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..(Last chat before Matter's summer vacation!)

    OK, Mizzou readers, this is your last chance to chat for a couple weeks before I head on vacation. I'll be here until 1 pm sharp. AD Jim Sterk is meeting with some local reporters at 2 pm, so I have to sign off for that interview in a couple hours. Look for coverage online and in print.
    How is the Billingsley commitment viewed by Odom/Staff or do you have any personal thoughts/insight? Specifically, I'm referring to the fact that he still plans to visit other schools. I get that we're talking about 17-18 year old high school students, so I'm not picking on him - just curious if we can actually call this a "commitment". Odom made a candid comment in your recent article about keeping players committed until December; seems like it's possibly a reference to this.
    Odom and the coaches can't discuss unsigned recruits, so he's not at allowed to share his thoughts on commitments specifically. In general, every coach would prefer their committed recruits stop taking official visits and lock in on the school to which they give their commitment ... but that's not reality. Mizzou continues to recruit players who are committed to other schools and will host committed players on official visits. Mizzou has heavily pursued and flipped kids committed elsewhere. Heck, just about every player Cuonzo Martin has signed the last two years has been signed or committed to play for another program. That's how recruiting works. The word 'commitment' isn't literal in this sense, but that's the vernacular in college recruiting. Odom made the comment yesterday that the challenge with commitments is to keep them committed for another six months and, in jest, he said, "Woe is me, right?" Because he knows he won't get any sympathy from anyone while he's simultaneously trying to poach recruits who have 'committed' to other coaches and teams. 
    Think about all the Mizzou players over the last decade-plus who were committed elsewhere before they picked MU. 
    Jeremy Maclin
    Blaine Gabbert
    Sean Weatherspoon
    Damarea Crockett
    I'd hold off on any animosity and let the process play out. Odom understands that the recruiting process doesn't end when a player commits. 
    Can you tell me anything about Assistant Baseball Coach Lance Rhodes, who is apparently taking the head coach job at Southern Illinois? Good hire for SIU in your opinion?
    Kendall Rogers at D1Baseball was the first to report that Rhodes is headed to SIU. I don't believe the school has announced the hiring yet. He's been a close ally of Steve Bieser at SEMO and Mizzou and has been MU's recruiting coordinator the last three years. MU signed a top 20 class in 2018 under his watch. Well deserved opportunity for him to lead his own program. What does that mean for Mizzou? This could mean Bieser could bring back Jake Esptein to serve as a full-time assistant. Epstein, a former Mizzou player was a part-time assistant last season as the hitting coach but has since moved back to Colorado, from what I understand.
    Who is the Texas A&M transfer to the women's basketball team? I saw it mentioned in a twitter comment but no name was given. The only recent news article is on the Utah State transfer.
    There isn't a transfer from Texas A&M. The Tigers added guard Shug Dickson, who sat out last the second half of last season at Texas Tech after transferring there from Tulsa. She's a former All-Metro player from Lutheran North. 

    Mizzou women's basketball adds two transfers, including former Lutheran North star

    stltoday.com: "Shug" Dickson, who spent the last three seasons at Tulsa and Texas Tech, joins Pingeton's team, while former five-star forward LaDazhia Williams leaves South Carolina for Mizzou.
    Hi Dave
    Looks like the BB team will be a lot of fun to watch and see how the pieces develop
    The guard rotation will be interesting
    Talk to me
    John L
    There are new pieces to add, obviously, compared to a lot of teams in the SEC Mizzou returns the bulk of its core when you look at the three returning sophomores on the perimeter, Tilmon in the middle and Smith and Reed off the bench. I'm most interested to see how those three sophomores develop. Will they turn into more consistent, impact players? Watson and Pinson struggled defensively early in the year last season. Can they become better two-way players as sophomores? Can Pinson make better decisions with the ball and keep building on a promising 3-point shot? Can Watson develop into a more dynamic offensive player who can slash and absorb contact and get to the foul line? Then I want to see what the newcomers bring to the table immediately? A lot will be expected of Dru Smith as a distributor, scorer and defender. Can Tray Jackson play starter's minutes at the four? Can Mario McKinney provide a burst off the bench where the underdeveloped parts of his game won't get him exposed? Can Kobe Brown find a role anywhere on the floor? Lots of known assets on this team and a handful of unknowns, too.
