Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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

  • Why can't Mizzou recruit the best players in St. Louis??
  • Greetings, chatters. Lots to discuss. From Mizzou hoops to football signing day and anything else on the brain.
  • Well we're diving right in, aren't we? I wouldn't say Missouri can't recruit the best players in St. Louis. The staff just hasn't signed any the last two years. I'd say a couple factors are pivotal. The 1-5 start turned off some players. The questions about Odom's job security turned off some players. Missouri always has and always will struggle to beat out blueblood programs for elite talent - like Oklahoma, Texas, USC and Ohio State. I also still subscribe to the belief that St. Louis players don't identify with the state pride angle that Odom tried to sell. St. Louis kids are from St. Louis, not Missouri. There is not a natural allegiance to the state school, which wipes out any sense of a home-field advantage.
  • Nothing but bad news since Mizzou football completed that 6-game winning streak. Texas Bowl dud. Key coaches leaving. Shut out on the St. Louis 7. Now Odom is "defiant" about his recruits, while at the same time you've got Dooley and Andy Hill saying "we gotta lock the borders." What's going on down there? Has Odom lost the team/program?
  • Nobody used the phrase "lock the borders" because anyone with some sense knows that's impossible. Yes, the assistants were more realistic about the misses with in-state recruiting, and I give them credit for not burying their heads in the sand and trying to deflect those questions yesterday. (Full disclosure, I was making the long drive north on 55 from Oxford during Mizzou's press conference. Thankfully Ben Frederickson was there to document the comments. I wouldn't say Odom has lost the team. He's more defensive, seems more aware of criticism.
  • Tell me if I am overreacting: Obiovously, recruiting rankings don't directly correlate to success, but this class is an abject failure by Odom and the staff. You cannot strike out on every STL recruit in a loaded class (including losing 2 big time commits from Alabama), you just can't and expect to be a big time program. Odom downplaying it is to be expected, he has to, but I sincerely hope he is taking this seriously, because if it continues, he will not be around long
  • He's essentially banking on the out-of-state recruits outperforming their rankings. Mizzou survives this if the staff proves it can identify and develop talent than everyone else. Gary Pinkel's staff did that more often than not. Can Odom's? We don't know that yet.
  • What gives with Barnett? He comes, he goes,he comes, he goes ... Does he drive the coaches batty? Fans are like, "He just disappears!"
  • Barnett doesn't create his own offense, so in essence, he's a product of what's done for him. If the other guards aren't driving and kicking him the ball in the corner ... or if the bigs aren't passing to him out of double teams, he's not going to score many points. He took four shots at Ole Miss, missed them all. Ole Miss made him a priority on defense and didn't give him many open looks. That's not to say he played well, but he's just not the kind of player who can snap his fingers and create his own points.
  • Dave - Overall, did we ever learn what experience and traits Barry Odom was looking for when he was interviewing for a new Offensive Coordinator? For our sake, I hope Derek Dooley is very successful for Mizzou - he does appear to have great deal of coaching experience. However, it was a hire nobody saw coming. Also, how does Drew Lock benefit from having Derek Dooley as the OC and quarterback coach, outside the obvious that he has experience in the NFL?
  • Odom valued Dooley's HC experience, his SEC ties, his offensive background. Will it work? Nobody knows. His track record doesn't feature a job like this. That doesn't mean it won't work. He has the QB, the O-line and the playmakers to have one of the best units in the SEC, so it won't take long to figure out if he knows how to make it work.
  • what tangible steps are you aware of that Mizzou is taking to increase its image in STL in order to start getting these kids to stay home? Clearly the relationship is broken and something needs to change. This is kind of embarrassing
  • It all depends on why these players turned Missouri down. Some eliminated MU early. Some considered MU late into the process. It would be more alarming if all of them cross MU off their list during the 1-5 start. Perkins and Thompson kept MU in the fold until the end. A stronger start and the perception of better job security for Odom could help. Otherwise, it's all about selling the product and the brand and the experience of playing at Mizzou. That's on Odom to make that sales pitch.
  • Hi Dave. I personally like our recruiting class. Lots of big bodies. Taller DBs and WRs. My question is what record do you think gets the 1-4 seeds in the upcoming men's SEC Tourney in St. Louis?
  • Lots of hoops left to play and there could be a big crowd for those top six seeds. A 10-8 record might get you into at least a tie for fourth place, but then it's going to come down to tie breakers. 
