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.

    Hello, chatters. Hope you're having a good week. I'll be here for the next couple hours to talk all things Mizzou. I'll pass along a couple links before we get started. Look for a new Mizzou podcast to be posted soon. 

    Core of Mizzou's new football staff took root at Auburn

    Eliah Drinkwitz reunited parts of his coaching past from Auburn's 2010 national championship season.

    Mizzou's Ryan Walters linked to Colorado coaching vacancy

    Defensive coordinator mentioned as a candidate for the top job at his alma mater.
    What do you like most about ST and what do not like about ST. also while at ST, do you get a idea just how good or bad a team is?
    ST? Spring training? Wrong chat, Terry. I cover Mizzou ... and have a yard covered in snow. No Jupiter sunshine for me.
    I thought when CM was hired it was a great hire...I now am worried that he may not be able to recruit well enough to become competitive with the rest of the SEC. When you look at only 2 openings next year it seems as though Mizzou will be lucky to finish at .500 unless the returning players make great strides in improving...what say you?
    There are obvious reasons to be concerned about recruiting after some recent misses, especially in the region. As of today, there will be only one open spot to fill for 2020-21 scholarships. There could be more if some players decide not to come back for next season. That's always a possibility. But the bulk of this team should be back next year and the future will hinge on those players developing. It's fair to say this staff has developed some guys into more productive players. On this team alone, Reed Nikko and Mitchell Smith are having by far their best college seasons. It's not there every game, but Pinson and Pickett have been more productive in stretches than they were last year. Watson has been less productive, without a doubt. Mark Smith's shooting percentage has fallen. Tilmon has essentially missed half the season and wasn't showing great progress before the injury. In previous seasons, Jordan Geist and Jordan Barnett had their best seasons under Martin. He's shown that he can develop players - not every player, and not to the level some might have expected, and not enough to offset some recruiting misses. But this team has shown some growth.
    Disappointing results in basketball so far this year but I am not wanting to write of HCCM yet. We are certainly better than the KA years and I think the job he did year 1 was impressive. I think with the roster this year it was reasonable to expect the nice blend of experience/enticing freshman that we would have been better. Lets just say Tilmon is gone next year, other than that barring any further defections the team should be even more experienced and hopefully that additional year of progression means we have an actual good team. Am I just thinking the way I was going into this year (and most years) and setting myself up to be disappointed?
    As noted earlier, some players have made some individual progress this year. At this rate, barring some roster additions, that's got to be the hope for 2020-21, that more players can take those steps for this team to be more competitive in the SEC.
    Hey Dave...what’s up with Torrence Watson? Big time recruit who had a strong finish to last season. This year he looks lost. 3s aren’t falling for him and he isn’t driving and getting in the lane much at all. Can he regroup and finish strong? Seems like he’s fallen out of favor with the coaches also
  • He's having a tough year, no doubt. His 3-point shooting percentage has fallen from 36.1 as a freshman to 28 as a sophomore - and just 20 percent in SEC games. He's attempted only 24 2-point shots in 25 games and taken only 19 free throws. Offensively he's a very one-dimensional player - and that dimension isn't very good. His turnover rate is much higher this year (from 14 percent to 22). He's struggled to handle the ball in the open floor. I really don't think it's a matter of work ethic. By all accounts he works on his shot as much as anyone on this team. Maybe it's something mechanical he needs to fix. It's been hard to watch at times. He had played at least 20 minutes in six straight games but just 15 and 14 the last two games - for obvious reasons. Even with Mark Smith injured, Dru Smith and Xavier Pinson are the best options in the backcourt, with Pickett on the wing.
  • CM needs to replace some assistants. Any ideas on new ones?
  • I'm not going to speculate on candidates for jobs that aren't open. If it comes to that, I'll report what I can. Martin has been in college coaching for 20 years. He knows plenty of coaches he could hire.
  • Even though it was a loss, I was still ok with Tuesday's game. I know this isn't the best Mizzou team we've seen, but I do expect competitive games. I think that has been some of the disconnect with (reasonable) fans. I understand we don't have a top 25 or tournament team, but I do want to watch good, competitive games.
    I thought Tuesday's game at LSU was one of the three best complete games Mizzou has played all season considering the level of competition and the flow of the entire game. (Illinois and Florida being the other two). Missouri led the game for 33 minutes, played efficiently on offense, attacked the glass, kept turnovers to a minimum other than two untimely stretches and shot well from outside. Amazingly, LSU, a more talented team, man for man, at every position, never led by more than five points despite a 34-13 advantage in free throw attempts. 
    No moral victories. No pats on the back for playing hard. That should be a given. But that was a very promising game. It tells us a few things ...
    1. By no means has Martin lost this team despite a losing record. Guys are still fighting to win. Dru Smith played a strong game on one working ankle. Reed Nikko is closing out his career with the best string of games he's ever played. 
    2. This team is capable of playing solid defense and can rebound well against an elite offensive team. But this group seems to let its defense and rebounding slip when shots aren't falling. On Tuesday, shots were falling.
    3. Good things happen when Pinson and Tray Jackson are playing focused and getting minutes. This team won't beat you with elite athletes, but these are two players who play above the rim. They are the future. 
    Dave, tell me Cuonzo and staff are going to go after a JUCO scorer or grad transfer who can immediately help. This team has a few decent pieces but needs help.

