Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

Mizzou chat with Dave Matter

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

    Hello, chatters. Glad you could join another chat. Hopefully everyone is safe and healthy and practicing your safe social distancing. If you've got kids at home, you have my empathy. Mrs. Matter has shifted from school nurse to school teacher and running point on Casa Matter while I type away in my home office. We're still cranking out lots of coverage at STLtoday.com. The daily countdown of the 30 best Mizzou athletes I've covered will continue with No. 19 later today. It's a good one. (They're all good at this point. But it's another personal favorite.) 
    Eli Drinkwitz met with local media yesterday to talk about the new normal for his program while adjusting to the coronavirus. 
    Later today Mizzou AD Jim Sterk will take questions from media via Zoom. Stay tuned for coverage at STLtoday.com.
    Earlier this week I had a  lengthy interview with Cuonzo Martin. We touched on a lot of topics with his program. Look for a story Friday. 
    OK, let's get to the chat. 
    Do you anticipate the three basketball players testing the waters back and outside Turner where might Zo look to fill the last two scholarships? Assuming Christopher isn't coming to Mizzou.
    I'm not sure what to expect from the three players who entered the draft pool. Neither does Cuonzo. Here's what I do know - and you can read more in tomorrow's story - but Martin was not at all surprised that Tilmon and Pinson wanted to get some NBA feedback. Also, Martin helped nudge Mitchell Smith to enter the pool - not because he wants him to leave the program but he thinks it'll be healthy for him to get some workouts against other NBA hopefuls and hear some feedback on areas he can improve. Martin believes Smith has the skill to play professionally. He's 6-10 and can make plays/shots on the perimeter and be a versatile defender. There's a professional market in those skills. Also, for Tilmon and Smith, this is their last chance to get that NBA feedback and still have the option to come back to college. It's in their best interest to take advantage of the system. It's also well documented from my reporting and others that Tilmon and Pinson don't come from the best financial situations back home. Every college player wants to play in the NBA, but it's not the only option to make a living. Bottom line, whether or not they return depends on their experiences in the workouts - assuming there will be workouts. As of today, those three players aren't projected as NBA draft picks. They could still opt for the chance to start making a living.
    Will the Suspension for baseball and softball at Mizzou be extended to 2021?
    Still no official word on that. Everyone at Missouri whom I've asked does not expect the postseason ban to carry over to 2021. When the NCAA denied Mizzou's appeal, the response explicitly stated that the baseball and softball teams would be banned from the 2020 postseason - not the next postseason. Here's what Steve Bieser and Larissa Anderson told me when I asked your question two weeks ago:
    “I don’t really have a feel or a sense one way or the other,” Bieser said. “I know at this point it’s not anything that’s going to be at the forefront of the NCAA and the stuff they have to deal with it. If you really think about what this group has gone through you’d hope there’d be some reprieve and they won’t have to continue to deal with this.”
    “I don’t see how they can (carry the penalty into 2021) when it’s written in black and white for 2019-20,” Anderson said. “But I’m just doing what everyone tells me to do. In my opinion it’s already been the 19-20 academic year, which is when the sanctions came down.”
    Today is National Autism Day, which means it's a good time to re-read this story from 2018 ... or read it for the first time.