    Let's look quickly at the top teams' remaining schedules:
    Auburn (9-2): at UGA, vs UK, at USC, vs. Bama, at UF, at Ark, vs USC
    Tennessee (8-3):  at Bama, vs USC, at UGA, vs UF, at OM, at MSU, vs UGA
    Florida (7-4): at USC, vs UGA, at Vandy, at UT, vs Aub, at Bama, vs UK
    Bama (6-5): vs. UT, vs LSU, at UK, at Aub, vs. Ark, vs UF, at A&M
    Kentucky (6-5): at A&M, at Aub, vs Bama, at Ark, vs MU, vs OM, at UF
    Miss St (6-5): at MU, at Vandy, vs OM, at A&M, vs USC, vs UT, at LSU
    Mizzou (6-5): vs MSU, vs A&M at LSU, vs OM, at UK, at Vandy, vs Ark
    On the surface, I'd give the hardest schedules to Alabama and Kentucky. I'd give the easiest schedules to Missouri and Tennessee. I think the Vols win the league. If Missouri plays like it has the last three games, the Tigers could very well be a top-four seed in St. Louis. 
  • loved your answer on the first question about recruits, i believe you hit the nail squarely on the head. New generation of kids want to go to the big schools (if the are recruited to go there) for prestige. but one thing they need to remember, you are just another recruit to a big power football program name along with all the other players that they have recruited to possibly play the same position, it is called competition, and they are competing against cream of the crop recruits also. Basketball comment, happy for the team and the way they are playing
  • Thank you for joining the chat.
  • Hi Dave! Thanks for the chat. You mentioned that these kids are from St. Louis, not Missouri. Last time I checked, St. Louis (at least most of it) is in Missouri, and there's a ton of alumni who live there. I'm not sure I'm buying that argument. These kids getting recruited now grew up in arguably the most glorious time of Mizzou football, during the Gary Pinkel era. I would have to believe these guys were aware of what was going on during the last decade of Mizzou football-a lot of success and exposure.

    I wonder about the lingering affect of the 2015 protests and the unfortunate stigma that Mizzou carries for African-Americans. I don't know if it's justified or not. I haven't been on campus regularly for more than 30 years. Also, what about the influence of voices like Demetrious Johnson? I know he has been a rather outspoken critic of his alma mater over the years, when it comes to the environment for black athletes. Your thoughts?
  • It's not just my theory on how St. Louis athletes view themselves. They've literally said the exact comment. It's not that they're not from Missouri, but they don't identify with the rest of the state like they do the city. I'm from St. Louis and I understand that mentality. It's part of the culture of living in the city. Driving a few hours west or southwest or north doesn't have the same feel as the metro area. Did the 2015 campus issues impact their decision? I'm not sold on that being a factor. If what happened two and a half years ago turned these players away from Missouri, why was Missouri among the final choice for several recruits? I would think that would be a dealbreaker, not a tiebreaker. I can't say what kind of impact Johnson has on current recruits. I suspect not much.
  • Dave, I am hugely impressed by Jontay Porter. His poise and intelligence are incredible for a high school senior. However, I believe he needs to add physicality, hitting the weights and actually jumping instead of reaching. If Michael Jr. is actually better than his younger brother and would be playing, I think the Tigers would have Sweet Sixteen stamped on them. What do you think? Thanks!
  • Jontay can afford to be more physical, but he also draws a lot of fouls, so that impacts how he plays on offense. He's cautious not to deliver too much contact. That's why you see him finesse his way through the lane rather than bulldoze his way to the rim. Plus, he's not a very explosive athlete like his brother. That's never been one of his qualities. Jontay has a better chance to win the NBA 3-point contest than the dunk contest. That doesn't mean he can't be great player. He's just not a bull inside.
  • Good morning, Dave.

    I am truly getting disgusted with all the attention these 17-18 year old high school football players receive from the sycophant adults that cover the recruiting nonsense. Let's see the analysis five years after they enter a program and where they are in terms of academics, in terms of injuries, in terms of being a "good citizen" and last of all are they even still on the team that they committed to. Congrats to the Mizzou class and, gentlemen, put a "chip" on your shoulder and prove all the so-called experts dead wrong.

    One other comment. Let Coach Martin be Coach Martin. Apparently some fans thought we were going from putrid to the Final Four in his first year. Get a grip, please.
  • Point made., though I'll say people enjoy reading about recruiting. Some allow signing day to impact their quality of life but I think reasonable fans understand it takes a few years to truly measure these players and how they impact a program.
