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.

    Greetings, Mizzou chatters. Lots to discuss, I'm sure. Jim Sterk is scheduled to meet with reporters later this afternoon to discuss a variety of topics, so I'll have coverage later today after this chat. Let's get this started.
    My buddy, Tbakes, is looking for a reason to be excited about Mizzou football in 2019. What can say to him?
    Well, you can start with Kelly Bryant at quarterback, Albert Okwuegbunam at tight and and Larry Rountree at running back. Outside of Alabama, is there a better QB-RB-TE/WR combination in the SEC next year? MU returns three starters on a good O-line. Good young talent at receiver. Some important pieces return for a defense that improved last year: Elliott, Garrett, Holmes, Acy, Gillespie. 
    Schedule is more favorable. Sure, there could be a postseason ban pending the appeals process, but there should be a lot about this team that excites fans for 2019.
    Are the sanctions effecting recruitment yet?
    That's pretty hard to measure so early in the process. I'm sure Odom will be transparent with recruits and tell them where things stand with the appeals process. Any penalty that MU appeals doesn't go into effect until the NCAA appeals committee makes a final ruling, which could take a year. So, the recruiting restrictions and scholarship reductions won't factor into how the staffs recruit this spring and summer. At some point, though, if those penalties are upheld, then the coaches will have to make MAJOR adjustments to their recruiting routines and schedules. Coaches won't be able to go on the road to recruit for seven weeks. That could have drastic effects on how they're able to build inroads and evaluate prospects.
    Is NET the new RPI basketball ratings system? It is on the NCAA website so is this the official NCAA ratings?
    Yes, the NET has replaced the RPI. Here's how the NCAA described the NET rankings: "The NCAA Evaluation Tool, which will be known as the NET, relies on game results, strength of schedule, game location, scoring margin, net offensive and defensive efficiency, and the quality of wins and losses."
    One major difference with the NET: No longer does the date of the game factor into the rankings. A November win is no more or less valuable than a February win. Also, when it comes to winning margin, you're not rewarded for anything more than a 10-point win, which means a 50-point win is rated as high as a 10-point win. That was put into the equation to discourage teams running up the score to boost their rankings. 
    Dave, great work as always! Any sense that Mark Smith will play Saturday? Any injury update on Tilmon after Tuesday's game? Thanks.
    Martin didn't express any concern with Tilmon's knee after the game Tuesday. Tilmon had an ice pack on his knee after the game - he didn't stop for interviews - and seemed to be walking fine. From what I understand he's OK. Martin will meet with the media tomorrow. 
    As for Mark Smith, no telling at this point. A week ago Martin thought he would play against Auburn - and that obviously didn't happen. At this point, we'll know he's playing when he checks into a game.
    How many credit hours does an athlete student need in a semester? I assume he can take the easiest math, 101 classes, etc. that all students can take? If he is a football player in his senior year he doesn't have to finish the last semester?
  • I believe the minimum hours a student athlete must take are 12 per semester. They have to take classes that advance to their chosen major once they choose a major. Are you asking if a senior has to finish the spring semester? Well, technically not if he doesn't care about graduating and he's already finished up his eligibility. But these days a lot of players earn their undergraduate degree before their eligibility is up. And most coming through MIzzou's football program have eventually finished their degrees. Graduation rate under Pinkel and Odom has always been high.
  • Have any QBs put their name in the transfer portal yet? If not, do you think they will compete in spring ball and the ones that are not in the top 3-4 will transfer out?
    Not to my knowledge. Micah Wilson will work at receiver for spring practices. As of now, Taylor Powell, Jack Lowary and Lindsey Scott Jr. were all on the roster. I definitely expect Powell to stay. Lowary indicated late last fall that he will stay and said he looks forward to working with Kelly Bryant. Anybody who wishes to transfer may want to wait until after spring practices to see where they stand on the depth chart.
    Possible Mizzou lands 3 guys from the Vashon-CBC game? Likely?
    Well, we know Missouri is getting one of them in Mario McKinney. There's a lot of steep competition for the other two, CBC's Caleb Love and Vashon's Cam'Ron Fletcher. If Mizzou can get one of those two that would be huge for the program. Both would be monumental. Bluebloods are after those two 2020 targets. Won't be easy.
    How do you rank the following 4 places in Como? Shakespeares, Booches, CJs, and Gumbys
    It all depends on the setting, the group (whole family, colleagues, work lunch, guys' night out), plus the time of day. 
    Gumby's is fine late night after a few adult beverages when nothing else is open, but if we're talking actual dinner time, the other three are preferred - and fairly interchangeable. 
    I've been craving CJ's wings lately, so they would be No. 1 by default. 

    - Do you think the SEC will expand soon?