    Mizzou coach Haley draws strength from son with autism

    STLtoday.com: Defensive line coach learns patience while raising 18-year-old A.J.
    I am assuming it would be a shocker if Josh Christopher picked Mizzou, is the staff still actively recruiting him? Do you think it is more likely Mizzous returning players roster is set, or do you expect another transfer? I wasn’t sure if most transfers are announced pretty quickly after the season where no news is good news at this point?
    At this point I'd be surprised if there are more transfers than Tray Jackson. Another plug for tomorrow's story: Martin shared his thoughts on Tray transferring.
    As for Christopher, he updated his school choices and Mizzou is still on the list, so if he's going to the trouble to change the schools - he added USC and crossed Kentucky off his list. There were some reports in the fall that Christopher was no longer considering UK, but then he said the Wildcats were still in the mix. So, as long as he's still telling the world that Missouri is an option ... Missouri is an option. There's been a lot of buzz around Michigan. His older brother plays at Arizona State. USC is loading up with grad transfers, seemingly to make a big push for 2021. At Mizzou, Christopher has the family connection with the team's strength coach. 
  • Was glad to see Drink call out Herbstreet in regard to promoting fear of season being canceled. I know Drink apologized but interested in your thoughts.
    Herbstreit is entitled to his opinion, but I don't understand the rush for everyone outside of the medical and science industries to make predictions and projections about the virus. Here's some perspective: Three weeks ago today I was in Nashville wondering if there was going to be a game that night. Three weeks later, I'm hunkered down with my family. We haven't seen anyone but neighbors for a couple weeks. I've been on a few solo grocery store trips. One stop at a studio last week to shoot my TV show. So why are people trying to make bold predictions on what's going to be happening 20 WEEKS FROM NOW? It's like some folks in my industry are on a daily race to see who can predict the future of the sport sooner and more accurate than everyone else. There's nothing wrong with saying these three words: I don't know. Of course, Herbstreit doesn't truly know what's going to happen 20 weeks from now, but he has a huge platform. People turn to him as an expert on college football and even when he's stating an opinion, it's perceived as major news - even if just a somewhat-informed opinion. I can see why coaches would get upset by that. A person in Drinkwitz's role is in charge of hundreds of people underneath him - coaches, staffers, players. As soon as Herbstreit makes that statement, you know Drinkwitz's phone is on fire with all of those people under him wanting answers - answers that he doesn't have in March/April. I don't think Drinkwitz needed to apologize. At the same time, will there be a college football season is a valid question to ask people who run college football at the NCAA, conference and network level. That doesn't mean they have all the answers on April 2.
    Will Cuonzo upgrade his staff now that Michael Porter Sr. excessive salary comes off this year. Staff has needed a recruiter with contacts similar to Antiqua at Illinois, or Corey at SLU.
    I don't think that's a priority this instant. We didn't talk about staffing this week. Porter could agree to a new contract that doesn't pay him $375K to return in the same role. Remeber, he's not one of the team's three assistant coaches who can leave campus to recruit. He's director of player development. Porter could also leave the staff for another endeavor.
    Have you watched Justin Turner before? If so, could he be as impactful as Kassius?
    I talked to Turner the other day and had a long interview with his high school coach. He's got a pretty unique game. He's not a great 3-point shooter. He doesn't score many points at the rim. He takes a lot of mid-range 2s: floaters, pull-ups, 15-foot jumpers. He's not considered an elite athlete, which might explain why such a prolific scorer is coming back for a fifth year of college instead of leaving for the pros. He'd add some much-needed scoring punch on the wing. I'd say he's a combination of Mark and Dru Smith. He's more of a true wing like Mark and not a primary ball-handler like Dru, but he can create his own shot inside the 3-point arc like Dru on more creative shots. His 3-point percentage was close to Mark's this season.
    Different player than Robertson, who could play some point guard, wasn't a great defender but was more of a catch-and-shoot 3-point shooter than Turner. 
    One thing they have in common: Strong locker room presence. Turner is 22. He's a fifth-year guy. Here's what former Renaissance HS coach Vito Jordan told me about him: “He’s the most mature guy I’ve never been around in my life. He’s 22 but he was like that when he was 16. You’d let him date your daughter. Ultimate team dude. All he wants to do is win. I never had to get him on. Only thing I ever had to tell him was he was being too nice. He was too good of a person on the floor. You’d want to pull some meanness out of him sometimes. Wherever he goes he will be the leader."
    Do you have any idea if the cancellation of spring sports will help Mizzou's athletic budget issues?
    All those numbers won't be processed for a while. Here's what we know:
    The spring teams that had their seasons canceled all operate at a deficit if we look solely at their expenses and their revenues. Mizzou won't have the ticket revenue and concessions revenue from all the lost baseball and softball games, but those events also cost a lot of money to host. There will be some savings there. I'm not sure how travel will factor. Those teams, plus track and golf and tennis, won't be making a lot of costly road trips. Does MU get money back on used flights, bus trips, etc. I'm not sure yet. 
    Mizzou's 2020 FY revenue is going to take an obvious hit. For one, MU's going to miss out on its chunk of football postseason revenue because of the NCAA sanctions. By losing the NCAA basketball tournaments, the NCAA is giving schools a smaller slice of the pie. 
    What potential implications on revenue shortfalls have on Mizzou relative to the rest of the SEC? My thoughts is that it could further the gap between the Bamas and Vandys of the conference. Also, could this give Cuonzo an extra year of reprieve even if the team falters again next year? I'm thinking ADs are questioning those lengthy, lucrative contracts now.
  • Too early to really know the financial implications yet. I just touched on the spring sports fallout. Obviously if there's no football season or even a shortened season, that will have a DRASTIC financial impact on everyone's bottom line. Football is the engine that drives every Division I program. Jobs will be lost. Salaries will be slashed. Programs might be cut. And, let's be honest here, media outlets that cover college football will have to adjust, too. And not in a good way for people like me and my colleagues. (Some of my big fans on Twitter will no doubt root for that outcome.)
    But ... no offense to Mr. Herbstreit ... we're not there yet. Let's hope our leaders make the best decisions to get the virus under control. Let's hope we as citizens do our duty to prevent the spread. Let's hope fewer lives are lost and we can return to our normal lives, including, but not most important, the world of sports.
    I watched a youtube video about Jordan Wilmore's 7'2" Filipino teammate at The Skill Factory and it made me wonder what is "The Skill Factory"? I had generically assumed it was a sports focused prep school like Sunrise Christian or Mt. Zion Academy, but the video and website made it seem like it didn't have any academic component. Is there a school at all? Do the players pay to attend?

