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.

    Technically, when has the university completed their sanctions that were handed down? After the school year or do some drag into next year as far a recruiting restrictions and scholarship limits on the three affected sports?
    For football, Mizzou has requested that the recruiting restrictions apply to the rest of the 2019-20 school year and not bleed into the 2020-21 season. For baseball and softball, the restrictions will take place for the coming seasons, plus the postseason ban.
    Daves fave. Recruiting question. Does Travion Ford choose MU? Is he high on MU? I think Bama offered him
    He's a 2021 recruit, so I have no idea what he'll decide. I imagine he has no idea. Huge target. He's the kind of local four-star national recruit that Odom couldn't land ... and the kind that Pinkel landed more often than not. These are the kind of players that Drinkwitz needs to be able to sign at a higher rate than his predecessor for Mizzou to be anything more than an .500 program - because you're rarely going to have a shot at a 4-star national recruit from Texas or Tennessee or Florida.
    Dave,

    Quick question. Has HCED filled all of the program's coaching positions?

    Thanks.
    No. He still needs an offensive line coach. As I wrote earlier, I'm told he's down to a couple candidates. Perhaps a decision/announcement by Friday. He'll also have some analysts to hire and grad assistants, but he's not going to have an oversized staff that you see at some other schools.
    Mens Hoops? What draws a bigger crowd a top 25 team or an middle of the pack team with a future 1st draft pick on the roster?
    I don't think it's always one or the other 100 percent of the time. 
    Missouri fans want to see winning teams, and it helps if there's star power on the roster. If Missouri was a top 25 team the fans would come out much more than they are now. If Missouri is not only a top 25 team but a true national contender, then more likely than not there's NBA talent on the roster. Rarely do you see a team with legit Final Four chances without NBA talent. 
    Hi Dave. Who coaches the offense on the basketball staff? I’m not saying we need to be Grinnell but college teams should be able to score 70 points a game. SEC officials are also killing the game with all the fouls. Thanks
    Cornell Mann was hired to install the offense, but that was three years ago, so I'm not sure what the mechanics are officially. But basketball isn't like football where assistant coaches are fully in charge of one side of the ball. In college hoops, head coaches coach and run their systems. This is Martin's offense, Martin's defense, Martin's system. That doesn't mean an assistant coach can't influence the style of play or the system a head coach runs, but the Xs and Os ultimately falls on the head man.
    While I certainly think it's too early to give up on Cuonzo Martin's potential, I'm beginning to wonder if ultimately there might be a ceiling on our success. Is it fair to wonder if he has the offensive philosophy or chops to take us further than just being a good team at some point? Even teams with a defense first mindset have to be able to score more efficiently than his teams here, or at previous schools seem to be able to do if they want to take the step to excellence. I know the loss of our designed top offensive player three years in a row here could be a reason they frequently look out of sorts, but at what point does that seem more like an excuse rather than a reason. So do you think Coach Martin may need to reexamine his offensive blueprint going forward, or is it just a matter of getting all the right pieces in place and giving certain players more time to develop?
    It's absolutely fair to have concerns about the offense. It would be crazy not to have concerns, for this year and moving forward. 
    More than anything, this is still a talent problem. There are players on this team good enough to put up 20 points against a mid-major foe, but they look so much less athletic, less skilled against high-major competition. They play tough and sound defense (most nights), but a handful of players are just so limited offensively.
    And I don't put Tilmon's injury in the same galaxy as losing either of the Porters. Tilmon was underachieving long before he hurt his foot. This team struggled to hit 60 points in several games before he was unavailable. If he's out long-term, then yes, there are some parallels. Like Michael Jr. and Jontay, Tilmon was seen as the centerpiece to the offense when the season began. But he's never been close to the player either of those guys were - or were supposed to be.
    I like Mitchell Smith’s development this season. Now that Tilmon is out indefinitely, I think Mitchell’s continued development and especially aggressive rebounding will be of even more importance to Cuonzo. Thoughts?
    Yes, he's become a valuable piece to this team. (It does say something about Martin's roster-building that he's in year three and two of his five starters are still Kim Anderson holdovers - as was last year's best player.) Smith has turned into a far better player than I would have expected. He's got a nice jumper. He's confident enough to take those shots. He brings endless energy on the defensive end and he can guard multiple positions.
    Good afternoon Dave & hope your day is going well.Please allow me to vent all manner of hell fire and brimstone with the basketball program: This is not the basketball team I "signed up for" as a fan when the team hired Cuonzo Martin. In what is now year 3 under his watch, "scrappy, hard-fought losing efforts" by just barely over double-digits to a powerhouse program like UK or occasional nail-biting down-to-the-final minutes losses to football schools that now have much stronger basketball programs than MU (whereas for many years MU hoops was either way ahead of said football schools or no worse than even with them) have gotten old to me.