    Tell me this and give us hope.
    This staff keeps its recruiting plans very quiet. I imagine more names will surface once we get closer to March/April.
    Hello Dave! In response to chatter: Sorry. Year 3.......team should be better than 'competitive!' We always accept 'competitive'. Time to move on to 'winning' and in the talk for top 25. Year 3 should be that. It's not.
  • This season has been a disappointment based alone on the team's expectations. Martin thought he had the talent to challenge for the SEC and make the NCAA Tournament. I, too, figured this team would  be closer to making the big bracket than last year. 
    There is ample evidence around the league that teams can make progress beyond a coach's fourth season. 
    Bruce Pearl's first three SEC records at Auburn: 4-14, 5-13, 7-11. 
    Frank Martin's first three SEC records at South Carolina: 4-14, 5-13, 6-12. 
    Now, I'd say those coaches' track records suggest they're better coaches than Martin - though Martin has just one NCAA tourney appearance in eight years at USC, albeit a Final Four run - but they're both perfect examples of coaches who stepped into crummy situations and made them better over time. 
  • Tuesday’s MUBB game at LSU while a loss was the second best effort of the season despite the loss(the home game vs FL was the best). They led most of the game, scrambled for loose balls, got contested rebounds and did not rely solely on their 3 point shooting. Why they can’t do that at home vs TXAM is beyond me. They have Alabama and Ole Miss at home. I don’t know if they can compete against Auburn and Miss St. even in Como.
    One of the announcers said MU is 315th out of 351 D1 schools in 3 pt shooting percentage which makes me wonder why they shoot so many of them. You can start out at the beginning of the game to see if anybody is hot on a given night, but at some point they should stop shooting 3 pointers and work the ball inside. Since they shoot FTs so well, even if they miss the close in shots, there will always be free throw opportunities if they drive to the basket more.
    Missouri is up to No. 300 in 3-point shooting as of today. Baby steps, right?
    I agree with your larger point. This team is at its best when the guards are driving the ball inside, absorbing contact and attacking the rim. Pinson has done a much better job of that lately. Pickett, too. Dru Smith is at his best when getting inside the paint. Outside of Pinson, they showed Tuesday they can knock down perimeter shots. Mitchell Smith has gone through some shooting slumps but hit a few big 3s at LSU. Tray Jackson can hit from deep, too. 
    Gut feeling... Tilmon is on the team next year or no? We seem to get a senior season surge from our centers (Rosburg, now Nikko) if Tilmon could do like those guys in a senior season he could be unstoppable
  • I'm more skeptical about Tilmon being "unstoppable" than I am about him returning next year. Nikko has put together some strong games, and he deserves a lot of credit for that. But he's been a role player and backup his whole career. I think he's made strides lately because he's confident and comfortable with this new role. Tilmon has been a starter since he stepped on campus, so expecting him to make a major leap as a senior seems based more on hope than logic. I don't want to speculate on Tilmon's future. He really wanted to enter the draft last year so he could get the NBA workouts for the feedback. He told me in the summer that he wouldn't have a problem coming back to MU if the feedback suggested he return to school. With a young son back home he has a motivating factor to start earning money. Will that impact any decision he makes this offseason? I would think so. But his health will be a factor, too. We'll see what he has to say when the season's over.
    Check out Friday's print edition and STLtoday.com for a story on Mizzou baseball and the upcoming season. The Tigers are banned from the postseason, which means no SEC tourney, no NCAA regional. But Steve Bieser believes this team would have the talent to make the field of 64. There's power potential up and down the lineup and more competition thanks to an infusion of newcomers.
    Dave - Any word on how Cale Garrett is doing with his recovery? Where do you think he will go in the draft. Thank You
    I checked in with Cale before he got started with his NFL training and plan to talk with him more once we get closer to Mizzou's pro day. The injury is probably going to make him a long shot, but I think you'll see him on someone's training camp roster. He's a great tackler, great instincts. He'll play on special teams. He's the type of player who will do the right thing in the right place at the right time. With the rise of nickel-based defenses, which is the norm in football now, there's only two positions on the field he can play - Mike and Will linebacker - but someone will give him a shot as long as he's recovered from the injury.
    Re: Mizzou scoring Dru should stop giving up so many shots, he and others should shoot more pull up jumpers from 10 to 20 feet and they miss so many layups, I.e. they do not get as many 2 + 1 scores as their opponents.
    Midrange jumpers are the least efficient shot in basketball. I think Dru is at his best getting inside the paint for floaters and layups. The closer to the rim, the better. He's also capable of knocking down more 3s. He's been more aggressive finding that shot with Pinson at the point.
    Dave - Do you think Albert O benefits staying another year with an offensive head coach?
