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.

    Happy Thursday - we think? - my quarantining chatters. I'll be here to take your questions for the next couple hours. It's NFL Draft day. Finally, some sports, sort of. You most likely won't hear any Mizzou names called until Friday's portion of the draft. Let's get this thing started.
    Is this years bball recruiting the most disappointing in recent memory? Started off with trying to nag some/one of the big 3 of Fletcher, Love, Christopher and missing. Then all plan Bs and Cs have been misses too. It has been almost comical
    It's been a tough few weeks for the recruiting efforts. There are still some appealing transfer options out there whom Mizzou has contacted. The point guard from Hawaii, Drew Buggs, isn't much of a shooter but he's a pass-first playmaker. Gardner Webb guard Jose Perez would be a solid get, though he'd have to sit out a year unless the NCAA moves fast on first-time transfer waivers. Same for Francis Okoro from Oregon. Still some promising options out there, but there's no way to sugarcoat how the recruiting cycle has unfolded so far.
    Dave, hi
    Thank you for doing this.

    Top prospective college student athletes choosing the G league, what does it mean to the college game?

    1. A good thing , less corruption of recruiting the top athletes and paying them under the table, less academic violations, less one and done which means less students leaving after a year( which might have happened anyway when the one and done rule would have changed) and a return to the days where a college player will be in a place for four years and create a special bond with the fans , the university and college basketball
    2. The end of college basketball , most good players will no longer be apart of the sports and people will lose interest.
    3. College basketball doesn’t end but it becomes subpar , the level is not as good, which means less interest and less money from tv deals.


    What is your take, Dave?
    I'll go with number 3. If the G-League only attracts the elite of the elite HS prospects, the caliber of players who would have jumped immediately to the NBA under the old rules, then the impact on the college game will be negligible. Yes, the college game is better when the Zion Williamsons and Anthony Davises and Kevin Durants spend at least one year in college, but the game won't crumble if those players instead head off to the pros instead of spending nine months on a college campus. The fear would be if the the bulk of the four-star prospects, the players who would otherwise spend two to three years in a college program, start bypassing the traditional college path for the immediate paychecks in the G League. Then you'll have a very watered-down version of college basketball. Maybe that evens the playing field for non-traditional powers, but the game won't be nearly as enjoyable or exciting with less-talented players. 
    As of now, I'm not sure that league could afford to pay 30-50 high school players the $500K salary that's been promised to Jalen Green. But the NCAA better start thinking progressively on this one. I'm a big advocate of Dan Wetzel's model: College basketball should follow the draft system used in college hockey, where every college player is eligible for the draft but if they're drafted they can decide after the draft if they want to sign or return to college. 
    Dave

    Love your Mizzou greatest series of articles. Thanks!

