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, Mizzou chatters. Just finished recording the latest Eye on the Tigers podcast. I've got my ears on the SEC basketball teleconference and my eyes on the chat ... so busy morning. Let's get to this. I'll be here to take your questions for the next couple hours.
    I am very impressed w/ the free throw shooting. That is an indication of good fundamentals. Then I considered the notion that is much easier to shoot free throws in an empty arena as opposed to a packed house...
    The arena wasn't empty on Tuesday or Saturday at Alabama.
    Daves Fave. FB Recruiting Question. I've noticed a quite a few offers to Dual Threat QB's. Is the Dual Threat the best QB for Drink's System? Does Bazelak fit in Drink's System?
    I appreciate the question, but I think it's time to retire the "dual threat" QB designation. It's a really antiquated term and has been for years. Patrick Mahomes might be the best passer the NFL has ever seen - and was a lethal running threat in the AFC championship game. Even going back to Chase Daniel, he was a valuable running threat at Mizzou - and was widely considered a "pocket passer." QBs in today's game have to be mobile. They don't have to be Lamar Jackson, but you're just not seeing pocket stiffs coming up in the game any more. The recruiting sites still use the term "dual threat" to describe high school QBs who might be better suited to play a different position, but most QBs attracting Power Five attention are better athletes these days and can make plays with their feet. 
    That said, Drinkwitz likes having a dynamic QB who can do more than just throw the ball. But I'd say that's the case for most offensive coaches in today's game. Read option packages are far more credible when your QB is a running threat.  
    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for these chats. I know you find it frustrating, but I expect the “fire Cuonzo” drumbeat to continue as long as the team keeps playing poorly.

    On that note, I’m actually happy we can’t fire him this year – that approach hasn’t suited Mizzou well recently. In the 21 years since Norm retired we’ve hired every type of coach: Snyder -pedigreed young hotshot; Mike Anderson – proven mid-major; Haith – no one wants this job so Alden hired any warm body not named Kim Anderson; Kim Anderson; Martin – I don’t know...journeyman with decent recruiting record? Next stop is what, the KU football route and hire a former great past his prime?

    No one other than Mike Anderson has had even somewhat sustained success. And in addition to shopping his resume every year, you could make the argument that after the 2012 senior class Anderson had a fairly empty player pipeline.

    So, my question after that long preface; are the problems with Mens BB more institutional than Xs and Os? Is there something about the program or Ath. Dept that keeps top coaches and top recruits from coming to Mizzou? Seriously, in 2011 we had a top 15 roster and could only get Frank Haith. That screams institutional issues.
    I don't think this is an institutional problem. It comes down to who's making the hire and the factors behind the hiring process. All five situations have been very different. Mizzou could have gone different avenues when it hired Kim Anderson but restrictions were put on the AD during the hiring process. There are a lot of coaches out there at other programs that Mizzou could have hired at different times in the last 20 years. Bob Huggins. Frank Martin. I've been told Buzz Williams wanted this job in the past when there were openings. Tom Crean wanted it last time around. 
    So, I don't think we can paint with a broad brush and fairly compare decisions to hire Snyder, Mike Anderson, Haith, Kim Anderson with the decision to hire Martin. For one, the same AD was in charge of the first four hires - and not Martin. Also, it's not like Mizzou settled for Martin off the scrap heap. Illinois tried hiring him, too. 
    Morning Dave ... On two plays vs. A&M, the ball moved briskly around the perimeter, four, five, six passes. And then I realized: the Tigers look like they're playing hot potato, as in, "I don't feel confident shooting, you take it," "no, you take it." I also realized that without Kobe B. we were in trouble. But, I've also seen teams missing two or three cogs pull it together to gut out a win. I'm from Jersey, and when you watch this rejuvenated Rutgers team play and pass you see a confident team. Not so with the Tigers. Also, why was Jackson kept on the bench when you're down two key starters? He's 6-8 and fluid, albeit inexperienced. He'll wind up in the portal like McKinney (although the kid's explanation was absurd), and then where's Cuonzo at. This team gives effort, but boy are they exasperating!
    I'd call those passes in the second half much better ball movement, not hot potato. That's by design and something good teams do to exploit favorable matchups and find open shooters. It's no coincidence that MU made its comeback when the ball movement was more urgent and deliberate. 
    As for Tray Jackson, he really struggled on the defensive end when he played at Alabama. Martin talks all the time about players having to carry out their assignments and bringing the scouting report to the floor. Players who struggle with defensive mental mistakes aren't going to get consistent minutes for Martin. And if we've learned anything from Martin the last few years, when the team is in a rut he's going to defer to his veteran players, the guys he trusts more to not make costly mistakes. 
    I'm going to the game Saturday as it is the closest to where I now live. Do we have a chance to be close, or am I going to go home disappointed? What does West Virginia look like this year?
    Hate to spoil your plans, but Missouri-West Virginia is probably the biggest mismatch in the 10 Big 12/SEC Challenge games based on how both teams are trending heading into the weekend. Missouri has lost five of six, the worst stretch of the 10 SEC teams in the field; WVU has won four of five and playing as well as any Big 12 team, right there with Baylor and Kansas. And WVU is 9-0 at home and always hard to beat in Morgantown. 
    Based on some of the metrics - and this is hard to believe - you can make a case this is the best defensive team Bob Huggins' has ever coached. You're talking about a deserving Hall of Fame coach whose built his career on lockdown defenses - and this could be his best defensive team. 
    Just a few minutes ago on the SEC conference call, John Calipari said he recently told Huggins that this West Virginia team might be good enough to win it all this year. 
    Dave, have you heard anything about incoming recruits for next year because I believe that Mizzou only has 2 available, Nikko's and McKinley's. They certainly need help, I can't remember many teams that shoot worse than this Mizzou team.
    Jordan Wilmore, the 7-3 center from Baltimore, is the only player Missouri signed in the early signing period.
    Lots of time to fill that other spot - and any more that come open. And there could be some Cuonzo specialties in the spring: He's signed a lot of players over the years who backed out of commitments or letters of intent to other schools after head-coaching changes. 
    Hey Dave,
    All football questions (in basketball season no less, not a good sign).
    With Coach Drinkwitz being QB centric, what is the current status of our QB pool? Is Shawn Robinson fully healthy, and how is Connor Bazelak doing?

