Greetings, chatters. I've been off the grid for a couple days re-introducing myself to my family after a long basketball season and coaching search. I'll be here for the next couple hours.
Catching up on a few items....Craig Roberts Sr., father of Mizzou hoops signee C.J. Roberts, told me this morning that C.J. will announce his college plans Monday on the Houston sports radio show Chop Shop on KYND 1520. The show runs from noon to 2 pm. Roberts didn't answer whether his son has requested a release from his national letter of intent. If he hasn't requested his release, then common sense says he'll reaffirm his pledge to Mizzou.
Porter Jr. said at the McD AA Game that he's working behind the scenes on other recruits. He mentioned Kevin Knox, specifically, which Benjamin Hochman wrote about a few days ago, and Mohamed Bamba as players he's recruiting to Mizzou. Both players indicated in Chicago they could take a visit to MU, but obviously Mizzou is getting into the game later than others with these guys because of the coaching change. On the other hand, when it comes to one-and-done prospects, they might need a less thorough sales pitch because they're not as invested in a four-year college plan, i.e., undergrad majors, campus life, etc. We'll see what happens in the coming weeks. It's a dead period right now, so visits will start to happen later in April.
There's no rule that says he can't talk to his coaches or parents about whether he'd like to consider Missouri. Nothing has been reported that Martin is actively recruiting Tilmon. Remember, Martin's sister works at East St. Louis High. He grew up in the city. He knows people at the school. He can visit the school without personally recruiting Tilmon. The fact that Tilmon hasn't come out publicly and reaffirmed his commitment to Illinois indicates he might not be 100 percent sold on Illinois.
We'll cover the news as it happens. I can't predict these things.
He's not switching to a 3-4. Yes, he hired an outside linebackers coach, which is common for 3-4 base defenses, but nothing from the first few weeks of spring practices indicates a base system change. They'll continue to be multiple and use a three-man front in certain situations, but all indications are MU will list its base D as a 4-3. What's the bigger concern? I wonder if they have enough impact, sound tacklers at linebacker. If the season started today, I believe the starters would be Beisel in the middle, Lee and Hall on the outside. Key backups will be Garrett, Burkett and TJ Warren. I'm not sure there's an All-SEC guy in that mix. The two incoming freshmen could push for jobs in the rotation, too. On the other hand, there's a lot of upside with the D-linemen. Frazier is an established edge rusher. Howard has played a decent amount. Tre Williams looks like an impact edge guy. On the inside, Beckner will be back, albeit coming off knee surgery. Logan is back. Brandon looks like an instant starter if not key backup. The other juco imports will have a chance to play a lot, too.
It's not graduation rate. It's APR. Academic Progress. It's a measure of student-athlete retention and eligibility. Here's how it works: Every athlete on your roster with remaining eligibility is worth 2 points. You get 1 point if he returns to school. You get 2 points if he returns eligible academically. If he leaves school but is academically eligible you retain 1 point. If he leaves school and is academically ineligible you earn 0 points. Now, if the player leaves but enrolls at another four-year school you're still in good shape. Each team carries a four-year rolling average of your individual year-by-year scores. The final year of the Haith regime had an extremely low score (851) because that team had huge roster turnover and players apparently didn't have GPAs that would have made them eligible. The three following four-year averages are affected by that 851 score. If your four-year average gets below 930 you get hit with sanctions, including postseason ban. The 851 goes off MU's books next year. But MU has to carefully manage the roster this year because the 851 is still in play. That means MU can't let players with low GPAs (below 2.6) leave the team. It's a Catch 22 that really limited Kim Anderson's roster management. His early teams had players they would have liked to cut loose, but their GPAs were too low. It would have sabotaged the APR and triggered sanctions - and made it even harder to recruit players.
It requires some careful management. Obviously the team doesn't publish all the academic info, nor can it per federal privacy rules. Mizzou can sign at least three plaeyrs: Porter Jr., Roberts and another. If more players leave the current roster, Martin can sign more. It's a fluid situation.
If he wants to sign a NLI he can sign between April 12 through August 1, but recruits aren't obligated to sign a NLI. He can show up the first day of classes, enroll and join the team if there's a scholarship open. But if he's not playing AAU ball this summer it would be a clear indication he plans to reclassify. Stay tuned.
I've seen him play in person a couple times. He's up there but I wouldn't say he was the best I've ever seen. Mostly because it's hard to measure how good he was at Tolton because he played against overmatched opponents at the Class 3 level. He dominated. But a lot of guys who sign with a power conference school would dominate Missouri Class 3, too. Larry Hughes and Jayson Tatum are the two best I've seen in person.
Getting lots of the same questions asking me to predict which McD's AA Mizzou will sign in addition to Porter. Nobody knows at this point. A lot of moving pieces at programs all around the country will determine how it all takes shape.
Here's an argument that I don't understand. Mizzou has landed the No. 1 player in the country for the first time ever and fans want him to be a walk-on. No, children of employees are not eligible for free tuition. If an employee works for the university for five straight years - which Porter Sr. has not - then children are eligible for a 50-percent discount on tuition. That doesn't apply in this case and wouldn't apply anyway because the worst team in the SEC isn't going to ask the No. 1 recruit in the country to be a walk-on.
They would be open to a graduate transfer, but it would have to be the right fit in terms of what the roster needs.
Evil? What's evil about Calipari? I admire Coach Cal. Players who play for him love the experience, whether they're one and done or play four years. Read his latest book if you get a chance. You won't come away thinking he's anything remotely close to evil. Mizzou started well behind Smith and would need to gain a lot of ground on schools that have recruited him longer and harder. Kentucky can swoop in and recruit anyone at any time because it's Kentucky. The program has earned the ability to do that.
Yes, it's pretty surreal to think how much has changed in such a short amount of time. So many factors have fallen the right way for Missouri for this to unfold the way it has.
Not really because Missouri can't fire him without cause for the first three years of his deal. And to fire him after his fourth year would require a $6 million buyout. He's got a great contract from his end in terms of both compensation and protection.
As Martin told me earlier this week, he'll kick the tires on any committed recruit and until the player or coach makes it clear he doesn't want to be recruited, they'll keep kicking. So, it's essentially up to Ramey if he wants to be recruited by Missouri. From what I've gathered on Ramey, he and his father are very much sold on playing for Pitino and it would take a lot to sway that decision.
Again, what has been reported that he's made any contact with Tilmon? He's perfectly allowed to discuss the situation with his coaches.
They're going to mix and match the DBs in multiple packages for certain situations. I think you'll see several combinations of Hilton, Perkins, Wilson, Sherrils and Prewett in terms of the base defense, nickel, dime, etc. Odom really likes Perkins. He's never been shy about that. They like Hilton's upside a lot because he's such a good athlete. You'll see those roles be more clearly defined in camp.
Athletic department salaries are funded independent of the university coffers. Mizzou athletics operates out of its own accounts with money generated by donations, ticket sales and other revenue sources. If we're comparing his average salary over the length of his full contract ($3 million), then, yes, he's the highest paid employee. Next up is Barry Odom at $2.35 million. Then Josh Heupel at $700K, just ahead of Edward Yeh of the medical school ($675,000.00) and James Stannard of the orthopedic surgery department ($669,757.56), according to our online salary database for the university.
He's lived in California for the last three years. What's wrong with visiting his sister at work? And there's no reason he can't stop and talk to the ESL coaches about Tilmon. If he avoided ESL and WASN'T talking to coaches about Tilmon, then Mizzou fans would be livid. This is how recruiting works.