points are football and basketball, but Steve Bieser has the baseball team looking really good on this five game win streak. How do you think they will fare with SEC play coming up? Possible make it to the NCAA Tourney?
  • Bottom line, they're going to have to hit. They should have a decent pitching staff again. The team defense is solid. Taylor Stadium is a pitcher's park, so there's no margin for error for the pitchers because they're probably not going to get a lot of run support at home. The schedule so far has not exactly been very challenging. The true tests will come in SEC play. Missouri is just No. 129 in the RPI heading into the weekend series at Arkansas. The league is unforgiving. I'd like to see Mizzou become more relevant in this conference, but they've got to find ways to score runs.
  • How quickly does Michael Porter Sr. exit the program after this weekend (barring an unlikely NIT/NCAA bid)? For the $600K we paid for 30 games of his lesser kid, I hope it's monday morning.
  • I'm not going to speculate on that. We'll see what happens.
  • It would seem the parent / USC Athletic Dept scandal would kind of push Mizzou's crime/punishment into the absolutely ridiculous realm.
  • I don't follow. The scandal with the celebrity parents isn't an NCAA case at this point. It's an FBI investigation. The schools weren't giving out improper benefits to athletes. Just the opposite. They were giving benefits that should go to athletes to non-athletes.
  • When one tunes into a SEC BB game you never know what fun facts will come out of the announcers mouths. Last night they said Sophie Cunningham and Kelsey Winfrey were both kickers on their high schools. Who knew that?
    I wonder what they’ll come up with today.
  • It's been well documented that Sophie kicked in a game for Rock Bridge HS. It wasn't a season-long job. Their kicker got hurt and she stepped in for a game or two from what I recall. I wasn't aware of Winfrey.
  • Ok, follow up on MPS question. Last summer you maintained that he would NOT rejoin as a coach if Jontay left. Can you still make the same claim?
    That's what I was told at the time last year. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a mutual decision for Sr. to pursue other interests, but from what I've gathered it's not as absolute this time around. Folks in this program are relatively tight-lipped. Martin runs a tight ship with very few, if any leaks. It was the same way for him at Tennessee.
    Was the Ole Miss loss the final nail in the NIT coffin, or could a win today (highly unlikely) be enough to get them into the NIT talk?
    The magic number is 17 wins. No at-large team the last five years has made the NIT field without winning 17 games. Mizzou is at 15 now. Maybe a win today pushes Mizzou into the field of 32, but it could come down to conference tournaments. Who wins? Who's in? Who's out?
    Sorry to continue to beat this drum: if it's not an absolute (MPS leaving), what would be the rationale for keeping him other than he has a contract? He doesn't seem to add value. Sorry, I'll put it this way: Absent MPJ/Jontay, what value does MPS add as a coach that would exceed the value of a new, better-recruiter, assistant?

    I promise that's the end of the MPS line of inquiry.
    That's for Cuonzo to answer. I know it's popular to say Porter Sr. doesn't contribute anything to the staff. Can anyone spell out what exactly the other staff members contribute? I'm not saying they don't add value to the program, but as long as we're keeping score of one coach, what about the others? I've always maintained that basketball assistants don't matter nearly as much as football assistants. In hoops, the head coach coaches the game. It's his system, his offense, his defense. He calls the plays, he runs the huddles. He's the primary recruiter and handles a much smaller sampling of targets than what a football head coach manages.
    Not sure if you have been asked this already, but how would you compare Kelly Bryant to Brad Smith when #16 was in his prime for MU? I am just trying to get a read on what type of quarterback Kelly will be. I am a huge Brad Smith fan and was at the Illinois game when he introduced himself as a Freshman. IMO he was the start of a resurgence for Mizzou...I hope that Bryant can do the same.
  • I'd pause before making that comparison. Smith was an elite talent as a runner. Bryant is an effective runner - but not a guy who's going to rush for 1,000 yards, like Smith did three of his four seasons at Missouri. Bryant completed 66 percent of his passes at Clemson. That's pretty good in any system. Smith was at 56.3 percent for his career - with only one season better than 60 percent. It's fair to say Bryant is a more polished passer but not an electric, once-in-a-generation type runner like Smith.
    KJ Santos - is there reason to believe perhaps he's less than fully healthy? Obviously Youtube highlight videos are just that - highlights - but he certainly looks more explosive on them than he has at Missouri. Is there a chance that he just has never fully recovered from the offseason foot problems he was having?
    When he was asked about Santos last week, Martin basically said that this is the time of year when coaches shorten their bench and play their best players. The foot is healthy enough for him to play but I suspect it set back his season so much that he's never been in the best shape to be an impact player. Santos just isn't producing. He adds nothing on the offensive end on a consistent basis and doesn't appear athletic enough to handle quicker forwards on the defensive end.
    Hi Dave-- Please accept my apologies in advance as I have been unable to keep up with the chat sessions for weeks now, so if the question(s) that I am about to ask regarding Kevin Puryear have been asked and answered by you ad nauseum, I apologize. So what I am wanting to know about him is what are considered the biggest reasons for his struggles this year? Is Cuonzo to blame for those struggles at all? Don't get me wrong--I love the kid, he's been a great Missouri Tiger and has represented the program and the University well as far as seemingly being a good kid of high character. But it can't be denied that his overall performance this year--in this, his senior year--was a huge unexpected disappointment and that it arguably has been his worst year as a player; even worse than any of his first two years under Kim Anderson! I know expectations were low this year after the loss of Jontay Porter, and then became even lower once we lost Mark Smith for the year. But I still say this team could have at least been NIT-caliber if Puryear would have been any kind of factor this year just like he had been the previous three. Sorry for the long post, and I look forward to hearing your comments on this.