    What expectations do you have for signing day? I know he's been hitting the trail but I've only seen 2 names pop up.

    Lastly, I know that Coach Drinkwitz reached to Coach Pinkel and that Coach Pinkel was positive over that. Comment how you wish towards that.

    and Dave much appreciated that you do this.
  • Don't worry, there are lots of hoops questions in the hopper.
    Shawn Robinson is healthy by all accounts. He'll have a great chance to win the job this fall. He's the most game experienced. Taylor Powell is still in the mix. He got his first real taste of game experience last season. Connor Bazelak is coming off major knee surgery but has said he expects to be ready for the start of the season. Brady Cook moved to campus this week, but you've got to think a freshman will be a long shot. 
    As for signing day, MU has just one commitment from a D-tackle. Drinkwitz has made it clear he wants a couple linemen on both sides of the ball, a defensive back and "a touchdown maker." Signing day is less than two weeks away, so his staff has some big weekends coming up for official visits.
    On Pinkel, I know he's open to lending his experience/advice to Drinkwitz, but he's not going to have an office in the facility and become a coach emeritus. If Drinkwitz is smart - and he seems to be just that - he'll take time to get to know Pinkel and lean on him when it comes to certain situations and big-picture topics. 
  • Congrats on your amazing award and thanks for the chats!

    What does Mens bball lack that could get us to a perennial NCAA team. CM has been highlighting the positionless bball, but I havent seen much rewards from that our stats that make us better. Thoughts?
  • This team doesn't play that position-less style that Martin talked about before the 2018-19 season. That was a thought when he had Jontay Porter on the roster - because Jontay was such a versatile player who could play at multiple spots on the floor - but even though this team has some guys who can play different spots, the rotations are fairly rigid. Mitchell Smith is a 4 who can move to the 5 when Nikko/Tilmon go to the bench. Dru Smith and Pinson are interchangeable at the 1 and 2. Mark Smith, Pickett and Watson can play on the wing (2/3). Kobe Brown is probably the most versatile. He can play on the wing or at the 4 or 5 in a small lineup. 
    This team clearly lacks a go-to scorer who's consistent every night. Martin's system doesn't rely on 1-on-1 shot blockers, but they don't have much rim protection. Also with Tilmon on the sideline, there's not much of an inside scoring threat among the bigs. 
    Thanks for the note on the award. It was a great honor.
  • Why is MIzzou playing WV in the SEC-Big 12 challenge. WV is ranked 14th, the 3rd highest Big 12 ranked team. Mizzou is 12th in the SEC with one win, only ahead of winless Mississippi and Vanderbilt. Mizzou finished 12th in last year’s SEC. looks like a mismatch to me especially at WV. If Mizzou can’t win at home vs TXAM, why are the paired with the 3rd best Big 12 team?
  • The leagues try to make competitive matchups, but the pairings were formally set back in July. WVU was coming off a 15-21 season. They were worse than Mizzou last year - and projected near the bottom of the Big 12 standings this year. The matchup made sense based on what was expected of these teams. But credit to Huggins and his team: They're one of the biggest surprises of the year at least based on preseason projections. It's not a surprise that he has a Final Four contender, but that was not the expectation heading into the season.
  • Where will HC ED have issues with position players? Are you sold on our QB position players? Which position needs to step up for us to have a better year?
    I'd have some concerns about defensive end, maybe tight end, receiver and across the O-line, just based on what's returning. At least Shawn Robinson has played at this level. He wasn't incredibly productive at TCU, but he has more game experience than some of the guys who will start along the O-line. Does Missouri have any proven difference-makers at receiver? I like the 1-2 punch at running back but MU will have to squeeze more production out of the receivers or turn to some untested players to emerge there. Defensive end returns experience just not a lot of production.
    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but is it time pull Reed Nikko from the starting lineup and maybe keep him on the bench most of the time? I still think he’s still our best option in terms of reliability and positional basketball, but the team is going nowhere right now. Even though I’m a fan, Reed can’t save this team or Martin’s job (particularly not next season).

