OK, chatters. Let's get this chat going. Nothing else in the world is happening right now, right?
She's really picked up her play since the start of SEC play. I thought she was pressing at times during nonconference play, probably because of the team's depth issues, but she's been great for the most part since conference play began. This is an NCAA bubble team. Can't afford any more bad home losses like the Bama game. I'll have a few women's hoops stories here in the next few months.
Puryear's not going anywhere. What's wrong with holding players accountable. After the game Wednesday Anderson said players have to be more aware of how officials are calling the game and can't pick up two fouls in the opening minutes. There's nothing wrong with that. Calipari makes much stronger comments about his players all the time when they make mistakes. There's a spring signing period for recruiting. Whether Missouri fires Anderson now or after the season, the program won't have a new coach hired until March. They're not going to lose any recruits in the meantime.
Why would Babb be the only player Missouri can sign? Odom and his coaches were at Parkway North today visiting Michael Thompson Jr. Ronnie Perkins at Lutheran North is a huge priority. Same with Trevor Trout at Chaminade. It doesn't sound like any of the high-profile 2018 kids are going to commit early in the process. Expect some late decisions, long drawn out recruiting adventures for these players. That's OK. This is what big-time recruiting is all about. It's a good sign that these local players are stacking up the scholarship offers. It's a unique time in St. Louis. Great situation for Missouri.
It should be, yes. Though you're seeing a stronger commitment to hoops at some of these other schools in the form of strong hires the last few years. Rick Barnes. Ben Howland. Avery Johnson. Mizzou has a strong arena that's as good as any in the SEC. The fan base is fickle but the potential is there to have a packed house and strong financial support. The local/regional recruiting base is strong enough to support a talented roster year after year. So, yes, it's a good job. But as we've learned, you need the right people in place for all those factors to create a great program.
I assume your'e talking about the 2018 class, because the 2017 class is small and pretty average. If so, this 2018 core of St. Louis recruits is attracting as much attention from power five teams and high-profile power five teams that I can recall from my time on the beat. The state overall in 2004 was loaded with power conference recruits - though a handful of those players didn't live up to the expectations.
Odom can strike out on the local recruiting scene and still survive IF he signs a bunch of productive players from elsewhere. Remember, the scoreboard doesn't care if you're from Missouri, Texas or Jupiter - as long as you win. Getting local kids is good for P.R. It's good for morale - until the season actually begins and coaches are measured by wins and losses, not stars and signees. In theory it should be easier to sign local players because you have proximity to home as a sales pitch, but sometimes you can't overcome the lure kids feel to leave home and make their own way somewhere else. Bottom line, you don't need St. Louis kids to win, but it eases a lot of concerns when you can hold off the Michigans and Ohio States and Miamis and Florida States when they cross into your border.
Not a shock at all. It was expected from the staff, especially once Jeff Thomas eliminated Missouri. There is some thought within the staff that freshman QB Micah Wilson and the 2018 QB targets are better suited to succeed Lock than Estes ever will be. And the last thing this staff needs is another East St. Louis player who doesn't see the field immediately (or at all) and lead to more complaints from across the river. That said, if they didn't think he was good enough to become MU's starting quarterback, why did they offer him a scholarship and accept his commitment? Well, duh. The staff wanted his close friend who happens to be a four-star receiver. And perhaps the staff thought they could eventually convince Estes to change positions. But Missouri has moved on. Estes has committed to Minnesota and Thomas has trimmed his options to Oregon, Miami and Louisville.
