Jim Sterk apologizes to Dawn Staley, gives money to her charity

Here are today’s Mizzou links.

The women’s basketball rivalry between South Carolina and Mizzou took a slightly positive turn yesterday, after on-court rivalries spilled into the courtroom earlier this year.

Jim Sterk apologized to Coach Dawn Staley for comments he made about Staley and the atmosphere in the South Carolina game, which suggested she may have encouraged the hostility.

“Following a very spirited and intense game I attended in late January between the nationally ranked Missouri and South Carolina women’s basketball teams, I made comments in a local radio interview that were construed to suggest that Coach Staley promoted the negative experiences of racial epithets and spitting,” Sterk said. “I do not believe Coach Staley would promote such conduct, and I sincerely apologize to her for those comments.”

- Missouri Athletic Director Jim Sterk

Staley spoke afterward with a local TV station about the entire situation. You can click that link and judge for yourself how the it’s all portrayed, but having very recently worked in television news, I found this entire segment to be...well, let’s just say fascinating.

I don’t want to editorialize too much. I do think Sterk went too far with his comments, and I’m glad he apologized. However, I also think this whole build up (pre-lawsuit, I should clarify) was handled poorly by most everyone involved. I’m glad it’s ending on what appears to be a pretty civil note. The University acknowledged there was a problem and did something to fix it. I’ve come to really like Coach Staley’s fire and style, and whatever gets this all back on a positive, competitive track is good with me.

Yesterday at Rock M

David’s piece parses a lot of what I’d been thinking about in terms of next year’s roster. It feels like there are a wealth of players who could potentially break out, and Missouri will need a few of them if they’re looking to get back to the top two or three teams in the SEC East. He mentions a few names I’d thought of and even more that I hadn’t. Check it out.

If you haven’t voted in our poll yet, do so. It’s very scientific.

More Links:

  • Dave Matter did a Q&A for readers at STL Today and answered questions on St. Louis recruiting, Jontay Porter, the South End Zone Project, and budgeting! Hurray for budgets!
  • Mizzou is, once again, not part of the Big XII/SEC challenge. It’s disappointing, but Aaron Reiss’ explainer at the KC Star is helpful in understanding the process. And as Matt Harris points out...

Here are the other matchups if you’re interested.

  • A few bits of recruiting news. 2019 point guard target Rocket Watts is set to announce his top schools in the coming week.

Also Terrence Hargrove Jr. is out here living his best life.

category: Uncategorized

10 Questions: Matter on Mizzou sports – STLtoday.com


10 Questions: Matter on Mizzou sports
QUESTION: Ohio State football made its presence felt recently in St. Louis by recruiting a couple of the area's top players. Barry Odom has his work cut out for him if he has to keep going up against the likes of Urban Meyer. How do you assess Mizzou's ...

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Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel yells at the official to toss a player from the game after a personal foul against Missouri Tigers running back Henry Josey during the SEC Championship game between Auburn University and the University of Missouri at the ...

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IF Jontay Returns… What does that do for Mizzou Basketball?

We asked Twitter, here’s what they said!

In case you missed it, we asked a poll question to our Twitter audience yesterday. With all of the talk about Jontay Porter (possibly) returning, we became curious about what that does for the expectations of the Tigers heading into next season. See the results below and some of the replies we had.

It looks like Jontay coming back has people feeling like a Tournament team, but just barely. Over 1,600 votes were cast and nearly 60% of your said the team would squeak into the tournament. With another 36% of the vote going to MULTIPLE wins in the NCAA tournament, Mizzou fans are going against type and being... **gasp** ... optimistic. Only a measley 5% of you said they’d be NIT bound.

Now, to some of the replies.


THIS guy. He’s right, but why do you have to be like that, Ron?

Now THAT’s better!

We are going to need some Synergy stats on that, Matthew J Harris.

Now, what do you think?

Be sure to keep an eye out on the Rock M Nation Twitter page for more fun polls and topics.

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Who are Mizzou’s main recruiting opponents? – Rivals.com (press release)

Rivals.com (press release)

Who are Mizzou's main recruiting opponents?
Rivals.com (press release)
Since Barry Odom took over as Missouri's football coach in 2016, the Tigers have signed 70 players. In analyzing which schools Odom and his staff had to beat out most frequently to land those prospects, two schools tie for the lead. One is Illinois ...

