Hey, folks, thanks for joining me for another Mizzou chat. I'll let some questions fill up the tank first while I get another cup of coffee. Lots to discuss this week, I'm sure.
It's not really something you can base on opinion. First, he'll have to be let out of his letter of intent. If he's serious about wanting to consider other options, Illinois will look petty and get crucified nationally for binding him to an NLI after a coaching change. If he's let out of his letter, he can consider any school. I'm told Missouri will definitely be in the mix, but as I wrote in today's paper, a source close to Tilmon stressed yesterday that he doesn't have a clear-cut leader. The source emphasized that Cuonzo Martin has not swooped in and sealed the deal with Tilmon. But Mizzou would be a natural choice if he's against sticking with Illinois. One thing to consider, qualifying could be a concern for Tilmon. I haven't been told that concern has changed. So, as always, stay tuned.
Knox is definitely coming to Columbia this weekend. He and Porter Jr. are playing in the Nike Summit in Portland tomorrow night then taking a late flight to Missouri. (I'm not sure if they're going through KC or St. Louis. Doubtful they're flying direct into Columbia on a red-eye. Columbia only flies through Dallas and Chicago.) Harris has said that he plans to visit this weekend. To my knowledge, nothing has changed. As for Mark Smith, most of the buzz has centered on Michigan State and late interest from Kentucky. I wouldn't say Missouri is not an option, but Martin probably has some catching up to do. I do know that Martin really, really likes Smith.
No news. The NCAA releases those figures in late April/early May from what I recall.
I wouldn't call it a crowded backfield. Missouri has a star in Crockett. Missouri has a reliable guy in Witter, who's a great blocker, decent short-yardage back and capable receiver. I'll be honest. I don't understand the fan infatuation with Strong, at least not compared to the body of work that Crockett has produced. Crocket essentially ran for 1,000 yards in 10 games last year. And barely got touches in some of those. Strong had to play more down the stretch and didn't strike me as nearly explosive as Crockett. He had a tough time finding holes and running forward. He's the third back, undoubtedly when the season begins.
I've cut out coffee creamer and sugar, so that's a start.
I wouldn't get too caught up in stars. Missouri needs playmakers. Harris is good enough to have offers from UConn, Michigan State and NC State. Not exactly a shabby collection of finalists. He's a decent sized point guard at 6-2. It's not like Missouri has a great young point guard to build around for the next few years. Phillips will be a junior this year and I thought he was better playing off the ball this year as a two.
He's kept a pretty low profile. He's also been a late bloomer. There wasn't much buzz about him until his senior year. Remember, he was a baseball prospect until just a few months ago.
Well, they only have two freshmen currently committed or signed, so let's pump those breaks a bit. And, no, I don't envision a lineup where Phillips, Puryear and Barnett are all on the bench.
He blocked me at least a year or two ago, and I have no idea why. I don't get it.
Well, one of them delivered the best player in the country and next year will probably deliver a top-20 recruit, so I'd say Porter Sr. was a productive hire. I've heard good things about Cornell Mann from people in Michigan. He's got a good reputation in the Detroit area and could be able to pull some players from that market. Nothing against Kim Anderson's staff, but Mann and Chris Hollender have legit power conference experience at Iowa State and Mississippi State, respectively. They aren't flashy names, but name appeal for hoops assistants is overrated, in my opinion.
It's not high on my list of priorities, but yes, I'd like to talk to him. But knowing Kim he won't take any shots at Mizzou's administration or the situation he inherited. He made his statement in Nashville after his final game. He didn't appreciate when Haith made comments about Mizzou after he left, and I don't see him taking a similar approach. In fact, he'll be complimentary of Cuonzo and the job he's doing. Because Kim still wants to see Mizzou do well. It's still his alma mater, still the place that paid him for many years to coach basketball. I'm sure he'll always carry some resentment, but I suspect he'll keep those thoughts off the record.
Never say never, but Phillips appears invested in the program's future based on his social media accounts. Puryear was all in on Cuonzo at the press conference last year. In a perfect world, I'm sure those guys would like to see Mizzou thrive without all the reinforcements, but they're savvy enough to realize the team needed some help. Phillips said as much in Nashville after the last game. I'm sure they won't love all the hype and attention that'll be showered on Porter and any other high-profile newcomers, but at the end of the day it's about building a team and wining games. I think they'll be on board.
By "we" are you nominating yourself as the leader of the unwelcome committee?
Guys, if you know me you know I'm not laying odds on what some kid I've never met is going to do with his college choice. The kids don't even know. Their coaches don't know. Their parents don't know. It's up to Martin and his staff to sell them on the program. I interviewed Knox's high school coach recently and he has no idea what he's going to decide. He thinks Missouri has a legit chance but realizes they're late to the party. Coach K was just at Tampa Catholic a few weeks ago and has made a presence at the school, along with Roy Williams. The HS coach has never met Cuonzo, so he knows this process is moving quickly. I'm just not into predictive journalism. It's not interesting. I'd rather cover the news. I like eggs for breakfast not on my face.
As for Jontay, I don't think he'll reclassify based on what I'm hearing. That could change in the next few months, but I'd be surprised if he's on college team this fall.
Dunkin Donuts. Always. The best.
I wouldn't be shocked by more transfers. Barnett isn't going anywhere being a senior who's already transferred once. Phillips appears happy with the recent moves. Puryear is a Mizzou guy who grew up a Mizzou fan. His role is going to change somewhat, but I think he'll buy in. As for the rest, I wouldn't want to speculate without talking to those guys. Kemp wasn't ready to play last year for an eight-win team. Does he have enough upside to warrant a scholarship on a rebuilt team? I'm told he really likes Martin and wants to stay. We'll see. VanLeer is another Missouri guy. He struggled to be a consistent producer under Anderson. Can a new staff get more out of him? Will he struggle in Martin's man-to-man defense? I think Missouri has to keep anyone taller than 6-9 in place. Smith is recovering from major knee surgery. I don't think he's a guy you want gone. Reed hasn't been healthy. In a perfect world he probably redshirts last year coming off the hip surgeries. Then he had the high ankle sprain. This team needs size, so I'm not sure they can afford to get rid of a guy who can play inside.
Yes, I made that point in the paper today, but it doesn't always work that way.
To some degree, yes. But there are no second-place trophies in recruiting. Remember in the fall of 2014 everyone was thrilled that Missouri managed to get visits from Isaiah Briscoe, Thomas Bryant and Antonio Blakeney. How did that work out? Not good.
The APR score goes down when a player leaves the school before his eligibility is up but REALLY goes down when he/she leaves with poor grades. From what I understand, if the player transfers to another four-year school, then the point lost on the APR score is renewed. Bottom line, your APR can survive if you lose players to the NBA or other four-year D-I schools, but you need them to be in good academic standing - and absolutely can't have guys leave for non-four year schools if they're in poor academic standing.