  • Does HCDO have good relationships with St Louis area coaches(and for that matter state of Missouri coaches). I remember way back when norm Stewart had problems recriuting St. Louis schools. With the supposed great recruiting class availed in St. Louis this year it is very disappointing that DO comes up with with a big donut in Missouri. I don’t blame the recruits going to Ohio st or Oklahoma or USC, but DO needs to do a better job in sealing the borders as Pinkel used to say and keep some of the good players to stay in state. One St. Louis area wrestling recruit picked MU because of its great wrestling program. To me that says it all about the state of the MU football program.
  • An elite wrestling recruit picked Mizzou because Mizzou has an elite wrestling program. You can't say the same about the football program. Let's be honest here: Until the middle of October, this football team had won 10 of its last 30 games since the start of the 2015 season. There were justified uncertainties about the head coach's job security. Meanwhile, elite programs - Oklahoma, Ohio State, USC - swooped in and made strong impressions on area recruits while Mizzou crawled out of its self-inflicted rubble to salvage what looked like a lost season. I don't think we have to dig too deep and come up with complicated theories on what went wrong here. Odom has to win at a higher level to make the program more attractive and leave a stronger impression on his long-term future. That becomes harder to do when you miss on elite players in your backyard.
  • Hear me out... I think MPJ coming back next year is more of a possibility than people seem to think. This class is absolutely loaded. Even if he aces all his pre-draft workouts and physicals, he still likely isn't cracking the top 3, maybe even top 5 based on how many stars are in this class. Considering all the hype and subsequent letdown following his injury (not to mention his apparent fondness of attention and some dramatics) why would he not consider coming back one more year to play with his brother and dad and have a legit shot at a championship, then go #1 next year? The money is going to be there for him. Not saying it happens, but its a better chance than zero
  • Further proof we don't drug test chat participants.
  • In all seriousness, I don't expect Porter back next season. Neither does his brother from the comments he made last week. Whatever happens we'll cover it like crazy.
  • Thanks for chats. I was disappointed in earlywine firing, did they over react?
  • Hard to say considering we don't know what pushed Sterk over the edge. But I know Sterk to be a reasonable person who doesn't make irrational decisions. Ehren had a very checkered past at MU. Players loved him - not all players - but other adults around the athletics department weren't necessarily fond of him and his approach. I like Ehren personally, but I'm surprised he wasn't fired sooner.
  • Any thoughts on the Cavs picking up Clarkson?
  • Interesting move. He won't get to dominate the ball as much when he shares the floor with LeBron, but he'll give them options in the backcourt. He's not a great 3-point shooter or an elite defender, but he might be a better option than Isaiah Thomas.
  • Does the men's bb team have a chance to win the SEC tourney in STL?
  • Yes. The field is wide open. I think there's probably nine teams that can make a run in St. Louis: Auburn, Tennessee, Florida, Bama, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, Arkansas and Texas A&M.
  • Is MJP still on track to be a first round NBA pick despite the fact he may miss his entire season in college. Seems to be NBA teams might be hesitant to draft a guy with a mysterious back problem and invest all that first round money in someone who missed a significant amount of the season if not all of the season.
  • There's really no mystery with the injury. He underwent surgery for a herniated disc, a fairly common procedure. Some teams might want to see him play some college games, but others might just prefer he sits out and rests his back until they're ready to invest their millions in his services. He's still widely projected as a high lottery pick.
  • Dave - Let's get real. Can we honestly think Barry Odom and his staff did not put there best foot forward in trying to recruit St. Louis? GP was only starting to make a real dent when he had the program really up and running, winning more games and winning bowl games. The only way we can get good, in-state recruits is to get back what we have lost since the 2015 season - which put us behind in recruiting more than we think. That season alone put Mizzou football back a number of years along with the losing season in 2016 and the dreadful start in 2017. Therefore, what does this team need to accomplish in 2018 to start having recruits want to come to Columbia? Wins? Early season wins?
  • Early-season struggles will be costly. All the headlines and complaints you read and heard last September will resurface but will be louder and bolder. I don't think Missouri's recruiting struggles are traced back to a lack of effort. Mizzou rolled out the red carpet for the state's best players last February. It was an unprecedented move. If anything all the attention Mizzou gave those 10 players might have alerted coaches at other schools to spend more time and resources to recruit the same players.
  • Is the 3 point line the same for men and women in college basketball? I thought the women’s line was just a little closer to the basket in the recent past, but I notice there is only one line on courts on which men and women’s teams play.
  • 20 feet, 9 inches, just like the NCAA men's line
  • How does the University, if any, provide head coaches with assistance in selling the program to recruits. I may be far off here, but it would seem that having professional marketing executives help with a coaches pitch.
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