    I peaked as benchwarmer on the JV basketball team so I don't pretend to know more about basketball than people like Cuonzo Martin, but the Okongo signing is lost on me. Martin has done some great recruiting work, but he also seems to regularly bring in some transient player that's doesn't fit or is a 2-3 year project (harris, guess, santos) and then transfers before producing anything. Okongo strikes me as the 2019 version of that. His upside is probably being half as good as Reed Nikko, is that really worth 2-3 scholarship years? Particularly given the number of 2020 recruiting targets
    It's fair to be skeptical of the signing, but the staff must see some upside in a 7-foot, 240-pound big man who, by what I've reported,  is willing to do the dirty work inside, can become an effective screen-and-roll player and protect the rim. For months fans clamored for Martin to sign another big man as Tilmon insurance. There's not a great supply of those players, especially on the transfer market, which is dominated by perimeter players. They stumbled on this guy and are willing to take a shot. Let's not forget, they're not married to him for more than one year. Scholarships are one-year deals. If it's obvious that he's not fit for this level or this team, then he'll be on his way after next season and the scholarship will be free again.
    Since hockey is so big here was there ever any thoughts of fielding an NCAA hockey team at Mizzou? The costs are prohibitive and we aren't exactly a northern state. 2016 5 St. Louisians were selected in the 1st round draft.
    For one, Mizzou has never belonged to a conference that has men's hockey teams at the Division I level. The only Power 5 programs with D-1 teams are Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The rest of the Division I teams are smaller schools, mostly on the East Coast. So, the university's peers have never played hockey. That's a roadblock right there. 
    Then there's the matter of having a rink. There's not an ice rink in Columbia. The closest one is Washington Park in Jefferson City. That's where Mizzou's club team plays. 
    Then there's the Title IX and revenue challenges. Mizzou is not in position financially to add a sport that would cost more money than it makes. That would be the case with hockey. Same with men's soccer. In theory, sounds like a great idea. Fans might embrace teams in either sport. But the structure doesn't exist logistically or financially to add those teams. 
    Paying student athletes/pay equity/use of likeness/etc are all big issues in the sporting world today, particularly the NCAA. I've been thinking about good ways to drive home the message that we should compensate student athletes. My idea is to put together an exhibition game between the best NCAA players and maybe a team of random guys from Thailand. And when the NCAA beats Thailand, by a score of like 130-0, AND the NCAA players celebrate every slam dunk like it's a final 4 game winner, that will prove the point that we should pay the college players! What do you think?
    I'm all for exploring new ways to compensate college athletes, but you might have to sell me more on this idea.
  • We've hit a lull. Let's talk about what Dave is reading/watching/listening to ... 
    I'm late on "Yellowstone," but it's fantastic. Best role for Costner since ... Billy Chapel? ... Mrs. Matter has been bugging me to watch "The Crown." I'm giving it a chance, slowly but surely.
    I'm going back and reading all the Game of Thrones books. In the middle of "A Clash of Kings." My goal is to finish by the start of football season. (I tend to read about three books at the same time, so it takes me some time to finish sometimes.)
    Also reading "Lincoln in the Bardo." Unlike anything I've ever read and hard to put down. Also, Tyler Kepner's "K: A History of Baseball in 10 Pitches." It's a lot of inside baseball, forgive the pun, but really interesting.
    Springsteen's "Western Stars" is growing on me. At least three songs are outstanding. It's unlike anything he's ever done and far better than some of his past solo/non-E-Street Band stuff. 
  • If you could pick a best-fit team for Jontay - totally independent of what will actually happen tonight - where would you send him?
    Great question. San Antonio. Buford/Popovich are never afraid to think outside the box and let players develop into clearly defined roles. I think that's a good market for Porter, too. He's still a very young man. How would he handle playing in the spotlight in New York, Chicago, LA? I'm not sure that's the best setting for him. He's not the kind of player who wants to crave the spotlight. More of a homebody. A place like San Antonio or Salt Lake City or Oklahoma City might be a good environment.
    Thanks for including Odom’s comments on the Blues. Forde and Gabe hate St. Louis so much that they left them out of their notebook.
    Thanks for noticing. 
    And they don't hate St. Louis. 
    If I wrote for a paper in another market I probably wouldn't have mentioned the Blues reference. 
    Coach Odom has been on a well earned recruiting roll! Who’s next and how many more do you see before the start of the season.
    I think you'll see some more commitments in July once camp season is complete. Maybe they'll have around 15 commitments by the start of the season. That's just a guess. I don't dig into the daily horse race of recruiting enough to make any predictions. I need to feed my kids lunch here shortly and I only have a slight idea of what they'll want to eat --- much less where an 18-year-old I've never met wants to go to school.
    Curious where was Weatherspoon committed to before? Crockett was Boise State, right?
    Spoon was headed to Houston to play for Art Briles.
    We've heard a lot about Bryant's running ability, but how is his arm strength looked, particularly on the 9 routes?