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8 sneaky important players for the 2018 Missouri Tigers – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

8 sneaky important players for the 2018 Missouri Tigers
Rock M Nation (blog)
Those dozen listed above would, rightly, be considered among the most important factors upon which the fate of the 2018 Missouri Tigers will rest. Those are the .... In today's world of college football, no feature back is an island unto himself ...

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8 sneaky important players for the 2018 Missouri Tigers

Larry Rountree was a bit of a surprise standout on offense last year. Can he inhabit the same role this time around, even with Damarea Crockett back?

Beyond the obvious 10 or 12, which players could hold the keys to the Tigers’ fortunes this season?

Drew Lock. Terry Beckner Jr. Damarea Crockett. Emanuel Hall. Albert Okwuegbunam. The offensive line. Terez Hall and Cale Garrett.

Those dozen listed above would, rightly, be considered among the most important factors upon which the fate of the 2018 Missouri Tigers will rest. Those are the no-brainers.

But what about some of the more under-the-radar guys? Players who aren’t obvious choices to be stars for this year’s Tigers but who, if they find a way to put together plus years, could go a long way toward being the difference between 6-6 and, say, 8-4 or 9-3?

Let’s take a look at eight such players on the Missouri rosters, ones who may not play starring roles in season preview stories but could end up having a lot to say about how the ‘year in review’ features go.

It’s not my place to make relative importance judgments, so let’s go ahead and take them alphabetically:

TE Kendall Blanton, Sr.

2017 stats: 16 targets, 6 catches, 138 yards, TD; 26.1 snaps per game

Blanton was a part-time starter last year who increasingly took the back seat to Okwuegbunam as the season went on. Still, he played crucial roles as a lead blocking back in the Tigers’ run game, as well as a recipient of the surprise read option seam route that Lock peppered in for big plays from time to time.

With Jason Reese graduated and candidates such as Brendan Scales and Logan Christopherson inexperienced, coordinator Derek Dooley is going to need Blanton’s versatility – 50 percent of his snaps came in the backfield last year, 35 attached to the line, 15 split wide – in all aspects of the offense, both as a sub for Okwuegbunam and in two- or (dare we say?!?!!?) three-tight end sets.

S Joshuah Bledsoe, Soph.

2017 stats: 13 tackles, TFL, sack; 9.6 snaps per game

From the seemingly always confused jumble that is the Tigers’ safety corps emerges a true sophomore who played his way out of a redshirt and onto the field in a pivotal role last season. Bledsoe was Missouri’s main specialty set weapon last year, moving into Kaleb Prewett’s nickel linebacker role once the Tigers moved Prewett to safety just before the midway point of the season.

Through spring ball, Bledsoe moved back to his natural position and carved out a spot for himself with the 1s alongside Cam Hilton. Now he has experience playing in the box as well as shadowing slot receivers in third-and-long pass situations, both of which could prove very valuable as he roams the deep quadrants for the Tigers.

WR Nate Brown, Sr.

2017 stats: 13 targets, 11 catches, 89 yards; 12.8 snaps per game

This is where Brown was supposed to be before the 2016 season, before the ankle injury that cost his entire junior season. Missouri needs a steady, mid-level guy to play opposite of Hall and Johnathon Johnson’s field-stretching capabilities, and the veteran – the one who actually played on the Tigers’ 2014 SEC East championship squad – could hold that key. He caught 84.6 percent of the passes thrown his way last season.

Yes, it’s an extremely small sample size, but even if he puts about 10 percentage points on Hall and Johnson’s catch rates from last year – 55.2 percent, combined – over 60 to 70 targets, that’s 35-45 valuable catches. Brown can be the hitch/cross/shallow post/seam guy that provides a nice counterbalance to Hall and Johnson’s vertical threat.

NCAA Football: Idaho at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nate Brown

P Corey Fatony, Sr.

2017 stats: 44.3 average, 21 of 58 (36%) inside the 20, 16 of 58 (28%) 50+ yards

Fatony’s had kind of a strange career in black and gold. As a freshman, the Tigers’ abysmal offense made his leg nearly fall off. He set a school record for punts in a season and booted the ball 6.75 times a game. The past two years, with the offense picking up, punts have been harder to come by: 5.50 per game in 2016, 4.46 in 2017. So Fatony’s found a way to amp up the quality in absence of quantity, becoming a master of skying, angling and making his punts nearly impossible to return.