    Just one question: shouldn’t Sophie Cunningham be in the top 3?
    If I thought she should be number 3 then I would have ranked her number 3. Sophie is probably the best player in Mizzou WBB history - Joni Davis and Renee Kelly are in the argument, too - but she never led her team to a conference or national championship or was a finalist for national player of the year. Five of the six ranked ahead of her on the list either won an individual championship (or multiple championships) or won major individual awards at the conference or national level. The one exception was Brad Smith, who was a transcendent player who entirely changed the direction of the most visible program on campus. Sophie's teams were consistently good and always relevant, but it should be noted, never made it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Other MU women's hoops teams made it farther.
    Hi Dave. Your top 30 has been a great source of entertainment for my Mizzou family. Yesterday my oldest son and I thought we had number four figured out and that it was a men b-ball player. Now there are three left and two are given. You’re stumping us Dave. Our pick at number four was an ice in his veins shooter that went 78% from the charity stripe and 38% from 3. We now realize he might not even be in the top 30. We haven’t been this stumped since GOT ended with that lame episode.
  • I'm glad you've enjoyed the series I'm not sure which hoops player you're referring to from my time covering Mizzou (1998-current). But Marcus Denmon was always going to be the highest basketball player to crack the list. He was No. 10 a few days ago.
    I'm not going to give away who landed where in the final three, but two combined for five national championships and the other was named Big 12 athlete of the year and spent a weekend in New York City for a certain award ceremony. 
    Before last season, Albert O had been all but signed, sealed and delivered to the first round of the NFL Draft. Now he's down to "maybe" he'll get picked Friday. What happened with this guy? Is he himself perplexed by his status?
    I don't believe NFL teams ever considered him a definite first-round pick. Media types who put out way-too-early mock drafts always listed him as an early-round pick, but that was probably based more on his size, speed and stats - not his actual play. Scouts that came through Mizzou consistently left the impression with people on the football staff that he was not a sure-fire first-rounder. And that was before his disappointing junior season.
    I reached out to Albert when he first declared for the draft and never heard back, so I don't know what he's thinking about the process. He didn't do a lot of interviews last season, especially once he started to struggle. There were several times we had stories planned on Albert that we had to scrap because he didn't talk to the media. That was disappointing because he was usually a pretty thoughtful guy. I suspected there was tension between Albert and the coaching staff, especially when injuries popped up. I know he and his family weren't happy with Odom during preseason camp when Odom made some rather benign comments about his injury situation.
    Then during the season I thought he lacked polish and focus. Penalties, drops, etc. He's got the tools to be a great one. Maybe the right staff and the right system will pull more out of him. 
    Dave

    Do you see higher education asking for “bailouts” like the airline industry received? Athletic departments will probably won’t ask for that , but if universities might, and if they receive it, they will probably pass some of that money to the athletic departments, which might make their circumstances, in those types of times, a bit better.
    I'm not qualified to make those kinds of predictions. I would hope non-profit athletics departments that don't have to pay taxes would receive bailouts. They can find ways other ways to save a lot of money. Maybe stop rewarding football assistant coaches with 40 percent raises when you win seven games and make the Liberty Bowl. Missouri's not the only program that spends exorbitantly on salaries, but there are plenty of places where they can trim fat before having to, A, cutting non-revenue sports programs, and, B, accepting federal bailouts.
    Is Nick Bolton a 1st rounder? Next Year right?
    He was one of the best linebackers in the country as a first-year starter. I would think he'll have a great chance to be a high NFL pick next year. Now, maybe some teams will flag him for the same reasons some Power 5 teams overlooked him in high school. He's not very tall and not terribly fast. But he's got the chance to become an elite college linebacker despite not owning some of the flashiest measurables.
    Hi Dave - I hope you and your family are doing well. I thought that Marcus Murphy mighit make your Top 30 list. Although you have yet to announce your top 5, I'm assuming he did not make the cut. Was he close to making the top 30. Thanks
  • We're actually down to the final three. Karissa Schweizer was number 5 ... Brad Smith was number 4. 
    Murphy didn't make the cut. Very good player, but when I mapped out about 50 Mizzou athletes - in every sport, remember - he wasn't in my top 50. He was a great return guy but never the best running back on any Mizzou team, always the No. 2 option. 
    Dave,
    Love your Mizzou greatest series , too!

    Did you miss one accolade for Brad Smith or do I have this wrong?
    First (Only?) person to score all the ways an offensive player can score, Running, passing, receiving, KO return, and punt return?