Not really, but judging by his tweets Tre'Vour Simms is happy at Missouri. I've never gotten the sense that Beckner is upset about anything at Missouri. The "bad press" came from Thomas when he said he didn't want to go to Missouri because of the playing time issues for other ESL players, and then continued with Sunkett on the radio with a few comments he made about Odom's efforts. Internally, Missouri feels good about its approach. Howard Richards, newly hired as MU's assistant AD to help with the outreach efforts in St. Louis, will make it a priority to soothe some relations in the St. Louis area. It's a concern for him. Personally, I never quite understand these "issues." You didn't hear about there being issues when Missouri was winning division titles under Gary Pinkel and playing in January bowl games. You only hear about these murmurs of STL discontent after a losing season. And you don't hear the same complaints from other parts of the state and, frankly, from other schools in the St. Louis area. I know a lot of coaches in the market and rarely, if ever, have I heard a bad word about MU's recruiting efforts. Kids decide to play for other schools, sometimes great programs in cases like Roderick Johnson and Zeke Elliott, and Missouri is portrayed as having major problems. Is Illinois getting the same scrutiny today for missing out on Thomas and Estes, who are actually in-state recruits for the Illini? It's a weird cycle that we see in this market.
I've always been impressed with Kelsey. The crowd that wants a big name who the average fan will recognize won't agree, but Missouri's next coach needs some sizzle but mostly substance. A big name will get fans back in the seats - but they won't stay long if he doesn't produce results.
It's really impossible to know at this point. If I had a better feel for Sterk then maybe I'd have more insight, but he's kept an incredibly low profile since he's been hired. Put it this way, I've had far more contact with MU's last two ADs in the last six months than I have Sterk. That said, I don't think there's one clear formula you need for this job. There are some intriguing up-and-coming mid-major head coaches who could have success here and some more established coaches with high-major experience who could win at Mizzou.
For one, let's write off the Alabama A&M game when he scored a bunch of points. That might have been the worst Division I team MU has played in ... maybe ever. (They're 1-15.) Now, Hughes did shoot well in the OT loss to Xavier, but that was clearly the outlier. When he gets his feet set and doesn't rush his form, Hughes has a decent looking shot. He doesn't always have the best decision-making. I think he can score more by attacking the basket and drawing contact. He doesn't look to pass a whole lot either. There are some obvious skills there, but he needs development.
There's not exactly a lot of great options. Phillips is clearly the one returning player who's shown the most growth. He's improved as a shooter, ball-handler and defender. He's No. 1 on my list. Barnett has skills. He just needs to figure out his role. Is he a spot-up shooter? Is he a slasher? Puryear is not a No. 1 option for a good team. He's too much of a tweener size-wise. But he has the skills to be a productive piece to a good team. I think Hughes has more upside than Walton because of his shooting potential. Walton just has no faith in his jumper. Just too one-dimensional for now. Then I guess you go with Smith. He's got to get stronger. If he's not going to bulk up and become a back-to-the-basket player, then he needs to develop an effective mid-range jumper.
I've heard those rumblings. Some people thought Mike was too much of a micromanager with his basketball coaches. If true, I'm sure that came from his time being Quin Snyder's boss. Quin needed to be micromanaged because he struggled to manage the daily demands of running a program. He was habitually late to everything. Staffers in the athletic department had to drive him around town and I've heard numerous stories that reflect just how quirky, unstable and disorganized he was. So, that could explain why Alden didn't give his hoops coaches the same leash he gave Gary Pinkel. (That much I've learned through this book project I'm doing with Gary. He and Alden had a strong working relationship, but Alden let him run the program the way he wanted to run it.) Now, does that mean Sterk will be able to attract better options? Perhaps, but I'm not sure we really know enough about Sterk to fully answer that. He had a spotty history of hiring coaches in the revenue sports at Washington State and San Diego State.
I wouldn't lump coaches and analysts in the same class. Here's why: The SEC Network/ESPN analysts work for the league and probably see themselves in some way as working for the coaches. They'll never say a negative thing about any coach in the conference. When a coach struggles, they go over the top with their praise. Some of these analysts clearly do such superficial homework on the teams they cover that they don't have a full grasp of the situation like the beat writers or local fans share. As for the other coaches, I think most of them genuinely like Kim, for the same reason most people who know Kim genuinely like him. He's kind, he's down to earth, he's self-depracting, he's admirable in just about every way. And almost every SEC coach who plays Missouri gets to watch his team beat up on Kim's teams, and I think some of them genuinely feel bad for the guy because his situation is so bleak. Most of these coaches know and understand Missouri's basketball history. Because Norm Stewart is so involved with national organizations, like Coaches vs. Cancer, current coaches have strong feelings about the guy - and his apprentice. I'm sure some coaches would love to see Kim stay at Missouri and the program stay at the bottom of the standings, but most of these guys genuinely like each other and are earnest in their comments.