    Forget your standard line that “Martin doesn’t trust Jackson on defense” and put yourself in as coach. You’re 1-5 in the SEC with 14 months of job security; don’t you want to at least put your 6 or 7 best athletes in game situations as much as possible? Brown, Jackson, Pinson, Watson, Mark and Dru and maybe even see what Dr O’kongo can learn in 10 games?
    Fans and some media get way too caught up in who starts. As much as Martin substitutes, why does it matter who's out there for the opening tip? In the last eight games, Nikko has played more than 20 minutes just twice. Twice. He's a part-time player. And he's not asked to be Shaq out there. He's a fairly reliable defender in the post. He makes the right decision on offense and does his job. They're not asking him to score 10 points a game. Besides, Mitchell Smith is the team's primary big man. He just doesn't start at the five.
    I like the energy that ED brings to our team. How are the other new asst coaches with the media?
    Good question. They haven't talked to the media. I've tried but to arrange for interviews with some but haven't gotten any access. Hopefully that changes soon.
    Which RB on current roster fits Drink's "Downhill Running Attack" and why?
    Rountree and Badie fit just fine. They can both get north and south. Dawson Downing, too.
    Dave, is there hope for the men's basketball team? Ben Fred says they are not far away from being viable. A loss at home to Texas A&M makes me think otherwise. Thanks.
  • I don't see this team going on a run to get back into the NCAA tourney discussion. I don't think that means the rest of the season is meaningless. They've painted themselves into a corner, but I don't watch this team and sense a helpless situation like I sensed during each of the Kim Anderson years. There's clearly more talent on this team and they're more competitive by most measures. But other than free throws, they don't have a clear strength or true identity.
  • What was your highest viewed story of 2019. How about ever (at any of your jobs).

    Is mens bball lacking an elite recruiter? Seems like schools like Illinois have Walker and Antigua, who are good recruiters. Do we need to shake things up to get better results? I get loyalty, but things arent' working as planned
    For 2019, my most-read story was the profile on Maty Mauk and his new life in Springfield. I'm not sure about the most-read story I've ever written. I wrote a long Pinkel story about his childhood back in 2007 that got a lot of traction. A couple days after the Joplin tornado I spent a day with Pinkel and MU players and wrote about their experience volunteering with the clean-up. I think people read that and it won an award. 
    As for Martin's staff, he's a pretty loyal guy to his staffers, but if this season keeps trending this direction I think it would be wise to take a hard look at his staff and consider some upgrades. 
    Why doesn’t Tray Jackson play more?
    I touched on this earlier. Defensive mistakes. His conditioning was a factor in a game earlier this year.
    Any idea where McKinney, Jr. might land? Was SLU recruiting him very much in high school and are they an option now?
    From what I've heard SLU will not be an option. Not sure where he'll land. 
    He only took one recruiting visit in high school - to Mizzou - and while he listed other high-major offers, I'm not sure how viable all of those were. 
    If he was a problem at Mizzou - and judging by his suspension and some of the comments he made on social media - word will travel fast back to SLU. Don't forget, Travis Ford's son plays for Mizzou. 
    Who are potential "break out stars" in football for this upcoming season that we have not heard much about
    These questions are a bit puzzling especially after a disappointing year, because if there were some legit breakout candidates on the roster wouldn't they have seen the field already? I guess you can point to Maurice Massey at receiver. He showed signs in camp of being a dynamic pass-catcher and saw the field early - then disappeared. On defense, maybe Stacy Brown at outside linebacker/strong safety. He arrived with a good frame for a freshman. I'd like to see what Aubrey Miller can do if he stays healthy. Martez Manuel and Jalani Williams will be primed to take over in the secondary after Bledsoe and Gillespie move on.
    What two players from the past 10 years would you love to have on the current mens bball team (i.e. would improve us the most). Curious to see what positions would be most beneficial
  • If you're asking me personally then it's a matter of who gives the best interview, not necessarily who would help the team win more. So I take it you're asking the latter category. Marcus Denmon is an obvious choice. Great scorer, great leader, great teammate. He's a no-brainer. Then I think you go with Ricardo Ratliffe. He wasn't the biggest guy but he was an efficient, reliable post scorer. This team could use that badly. 
    Were they the most talented players from the last 10 years? Probably not. Michael Porter Jr. and Jordan Clarkson were probably the most gifted, but for what those guys were in college and what this particular team needs, I'd go with Denmon and Ratliffe. Phil Pressey another option, but I don't think point guard is a glaring need for this team. Kassius Robertson would be another major help. 
    No one other than Mike Anderson has had even somewhat sustained success? Um, Quin Synder has a winning record in the NBA (four seasons I believe) after a somewhat controversial tenure at Mizzou. My question, are the Tigers out classed on the court, being out-coached or both?
    Are they being outcoached now or over the last 20 years? I'm not sure what you're asking.
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