    Good enough. He's not Drew Lock but there aren't many Drew Locks playing organized football today when it comes to arm strength and deep ball accuracy. Bryant can make every throw asked of him in the playbook. If anything, his running ability might free up some space downfield to connect on deeper throws. A safety will have to respect play-fakes or the threat of a roll-out. Granted it was against Akron, but one of his first throws of the 2017 season, Bryant uncorked a deep ball that traveled 60-plus yards in the air for a touchdown.
    Yellowstone: Best bathing scene ever!
    She's an ... interesting character.
    Understanding that the NCAA is more about sports than education, I still find it interesting that players like Kelly Bryant/Ronnie Suggs/Tremaine Isabell/etc/etc can quickly qualify as a graduate transfer. When I was in college I couldn't have just decided to graduate one semester, I had specific credits to get and a course schedule to complete. What kind of degrees are they getting and how do they suddenly jam in course work?
  • It's not that hard for upperclassmen who are on carefully coordinated schedules to get all their requirements - whether or not they're athletes. Bryant had spent three and a half years at Clemson when he decided to transfer. Isabell was at Mizzou for two years and Drexel for a full year when he transferred to SLU. Keep in mind, student athletes are required to take summer classes, too. Every Mizzou football player is taking at least six hours this summer semester. The hours add up. Some of them come in with college credit, too. Their courses are carefully scheduled and organized so that they're on track to graduate, no matter what they're studying. It's not that difficult for the older athletes to hit those requirements. Suggs spent two years at Bradley and two years at Mizzou. That's four years plus summers of taking extra classes. He didn't have a problem graduating with all those hours.
  • I was in columbia last month after a 5+ years absence. Shocked to see that shakespeares is now the bottom floor of an apartment building and apparently it's been like this for several years. The pizza was still good but it felt weird inside. Does everyone this it's weird or does the new setting eventually normalize?
  • It's just the new normal if you live here. After a few years now I can't say I even notice the extra stories built on top of the restaurant. It was strange about three years ago when Shakespeares moved across the street for a few months while the current building was being renovated. But now ... it's just Shakespeare's.
  • Is there a special reason for the 2 pm meeting with Sterk and reporters or is this something he does on a somewhat regular basis to give general Mizzou updates?
    Regular interview session. He does this about once every three-four months to answer questions about anything and everything that's happening at Mizzou.
    Thanks for the chat Dave...your best guess as of today..who leads the men’s basketball team in scoring next season? Seems like Mizzou has a little deeper team this time around but not a major star...unless you count Dru Smith who might fill that role.

    Also who are you looking to take the backup QB job?
  • Hard to say who leads this team in scoring. There's no reason it can't be Tilmon - if he can stay on the floor. Maybe it's Dru Smith, but he's going to be a facilitator, too. The safest bet might be Mark Smith. He was really developing into a consistent scorer/elite shooter last season before the foot injury.
    As for the backup QB, I'll stick with Taylor Powell. I'd be surprised if Lindsey Scott Jr. can go from not making the travel roster in 2018 to moving past Powell for the job. There's also the Shawn Robinson factor. He and his family wanted to pursue a transfer waiver so that he'll be eligible this year. It doesn't make sense for him to play more than four games unless Kelly Bryant gets hurt or really struggles. But if he's cleared to play, he's a nice option to have on the bench in case Bryant has to miss an extensive chunk of the season - provided he's better than Powell, Scott and Connor Bazelak, the incoming freshman. 
  • Fletcher the recruit. With Watson and Pickets(Soph), Kobe Brown(Fr), and Dru able to play wings. Why would Fletcher come to Mizzou when there are guys with 2-3 years or more left who play his position?
    Because he believes he'll be good enough to play over them. That's how most recruits think. Also, do you think Michigan State or Kansas or North Carolina won't have good players at those positions, too? If a program has zero good players on the wing, then it's probably not a good program - and not of the caliber that he'll consider. Plus, teams play multiple wings. It's not like point guard or center where teams generally have one clear starter and maybe a backup who gets 10-15 minutes a game. Competition is healthy. If you're a four- or five-star recruit you don't shy away from it, especially at that position.
    I love seeing more and more articles on Mizzou football. Tis the season!. What story line that you will be following will get the most "clicks" vs which story line that should get the most "clicks"?.
  • I don't really measure stories that way. I have to write the stories that I think are the most important. Ultimately, what's important is what readers want to read about. If a story about the punting competition gets the most traffic, then that's an important story for our readers. But at the same time, I have to decide what stories are important based on my experience and instincts covering the team. So, it's a mixture of factors. Obviously the quarterback is always an important storyline for every team because it's the most crucial position on the field. The pass rush/defensive end development is important. The special teams will be important. I like writing about assistant coaches when it comes to football. Most of them have interesting backstories. Most of them are under incredible pressure to perform. Some of them are really insightful. Off the field, it'll be important this year to track attendance and ticket sales.
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