Well, considering two years ago this week our newly inaugurated 45 was firing Lorenzo Lamas on "The Apprentice" I might be inclined to go with D. Stranger things have happened. More seriously, though, I guess I'll go with .... A? If you can have a top 25 basketball team, you're in the tournament. And then it's all about matchups and how you play in four games on neutral courts to reach the Final Four. To reach the CWS, you also have to be among the nation's top 64 teams, but you either have to have such a strong season that you host a regional or you play on a really good team's home field. Then comes a super regional, likely on the home field of another really good team. I'd say Missouri's baseball program is a long way from reaching Omaha. As for football, you've got to have an elite regular season and if not win the SEC championship, go 11-1 and hope for some help elsewhere. If the playoff structure were in place in 2007 and 2013, Missouri would have been really close.
I think you mean Kim Anderson. I would be surprised if he's the coach next year. This program is in really bad shape. He got the roster he wanted, all players he recruited, and MU has gotten worse. This is a historically bad stretch. Empty seats fill Mizzou Arena. Recruits are leaving the state in droves.
How much time do you have? The two high-profile programs are struggling, no doubt. I wouldn't put football in basketball's category. There's a lot more to be hopeful about with football right now, though it's no given Odom will make the Tigers relevant again in the SEC. As for hoops, how did it happen? Coaching hires, roster turnover, recruiting mistakes. It's not that difficult to diagnose.
I agree that his credentials are in line with what Sterk should be looking for. That doesn't mean it will happen. Does he want to coach in the SEC or in the Midwest? A lot of good jobs, some better than Missouri, some similar, come open every year. I don't really see any negatives that would scare away a high-major program, but I think there will be competition depending on the jobs that are vacant.
There was a report last year that he turned down an interview for the UNLV job, but I don't know how accurate that is.
He just turned 34. That's really young. But he's been on five Division I staffs and has done a nice job at VCU so far. You've got to have a really good feel for his potential when you hire a coach that young - or get some really strong recommendations from more proven coaches who know him well.
Gardiner still plans to visit Texas, so I wouldn't say he's reaffirmed anything. Don't be seduced by tweets. Missouri's got a challenge from the Horns on this one. Otherwise, there are still a few D-linemen out there Missouri is pursuing. D-end Zion Debose is probably the highest regarded of the uncommitted players still on MU's radar. He's also considering Pitt and some others.
Howland didn't have infractions - just some bad P.R. And it was pretty mild. Some of the LA AAU programs had some frustrations with him, but Missouri was worried about the optics of the Sports Illustrated story that uncovered some of the issues Howland had with a handful of players. Forbes was fired because of what unfolded at Tennessee under their watch, but I think enough time has passed that his baggage is much lighter. Forbes had only a one-year show-cause. He coached at Wichita State for a couple years and was given his own D-I program at East Tennessee State. I assume his Tennessee gig will always come up in any job interview he has for the rest of his career, but I doubt it's a deal-breaker.
Too early for me to speculate on who might or might not leave. Those players have no idea what they'll do and won't know until they know who the next coach will be. Yes, there will be at minimum two available scholarships.
Turned on Mike Anderson? I don't really recall that happening. He got some criticism for the way he handled his departure, when he didn't face the media and snuck out of Mizzou Arena when it was surrounded by reporters looking for him. But that was fair criticism at the time.
I'm going to assume this is a serious question. Now, seriously, ask yourself why would someone in the middle of a $22 million contract with an NBA playoff team - one of the historic franchises in all of sports - leave for the college program that for three years running has been the worst in the SEC if not all of the six major conferences?
Easier said than done. It's no fun losing.
OK, folks. That's all for me today. Enjoy your weekend.