    Thanks!
    Is that accurate? In the official records I checked he never scored a touchdown on a punt return in the NFL. He threw one TD pass in the NFL - in 2010 with the Jets - but he never returned a punt for a TD. He only has two punt returns in his NFL career. He was a kickoff return guy.
    Really enjoy your account of the top 20 athletes during your tenure at MU. Great writing – there is a lot of feeling of grit and determination related in the articles. And a pleasant walk down memory lane. Best MU BB team I ever watched with Denmon and Pressy. Most disappointing was their first round exit at the big dance. It is also amazing how some of the athletes turned from good to great due to their work ethic and determination. Thanks for all your work.
    Thanks for the kind note. There are a lot of common themes with these athletes, especially the ones in the top 10. Not all of them were highly touted recruits, but most of them became not only their team's most successful athlete they were also the hardest workers and set countless examples for teammates, older and younger teammates.
    With the caveat that Cuonzo basically has offers out to every player in the transfer portal and we're all over-scrutinizing basketbal recruiting because there aren't any other sports distractions; I still don't understand the Buggs offer. One year of a low-ceiling, pass first point guard that's had marginal success at the mid-major level. Unless Martin already knows that Pinson isn't returning then Buggs probably doesn't crack 20 minutes/game.

    Also, any chance Jackson stays at Mizzou? Maybe re-recruiting him would be a better use of Martin's effort.
    I'd be surprised if Jackson returns to Mizzou. He's not been engaged with the team in their weekly meetings. He doesn't share much publicly, but there have been some reports linking him to Mississippi State. Not sure he's a great fit for Ben Howland's style of play, but otherwise his recruiting/transfer process has been strangely silent for a top-100 recruit. 
    As for Buggs, I think it makes a lot of sense for Martin to pursue a point guard. The last time I talked to Martin I didn't get the sense he's convinced Pinson is coming back. Until you know for sure you better find another ball-handler. Dru Smith can't play 40 minutes at the point for every game. At times in the second half of the season he was more effective off the ball with Pinson at the point. And as much as Smith fouls, you better have another ball-handler on the roster. 
    Hi Dave. We thought highly of Clarence Gilbert. Man he could shoot. Two time All Big 12. Really enjoyed him.
    Yep, he and Keyon Dooling were really close to making the list. Gilbert over Dooling because he contributed longer to the program and became the team leader on an Elite Eight team. The decision essentially came down to Arthur Johnson vs. Gilbert for No. 30. I went with Doc because he's the program's career leader in blocks and rebounds and a top-10 scorer and in a small class of the most productive big men in team history. Gilbert scored a lot of points, made a lot of 3s and reinvented himself as a point guard as a senior, but I just thought Johnson was more consistently productive, especially early in his career.
    No qualms about your top 30 list and I'm really enjoying it. Kleize, Dooling, Grawer, Gilbert are 4 names that were during your tenure - I figured one or two of them might show up in the 20-30 range. Gilbert in particular was an electric shooter that went to the elite 8 and landed on some all big 12 lists.

    Any thoughts on why they didn't make it? Again no qualms - it's your list, just enjoyed those guys and was curious on your take.
  • Lots of love for Gilbert today. Like I wrote earlier, he was No. 31. He shot a lot and scored a decent amount but one knock on him was he wasn't a very efficient player. He took A LOT of shots. He ranked first and third in the Big 12 in shot attempts as a junior and senior but was never a 40-percent shooter from 3, which is the line of demarcation that separates the very good from the great shooters. Again, he was really close to making the cut.
    On Sophie: Your list, your order, I get it and I don’t debate it. 
    But I do feel the need to defend Sophie against the “never led her team to a championship” argument and share something with your readers. In Sophie’s time at Missouri, she never had an elite teammate, pretty good teammates for sure, but not a single one of them was elite. I’m defining “elite" as being drafted in the WNBA. South Carolina had FIVE first-rounders in Sophie’s time, and Mississippi State had three drafted and another seven kids that were on draft watch lists as reasonable candidates to be drafted. Those undrafted kids who are on watch lists number about 40 per year. Missouri had zero drafted and zero on draft watch lists during Sophie’s four years.
  • I'm aware of all of that and I understand your argument, but, again, I couldn't justify putting any of the top six players behind Cunningham on this list. Scherzer, perhaps. But he was the Big 12 pitcher of the year in 2005 and without a doubt one of the elite players in all of college baseball. I don't think you can say the same for Cunningham. She peaked her senior year as a third-team All-American but nobody talked about her as being the absolute very best at her position in the entire sport. Their credentials are close when I measured up their careers and that's probably why they're back to back on the list.