    - What are the chances the SEC gets Oklahoma and OSU? If not, who would you take?

    - Do you think Oklahoma City is a big enough TV market for the SEC to want?
  • I don't think expansion/realignment will be a serious topic until the next wave of media rights contracts come open for renegotiations. Also, with all the cord-cutting that's happened, I'm not sure TV ratings will be the all-powerful measurement when conferences decide who they want to add in another round of realignment.
    And even then, I'm not sure there are natural additions that would please the current SEC membership enough to make the move. Would Texas allow the Oklahoma schools to leave the Big 12 without putting up a fight? Right now, the Sooners are in a pretty good spot in the Big 12 with fewer conference teams to compete against and a fairly clean path to the playoff most years. I'm not sure OU is wild about joining an SEC West Division with Alabama, Auburn, LSU, A&M in their way of a playoff spot. 
  • Dave, appreciate your chats.

    Will David Gibbs be an on-field coach or defensive analyst with Missouri?
    He'll be one of Odom's 10 assistant coaches on the field. MU hasn't confirmed yet if he'll coach safeties or corners, but I imagine it'll be one of the two.
    Mizzou got 5 of the PD’s top 30 recruits which is better than they got in the past couple of years. Illinois got more from this group than I would have expected but I guess Lovie Smith’s hiring of the Trinity head coach last year is the reason the Trinity players chose the Illini?
    Keep in mind, that list isn't the area's top 30 recruits in the mind of Missouri's coaches. They value CJ Boone a lot more than the folks who put together that list, seeing that Mizzou wanted Boone and he's only No. 19 on the list, behind seven players Missouri didn't even offer. Minnesota signed three area players and none held Missouri offers. Missouri didn't view Isaiah Williams as a quarterback and he wants to play QB, so he was never much on MU's radar. Of the players on that list who didn't sign with Missouri, Odom's staff wouldn't have taken any more than five and maybe just four. That's OK. They don't rely solely on the in-state or St. Louis area players to fill their classes. They're happy with the Michigan and Texas players they landed.
    I read somewhere that the NCAA has a transfer data base. Is the NCAA the middleman for players who want to leave one school and go to another? I guess this applies to graduate transfers also. I thought the individual player did all the work and am surprised the NCAA is in the middle of this.
  • Players who wish to transfer now enter their name into a database that's searchable for all other schools. I applaud the NCAA on this move. It adds a layer of transparency to the process and gives the athletes more exposure to other schools that otherwise might not be aware that they're on the market. This way actually helps eliminates the middlemen who get involved as agents or brokers on the players' behalf.
  • How much of the timing of the appeals process can Mizzou influence, and do you get a sense from the administration as to whether they will push for a fast process or let it drag out? In theory, if they could influence, then there might be a strategy on when to start serving the penalties, based on how the football season is unfolding.
    There's no rush to get the appeal resolved now. On one hand, if you think you can get the postseason ban dropped, you'd like to know that before football season starts - but the timeline is essentially out of MU's controls once it files its appeal. On the other hand, if the postseason ban is going to stick, Mizzou should want that applied in 2020 or later - not 2019, when this team's got a chance to compete for the SEC East. When you land the best grad transfer QB on the market, you go for broke in 2019. 
    I think it's admirable that some local politicians are talking about the sanctions - you might also call that grandstanding and appealing to their base - but in reality, anything a state senator says on the floor of the Missouri senate isn't going to influence how a five-person committee looks at the COI's ruling and punishment and then decides if the COI overreached its power. This all comes down to Mizzou and its lawyers making a case that the punishments were inappropriately severe and convincing the five-person panel that the penalty doesn't fit the crime. Will the court of public opinion influence how these five people decide the appeals? Realistically, probably not. But as I've been saying for a week, there is value in folks like Sterk, Odom and Sundvold going public with their rancor. And that has everything to do with unifying and mobilizing and galvanizing the fan base - not to sway the appeals committee but to build support for the program. If the penalties stick but Mizzou sells more season tickets and squeezes out more donations from a ticked off fan base, MU can still win in the end. 
    What have you heard on the potential of Jontay returning next year, and could Mizzou potentially be an NCAA tournament team next season?
  • Don't hold your breath. I would not expect him back next year. I don't believe a formal decision has been made, but this is not considered a deep draft. He is still projected as a first-rounder in the early mock drafts. 
    With our without Jontay, this team is going to have a strong nucleus for next year, pending any unforeseen roster turnover. 
    Mark Smith, Dru Smith, Xavier Pinson, Mario McKinney, Javon Pickett, Torrence Watson on the perimeter. Jeremiah Tilmon, Mitchell Smith, KJ Santos, Tray Jackson, Reed Nikko in the frontcourt. Then whoever MU adds in the spring signing period. If all your returning guys sharpen their games this offseason, that's a solid rotation. 