    Yes, I suppose we can somewhat once again at least throw in the typical "Mizzou is cursed" excuse for this year's team as well now that Tilmon is done for the year(let's face it: he is) which now makes it a maddening 3 years in a row that Cuonzo has yet again lost one of his top 2-3 players on the team for either the whole season or basically the whole conference season. Except this season, I'm not buying it that this team has reason to collapse into another abysmal SEC conference record even with Tilmon gone. Because sooner or later, doesn't it just have to fall on Coach C to show he's a good enough coach that he can still field a winning team even with one of his top players lost to injury?
    Also, am I wrong to wonder if Cuonzo is perhaps a bit hard-headed with his fanatical  devotion and emphasis(over-emphasis?) to defense?
    Is he that way to the point that he disdains players who have tremendous talent and could give the team some much-needed help offensively but if they're not doing things to his version of perfection on defense, then their asses stay glued to the bench, offensive struggles of the "scrappy hard-nosed" players he puts out there be damned? Wins & losses be damned?
    That's a lot to unpack. I understand the frustration. Yes, Martin puts a major priority on defense. "Defense, rebounding and playing hard." That's always been his mantra and the three most important qualities for any of his teams. He's averaged 20 wins a year with that style - at three places that didn't have an abundance of talent or recent history of success when he arrived. Does he not put enough emphasis on offense? I'm not sure that's true. Some of his philosophies evolved two years ago when he had a roster of more skilled and offensively talented players. He gave those guys the green light to shoot open 3s whenever they wanted. It's easy to forget how much talent that first team had: Kassius Robertson and Jordan Barnett were legit high-major scorers. Jordan Geist was growing into an All-SEC fringe guard. Jontay Porter was a highly skilled 6-11 forward who could play on the perimeter. 
    Since then, it's not like Martin hasn't tried to sign talented offensive players. Ramey. Love. Josh Christopher, whom they continue to recruit. He just hasn't landed those high-profile kids he's recruited. Sometimes he might have a blind spot for unheralded, less skilled players who get by with grit and effort more than natural born talent - but that's not to say he doesn't want talented players. He just hasn't signed as many. 
    Any updates on Kevon Billingsly?
    Nothing to report. He tweeted the other day that he doesn't want people calling him/messaging him about where he'll sign because he's got other stuff going on. Fair enough.
    Dave

    Thank you for the chat. Is the recent SEC tv contract with ABC , an example that college football shouldn’t be worried for the next contract period, or this huge contract is just a sign that the SEC is valued more than other conferences?
    Kobe Brown had two terrible turnovers late in the game Tuesday night where the ball just bounced off his hands. At least one resulted in a basket for the Vols. Did he have a concussion or just shaving points?
    Just a mistake by a freshman from what I could tell. 
    Head injuries are always hilarious, Joe.
    When will the baseball roster be posted?
    I imagine not until classes begin later this month. There's always some 11th-hour scrambling when it comes to scholarships in baseball.
  • If you haven't seen the news, Mississippi State is hiring Mike Leach. Wow. The SEC West just got a whole lot more interesting and competitive, if that's possible. 
    Mizzou plays at Starkville on Nov. 7. Leach was 1-3 against Mizzou when he coached at Texas Tech - with Pinkel beating him in the last three meetings. 
    Ole Miss hired Lane Kiffin and Mississippi State hired Mike Leach. This is why some of the UM curators bristled at the list of names Jim Sterk brought to them during the search. You don't join the SEC and then hire Skip Holtz when you say you need to make an exciting hire. 
    (If you haven't noticed, none of the three coaches Sterk brought to the curators have landed other jobs since then.)
    Do you think Cuonzo should be fired as soon as it is possible to do so? His recruiting has been poor (the first year was based largely upon his personal relationship with the Porter's and that ship has sailed), he doesn't seem to care one whit about offense, plays a boring half-court offense, and looks to go under 500 in a weak conference. Attendance is poor, I hear a lot of complaints from fellow fans about the team being boring to watch....
    No, I don't think he should be fired. If they have a losing record this year and show no progress in 2021, then it's time to make a decision if he's the answer. But there's a lot of basketball to be played between now and then. 
    He didn't have a personal relationship with the Porters. Michael and Jontay wanted to come home and play for just about anyone other than Kim Anderson. That's not to say Martin doesn't deserve credit for landing both players, but that didn't come down to any relationship he had with Michael Sr. 