    Dave

    Do you think , in hindsight, the porter brothers ( and with not fault of their own, see injuries ) ended up making it more difficult for Coach Martin to build a program, in the manner which he initially wanted? Because they raised expectations , and required him to go for the same type of prospects, like they were. He never had those types of prospects prior but was still successful, or you can only succeed in the SEC with porters type of prospects?
    I don't agree. First, he signed two five-star McDonald's All-Americans at Cal two years before he came to Mizzou: Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. He doesn't chase a lot of the five-star guys from year to year but he absolutely recruited - and landed - five-star players before coming to Missouri. 
    Signing the Porters helped Martin fast-track Mizzou's program in year one. Without the Porters, he probably doesn't land Kassius Robertson and might not have landed Jeremiah Tilmon. Those guys were starters on a 20-win team that made the NCAA Tournament, not to mention. Jontay was an integral part of that team. Had Martin not signed the Porters and not landed those other players then maybe he debuts with a 12-win season and things only get worse from there. There was some drama and some tension with the Porters, but in this case there's more upside to signing highly talented players than downside. He didn't have a crystal ball when it happened and couldn't predict the injuries. 
    In this era of social media do you think some of Cuonzos former players that transferred are saying not nice things about him? Like your Blake Harris' ect
    Who else besides Harris? What players who left the program have any credibility with current recruits?
    Blake has a lot of former coaches these days if he's going to spend time bashing people. I think he attended four high schools and how he's on his third college. What credibility does he have?
    How good would Sunvold & Stipo teams have been if college had 3 pt. line when they played? Wonder if anyone has ever asked them their thoughts.
    I wrote a whole chapter about that in my last Mizzou book, focusing exclusively on Sundvold. (Stipo made 10 3s in five NBA seasons, so I doubt he would have shot too many in college.) Here's the math I did: Of the top 10 3-point shooters in Mizzou history, 51 percent of their shots were 3s. If 51 percent of Sundvold's field goal attempts were 3s instead of 2s, he would have scored 1,917 points at Mizzou instead of 1,273 and he would have finished his career as the program's career points leader over Stipo. With 1,917 points, Sundvold would now rank fourth all-time at Mizzou - behind Chievous, Doug Smith and Peeler - instead of 11th, where he ranks now.
    Would those Mizzou teams have been better with the 3-point line? Hard to argue they wouldn't have scored more points considering Sundvold once led the NBA in 3-point percentage. 
    Speaking of Stipo, did everyone catch him on the Pacers during the second episode of "The Last Dance"?
    Thanks so much for your top of Missouri coverage. Really nice sports writer insight as well as interesting personal nites of them . My comment: Your articles helped me realize I am a true blue Mizzou fan more than I realized. I still have a warm and fuzzy about Indiana University sports, especially the Bob Knight era basketball when I was there after Vietnam,.But as I read your count down, other than one person in a non revenue sport, I knew everyone’s basic story even before you wrote this count down. Two thoughts come to my mind. One that I have allowed myself to be immersed in all things Mizxou. Two, your writing has made the Mizzou experience, at least in sports real. Thank you
    Thank you for the kind comment. Much appreciated. Glad you've enjoyed the series. Three big ones coming up. 
    I've had the pleasure of catching up with all four of the athletes at the top of the list. I'll include the complete Q&As with the top three in the online version of their stories Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 
    I suspect fans are going to disagree with the order. That's OK. I spent a lot of time deciding the top three and each story will make the case for why they belong in the spot they landed. 
    Hey Dave, i've also really been digging the 30-athlete countdown, and impressed with the poignant conversations you've had with Frank Haith. What's your take on Haith--how good of a coach is he? Why did he under achieve at Mizzou? Is he to blame for Mizzou's bball struggles of the last decade?
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