    Just curious - thanks for the chats and thanks to the Matters in general - between you and your wife you're helping sick people fight illness and helping healthy people fight boredom.
    Wilmore graduated from high school in Memphis last year then spent this past year at The Skills Factory in Memphis in a post-grad program. It's like a prep school but just for basketball. I'm not sure what the total curriculum looks like, but the school's site describes the post-grad program this way:
    "Players who have finished their high school basketball career and need another year of development in order to find the right college basketball team. The TSF Post Grad Team has housing, food, and educational course options while they work on development on the court. The TSF staff puts together profiles and highlights while using their relationships with college coaches to try to find the right fit."
    Hi Dave. I enjoyed the Zoom meeting with Coach Drink yesterday. Your countdown list has been awesome too. What pro sports do you miss? Opening Day would have been today in St Louis but I miss the Blues way more than the Cardinals. Thanks
    I'm an NBA fan and will definitely miss the playoffs if the season is canceled. 
    I follow the Cardinals and Blues closely and usually always have the Cardinals games on TV or radio during the spring and summer. It's a bummer for a lot of reasons. I'm sad for all the people whose lives and salaries are impacted the most by the loss of games, not necessarily the millionaire athletes and coaches but the workers at the stadiums and arenas. 
    Thoughts on Aldon Smith to the cowboys ?
    I laughed at a headline that said Dallas is giving Smith a second chance. Uhhhh, more like fifth chance. If he's truly clean and sober, then I'm much happier that he's healthy and sober than I am that he's getting another shot at pro football. Most people in any other line of work outside pro sports wouldn't have the chance to revive their careers after all the trouble he's gotten himself into. Most couldn't afford the lawyers that have been able to reduce his charges. At what point are you considered a threat to society? At least three arrests for driving under the influence, hit and run, weapons charges, multiple assault allegations. Again, I'm glad for him that he's gotten sober - according to the latest reports - but at some point, how many chances do you get? Here's a lengthy recap of his trouble with the law over just a six-year span: 
    I enjoyed interviewing Aldon in college. He was a thoughtful young guy. He didn't always like interviews, but once you got him in a conversation he could really engage. I hope for his sake he's healthy. 
    Is Mizzou gonna have a virtual
    Pro day for its football players ?
    I don't think so. Mizzou athletes can't use the facilities other than to rehab injuries. Instead, agents are working with their clients to share virtual workouts with teams. At this point, it's on the players and their agents to work with NFL teams, not their college programs.
  • Are the matter kids Mizzou fans ?
    Somewhat. They're not huge sports fans. They enjoy going to games occasionally, but they have a lot of other interests. They play sports, but they don't live and breathe with pro and college sports teams like I did when I was their age. They rarely watch sports on TV. I think having a sportswriter in the house, someone whose life is consumed by sports, especially Mizzou teams, probably draws them toward their other interests, which is fine with me.

    What was your most viewed story in 2019
    Not sure off the top of my head, but I know the story I did in Springfield on Maty Mauk was the most-read feature story (non game story) I wrote in 2019. Some of the football coaching search stories were among my most-read of the year in terms of online traffic.
    Have you heard of any updates on the assistant coaches from odoms staff (who didn’t get jobs right away)
    Andy Hill is a special teams assistant with the Chiefs. Vernon Hargreaves took a job coaching the D-line at Howard University. Derek Dooley is with the New York Giants as senior offensive assistant. Brad Davis (O-line) and Odom (defensive coordinator) are at Arkansas. AJ Ofodile is the new head coach at Festus High School. 
    As far as I know, no job yet for Cornell Ford or Garrick McGee. I figured McGee might catch on with Bobby Petrino's staff at Missouri State. But nothing new on that front. 
    Dru Smith has a unique way of shooting. Why does his shot look so non-traditional?
  • He's got a funky 3-point shot with the way he holds the ball right before the release. His percentage fell off somewhat this year but he was an elite shooter earlier in his career. No reason to mess with what was working. I'll be interested to see if he tweaks his mechanics this offseason.
  • How do the season football ticket number look compared to other years

    Thanks for these chats. Best in the business!!
  • Way too early for that. They just extended the deadline to renew season tickets. I imagine the vast majority of fans are waiting to see if there will be a season before they invest in tickets.
  • Where is Blaine Gabbert these days. He with a new team ?
    He's a free agent. He played in Tampa last year on a one-year deal. I know Bruce Arians really liked him. He had Gabbert in Arizona then signed him last year in Tampa after Gabbert played in Tennessee. You might have heard, the Bucs just signed another quarterback. Ryan Griffin is their only other QB on the roster, so maybe Arians brings Gabbert back to serve as the new guy's backup.
    Seconds after I answered this question, heres a report that he's going back to Tampa: 

    Ian Rapoport on Twitter

    Twitter“Source: Tom Brady has his backup. Blaine Gabbert is going back to the #Bucs on a 1-year deal.”
    More likely to have a 1000
    Yard rusher next year or a 1000 yard receiver at mizzou.
    Rusher. Rountree.
    Then again, if it's only a nine-game season, maybe not.
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