    A lot of people were expecting improvement from the sophomore class this year but personally I haven't seen much difference from last year to this.
    Pickett still cant finish around the rim and can't hit free throws.
    Pinson has made some plays but still turns the ball over way too much for a PG.
    Watson is still basically a better defensive Matt Lawrence except that his shot has regressed.
    Am I off base or have you seen strides?
    There have been strides but not much consistency. Pinson seems to take one step forward and two steps back. Pickett has been invisible offensively in the losses, as the stat I mentioned earlier. Watson has had two productive games. Either he can't get open against better athletes or can't connect on shots against faster, bigger, stronger defenders.
    I live in KC area and it is like Mizzou hardly even exists. Very disappointing that they don't have a larger media and fan presence in the KC area. We hear about them recruiting St Louis but it appears that both in recruiting and media presence, MU has largely abandoned KC. Something seriously wrong with this school in their athletic department.....
    Thanks for taking part in the chat, but I'm not really sure why you're telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer that the KC media doesn't cover Mizzou enough. I believe they have editors and writers there that you could contact. 
    I was in KC on Tuesday for the Tiger Club's weekly luncheon. They get Mizzou coaches and administrators there all the time as guests. 
    Im very down on Zou hoops these days, I think the last several years of poor attendance and ugly hoops is driving away talented recruits and Martin appears unable to stem the tide with effective recruiting and/or game management. Please, O guru of all things Zou, provide some hope in these dark dark hoops days. What can be done to bring me outta my despair? Its been a long dark few winters.
    Last several years? Mizzou sold out of tickets just two seasons ago and had huge crowds all year. Yes, attendance fell off some last year - again, it appeared fans cared more about seeing five-star players than a team coming off a 20-win season - and they've played all of one home game this year against a high-major foe. Things definitely aren't trending in the right direction, but it's not like things have sunk to Kim Anderson era levels. Maybe things will get worse. Maybe these players have hit a ceiling and won't get any better. If so, recruiting is going to suffer (continue to suffer). Then again, Mizzou didn't hire someone with a track record of building championship teams or signing top-10 classes every year. This job isn't easy. The last year and a half hasn't made it easier. This team can't score - but we've seen it play much better in spots. Can they figure things out before it's too late? Don't know. Keep reading and I'll let you know!
    Leach is going to Mississippi St. was he considered for the Mizzou job? Talk about bringing interest to the program.
  • He was not a consideration. It takes an AD with a stomach for some of Leach's nonsense to make that hire. Sterk is not that guy. I know everyone thinks Leach is a hysterical quote machine, but he can be difficult to employ at times - and he's never been a head coach at a program that's under much local scrutiny. He doesn't handle criticms well and can be a bully. That won't go over as well in a bigger media market where more people are paying attention. That's not to say I wouldn't have tried to hire him if I were Mizzou's AD - but I understand why some people are turned off.
    An observation was made elsewhere recently about the frequency of substitions. Although 8 players rotated most of the game against UT, does HCCM move them in and out so often because he is asking them for high energy on defense? Otherwise, to an admittedly totally ignorant fan, it would seem hard to get any continuity.
    I think the energy factor is a factor. He doesn't want anyone on the court whose tank is running low. Also if you pay attention closely most subs are made for defensive matchups. In the Kentucky game, whenever UK went with both of its bigs at the same time - Montgomery and Richards - Martin made sure he had two of his bigs on the floor. When Calipari went with just one big, Martin would go with a smaller lineup. Against Tennessee, Martin didnt' want Pinson as the only point guard on the court when Yves Pond was on the floor - because Pinson couldn't handle the bigger, stronger Pond on switches, whereas Martin was fine with Dru Smith getting switched on Pons. There is a method to what appears to be madness - and more often than not it comes down to matchups.
    Are there additional Porter brothers that are Mizzou caliber? If not, why keep MP Sr. on the staff when you could use that spot for someone a bit more experienced nationally to aid Martin in recruiting?
  • Because he's on the final year of a guaranteed three-year contract. He was also demoted to a different role this season. It shouldn't be shocking if he's not on the staff next year, but whether he sticks around or not, he's no longer one of the three assistant coaches who handles on-the-court coaching, scouting reports and off-site recruiting. 
    The next really talented Porter is a sophomore, 6-9 sophomore Jevon. He'll be a high-major recruit. 
    These recruits are up on college basketball. I doubt few really good offensive players are longing to come play for Cuonzo "all I care about is defense and rebounding" Martin.
    That's a valid concern. But it wouldn't have been after the 2017-18 season when Mizzou had really good offensive players and played well on that side of the floor.
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