    He plays a pivotal position in this offense and just hasn't raised his level of play in terms of scoring at the rim or shooting consistently well. He can knock down shots. I'm sure once his minutes went down that starts to affect confidence. The struggles to contribute got in his head, he admitted last week. He didn't respond as well when Martin started slashing his minutes. I'm sure when he got on the floor he pressed to produce and that only made things worse. He's an incredibly conscientious guy who has been nothing but committed to this team for four years. He never dodges the tough questions and he's faced his share the last four years. Tough year but he's handled it with impressive composure.
    Dave, is what Jontay doing pretty typical for injured star athletes? I agree it's about being a team player and being with the team. But it's also his life and he has a future in basketball. Thoughts?
    Again, I haven't talked to Jontay all season, not since he suffered his injury. He hasn't been available to local media. He's not around the team. Unique situation but similar to what his brother did last year with the back injury ... until he came back in March. I can't recall a dynamic like this with any other injured Mizzou athlete, but the Porters have always been unique.
    Mitchell Smith has something you can’t teach. He is 6’10”, but he looks pencil thin when he goes inside the paint with the big boys. He has. a decent shot from his rare appearances in the last couple of weeks, but he needs to bulk up in the offseason. If you can count on him as a force down low, the trio of Tilmon, Nikko and Mitchell Smith could add to a more successful year in 2019-20 than they had this year.
  • Agreed. He has to add bulk and strength, but you can see the skills. The shot. The rebounding. The energy. I believe he can develop into an effective shot-blocker. He's got to work on his ball-handling and decision-making, but Martin hasn't lost faith in him by any means. He'll have a role next season.
  • Referring to your twitter comment regarding Martin's praise of Pinson being somewhat rare: Does he seem harder on Pinson than other players? If so, any insight why? By all measures, the kid seems tough as nails and (on twitter) committed to staying at Mizzou - so perhaps Martin sees 4 star talent (see last night) that requires pushing the kid harder than others.
    Martin is tough on young point guards. Just ask Blake Harris. He says all the time it's the hardest position to play on the floor and it's the hardest position to learn at this level for a freshman. He sets incredibly high standards for the primary ball-handler and the primary on-ball defender. You need to be a leader in one way or another to earn Martin's trust at the position.You're starting to see those qualities start to emerge. He's got a really bright future in this program.
    Hypothetical - you have to choose between bringing back Mike Anderson or Quin Snyder, at their current ages and post-Mizzou careers, to be the head coach of Mizzou basketball again. Who do you pick?
    I'll take my chances with Snyder. You know what you're going to get with Anderson. His teams are never terrible. They're never elite. They're seemingly always a bubble team or at best a 4 or 5 seed in the NCAAs. 
    Could Quin learn the NCAA playbook and embrace a culture that's compliant, or at least compliant enough? If so, I think he'd be able to recruit. We know he knows the game. I just don't think he's interested in the college game any more. He's carved out a nice career as an NBA coach. But it would be fascinating to see 52-year-old Quin coach the Tigers instead of 32-year-old Quin.
    Dave, let's take a break and talk baseball. Bieser's non-conference schedule prior to starting SEC play is underwhelming to say the least. They're going to go down to Fayetteville this weekend and be in for a rude awakening. Hopefully they won't get short gamed in all three! Why do you think that he schedules these lightweight teams? Is it to build confidence in his players or an attempt to fatten up the overall record?
    He's talked about wanting to upgrade the schedule, but the reality is, when you play in the SEC, you don't need to play tough nonconference games. If your'e .500 in this league and don't have a handful of bad noncon losses, you'll make an NCAA regional. That should be the goal for Missouri every year. Finish with enough wins in the SEC to make a regional and then take your chances from there.
    Given they would earn one. What are your odds that MU FB will get to play in a bowl game this season. The bowl sanction overturned..
  • No sense in making predictions on this. Missouri NEVER expected to get a postseason ban, so there's no telling how the the appeals committee will decide this. The team is taking a healthy approach and just assuming that they will play a 12-game schedule. If the ban is overturned, they'll have the wins to play in a bowl, which by then will seem like a nice, unexpected bonus.
    Dave call.me a deluded optimist if you want, but I think downtown STL has very good chance of changing for the better in the years to come what with the (hopeful) addition of the new MLS team and the Ballpark Village additions, both of which should help bring an influx of younger people to reside and spend more time in downtown which in turn can help to bring more restaurants, bars, etc that STL currently lacks compared to Nashville. Hopefully the SEC will reconsider giving STL another opportunity when they see those improvements to the area in the years to come.
    That being said, I was livid with Cuonzo & co for blowing it last year--it was a golden opportunity for STL to show the SEC as well as the nation what a huge passionate proud fan base exists in the STL area for Mizzou and college basketball in general, and the team chokes in the first round of the SEC Tournament to a bad Georgia team. It truly ranks as one of my biggest disappointments as a lifelong STL/Mizzou sports fan.
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