    Which football players are most at risk for being "poached" by another SEC school? Do have any sense for who is being targeted?
    I would be surprised if Mizzou loses anyone that will upset the fans or coaches. Let's apply some good old fashioned common sense here. There are eight returning players with starting experience among the returning seniors: Wallace-Simms, Durant, Johnson, Garrett, Perkins, Acy, Oliver and McCann. Unless their primary goal is making the College Football Playoffs, why would any of those guys jump ship on the coaches and teammates they've been around for the last several years? (Just one year in Oliver's case, but you get the picture.) And who's to say any of those guys are starters at a legit playoff contender? The schools that we know have contacted Mizzou about the seniors aren't in any better shape for 2019 than Mizzou. Is a guy like Acy just dying to play one year at Auburn so he can play in maybe a slightly better bowl than Mizzou? That doesn't pass the common sense test.
    Then you've got the two grad transfers. We already know Kelly Bryant is staying. There's no indication yet that Jonathan Nance wants to leave. 
    That leaves us with the seniors who are non-starters. Only eight of those guys are scholarship players. Richaud Floyd, who could very well start as a senior, Franklin Agbasimere, Markell Utsey, Justin Smith, Alex Ofodile, Jack Lowary, Jonah Dubinski and Tyrell Jacobs. If MU is going to lose a transfer, I would think someone from this list makes more sense. They're not starting at MU or playing very much at all. They can go somewhere else for one year, hit the reset button and get some playing time as a senior. And if playing time is their objective, guys like this would be better suited at a lesser program, a conference or a team where they'd have a better shot to see the field. If that happens, I don't think anyone at MU is losing much sleep. The other seniors are walk-ons. I don't think you have to worry about Jacob Trump leaving his uncle's program. 
    Here's the reality: It's not just the senior class MU has to think about here. If the appeals process drags on beyond this football season, it's the current junior class that will then have the chance to transfer without penalty. Then you're talking about guys like Okwuegbunam, Rountree, Holmes, Gillespie, Byers. Those guys would be more attractive than the current seniors. 
    What are the new retired number standards that have been laid down (which are welcomed by the way if they mean someone like Chievous has his raised to the rafters) by the athletic department under Jimi Sterk?
  • Eligible players have to be 10 years removed from their final year of competition at Mizzou. They must already be inducted into the MU Athletics Hall of Fame. After that, they have to meet four of 10 criteria to be considered for number retirement by a panel of voters. Among those: First-team all-conference, major conference of the year award winner, All-American by at least one major outlet, national award winner (Outland Trophy, Mackey Award, etc.), Olympic medalist while a student-athlete, professional service of five-years or more, induction into national college or pro hall of fame for respective sport. Mizzou analyzed a lot of number retirement criteria from a handful of other schools before coming up with the list. 
    I see MU has adjusted jersey retirement requirements? What was the old and new requirements?
    I just touched on the new requirements. Under the old requirements, a candidate had to win national player of the year honors in their respective sport, such as the Heisman, Naismith, etc. And they had to have earned their undergraduate degree. Those award-winner standard was put in place in the early 2000s after the school had retired its seventh football player's number. The new requirements are more broad-based but open the door for more candidates. What MU doesn't want is to open the floodgates so there's not a groundswell of support for every athlete who had a nice career at MU. I'd say the only former football player who has a shot is Chase Daniel. Some will say Brad Smith, but he was never Big 12 player of the year like Daniel and never was a Heisman finalist. Yes, you can argue Smith was just as important to the program's rise in the Pinkel years, but Daniel had a far more celebrated college career.
    How big can Mario McKinney be for Mizzou next season? I know college is much harder than high school but that guy can handle the ball.
    I think he's in the rotation on the wing, a scoring threat and a defender who can add energy in a reserve role behind the Smiths and Pinson. He's still working on his handle and his jumper, and he'll have to commit to defense to earn serious minutes under Martin, but this team could definitely use some more athleticism on the wing.
    Kameron Misner is a talented player, getting some preseason accolades and mentioned early in mock drafts. Refresher on how baseball draft works? Players can leave after their Junior year or possibly redshirt sophomore year? Can you name a couple other baseball players that could have great years that we should watch for?
    I've been all football and basketball the last few months and haven't had baseball on the radar too much. Misner is draft-eligible as a junior and is projected as a first-rounder this summer. (Players are draft-eligible as a high school senior and then again after three years in college or if they're 21 years old.) MU returns a couple talented arms in Sikkema and Laplante. Infielders Cornelius and Vierling have played a lot. Brumfield, too, in center field. The recruiting class was highly rated, so there's expectations for the newcomers, too.
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