    Possibly. This offense will have a clear identity and a plan going into the season. I've got to think Drinkwitz would have found a use for Albert ... but it's not like Dooley didn't give Albert chances to be an impact player last year. His issues were penalties, drops, blocking and staying healthy. Maybe a more proficient offensive head coach connects with Albert better and gets more out of him.
    With the extended playing time that Nikko has been seeing, it seems like his offensive game has shown quite a bit more range than initial expectations. Has he shown enough to get a pro contract in a mid-tier international league for a few years?
    I'm not sure about that. You can't teach 6-10, so he's got that going for him. I'm not sure if he has pro hoops ambitions. He's pretty driven academically.
    Random non-conference games in Faurot don't move the needle very much with the fanbase. A game in St. Louis would. Why hasn't the Athletic Department made STL games a priority?
  • Mizzou is open to playing games in the upcoming Illinois series in St. Louis. The St. Louis Sports Commission is working on making that happen - not every game in the four-year series but at least one or two. 
    As for not moving more games to St. Louis, MU can't just cater to fans in St. Louis when thinking about maximum revenue options. You alienate a share of your fans when you move a home game to St. Louis and away from your home base. MU needs to sell more tickets to home games, build a home-field advantage and foster a culture built around fans being part of the environment in Columbia. Shipping games to St. Louis and Kansas City every year detracts from that. 
    Do you think next season is make or break for CMart if this program has a similar season as this one?
    Possibly, but would a .500 season be bad enough for Mizzou to pay Martin a $6 million buyout - on top of having to pay a new coach at least $3-4 million for five or six years, plus more for a new staff? 
    Finances are pivotal here. MU will make a little more football income for the 2019 season - attendance was up some, alcohol sales, new south end zone revenues - but it won't offset the revenue lost with the postseason ban. Plus MU is paying its football coach and staff more than ever. In other words, even if MU athletics is back in the black a year from now, MU can't ignore Martin's steep buyout. 
    If next season is a disappointment, what's the puke point? When do yu give up on a plummeting asset to prevent further losses? Does Jim Sterk want to go through another major coaching search after a wobbly football search? So many unanswered questions. Hard to speculate at this point, but next year is crucial for obvious reasons. 
    Is Tilmon to basketball what Albert O. Was to football? Both have a ton of potential on paper but just can’t seem to turn the corner and be the elite players They could be? It seems like both are hindered by mental focus (whether fouls, playing consistent, dropped passes, etc) instead of physical issues.
    I am glad CM has a contract that guarantees he will be back next year. Fans are crazy for wanting him gone now. First two years both your star players are out for the season. This year, lose a lot of your key players to injuries for part of the season and have a relatively young roster. Coming off a rough 3 year KA era, it was impossible to get enough quality recruits to give us the needed depth to overcome key injuries. Charleston Southern was an outlier, we have lost a few games by 2-3 possessions. If TJ improves his condition and most players develop even a little bit, I don’t see why this team wouldn’t be better if healthy even withou Tilmon next year. I built the offense around JP in year 2. I hope CM is still Mizzou’s coach 3 years from now...
    Interesting comparison between Tilmon and Okwuegbunam. One key difference: You could suspect more frustration with the football staff over Albert's struggles than this hoops staff with Tilmon. Obviously they'd like to see him more productive and healthy.
    How much interest does Mizzou have in Donovan Williams (Lincoln North HS)? Do you think he could end up in COMO next season?
    Williams did a recent interview with the Wichita Eagle and said Mizzou hasn't offered him a scholarship. Just based on his quotes alone, it doesn't sound like there's much urgency from MU on a potential match:

    ”Cuonzo has reached out five or six times but it’s been very separated, so it has been hit or miss with them,” Williams said. “I’m not going to pay much attention to it. If they offer, they offer. If they don’t, they don’t. It’s really not that big of a deal.”

    Granted, that's just one side of the recruitment, and Martin and his staff can't talk about a recruit, but based on that comment, there doesn't seem to be a lot of traction. 

    Hi Dave. With only 7 games left is there really any reason to bring the injured players back? I have enjoyed the fight the past two games. They have looked like a more fluid team especially with Pinson at the point. Thanks
  • In fairness to the players, if they're cleared to play and Martin believes they're ready to play, they should get to play. I'm not sure a two-game sample size is proof that this team is better without both players. Neither played at South Carolina and MU was awful in that game. If Tilmon can return for that home game against Mississippi State the Tigers could really use him against that front line. I'm not sure they can match MSU up front with just Nikko and Mitchell Smith.
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