How does he become even more valuable this year? By doing the same thing. But, with the offense being a bit more methodical, each punt is going to mean more. A punt in a 13-possession game is, generally, about 24 percent more impactful than a punt in a 17-possession game. An opponent starting five of its post-punt possessions in a 17-possession game is less impactful than five in 13. Just ask Missouri, which started 10 of its 17 possessions inside the 20 in the Texas Bowl, thanks to the Longhorns’ Michael Dickson.

Fatony is already a huge part of the Tigers’ field-position equation. He could be an even bigger part if Missouri’s offense starts throttling down the possessions in a game.

CB Christian Holmes, Soph.

2017 stats: missed season following shoulder surgery

The most healthy Missouri pass defenses have three capable cornerbacks they can trot onto the field at any time. E.J. Gaines and Randy Ponder had an Aarion Penton in 2013. Penton and Kenya Dennis had a John Gibson (and a Logan Cheadle) in 2015.

DeMarkus Acy and Adam Sparks ended up being fairly solid starters at corner for the Tigers by the end of last season. Holmes’ continued development will have a lot to say about how strong Missouri’s third option is this year. If Holmes is the answer, given his size/strength profile, he could not only be a valuable 2b option at corner, but also a piece Missouri could use in its Nickel and Dime sets.

His trajectory had him en route to a starting spot as a true sophomore last year. Things didn’t really turn out as planned, but he can still see his way to a significant role with the Tigers’ defense in 2018.

DT Walter Palmore, Sr.

2017 stats: 13 tackles, 2.0 TFL; 16.4 snaps per game

Or, like, any one of eight other interior defensive linemen. Really, Missouri just needs someone besides the guy with “Beckner” on the back of his jersey to be a difference-maker at tackle. Palmore started alongside Beckner at the spring game and was fully in the top-three rotation at the beginning of last year before injury sidetracked him.

With Missouri experimenting with a 3-4 front (Beckner at end every now and then? Wouldn’t that be fun…), Palmore is the type of big-bodied block absorber who could be a really valuable nose. Depending on how these next couple months go, he could be the tip of the spear on a deep, talented pool of tackles, or the least bad option in a group of guys without much experience at the major-conference level. Either way, he should be a factor.

NCAA Football: South Carolina at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Walter Palmore

RB Larry Rountree, Soph.

2017 stats: 126 carries, 703 yards, 6 TD; 8 targets, 5 catches, 57 yards; 22.0 snaps per game

In today’s world of college football, no feature back is an island unto himself. Unless you play in the Big Ten or something. Then Melvin Gordon’s running the ball like 75 times a game (he’s still at Wisconsin, right?). In the ess-eee-bleepin-cee, though, even if you have a Leonard Fournette, you still need some other guys to sop up 15 to 20 carries a game. Henry Josey had his Russell Hansbrough, Hansbrough had his Marcus Murphy, Crockett had his Ish Witter and, last year, Witter had his Rountree.

Somewhat surprisingly, as Rountree was a little-used true freshman before Crockett’s injury upped his usage considerably: from 6.3 carries a game over his first four to 12.4 over his last eight. We don’t know, yet, how far back from the shoulder injury Crockett is. We do know, though, that Rountree is going to be an important part of the offense, either as a feature back or as Crockett’s Robin. That’s a role in which he excelled last year. And, lest we forget, Rountree was also the Tigers’ top kick returner. He’ll make his presence known in some form.

DE Tre Williams, Soph.

2017 stats: 20 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks; 21.8 snaps per game

The most experienced returning player at the Tigers’ least experienced position. And it’s the position the Tigers have been the most famous for over the past decade or so. And he’s just a redshirt sophomore. And he missed the last half of spring ball following shoulder surgery. The end equation has the potential to look real ugly for Missouri this year. But, if Williams comes all the way back and consistently maintains the flashes he showed toward the end of last season, the Tigers could also be onto something real special.

You could almost see the light bulb switch on for Williams last year, and the coaches rewarded him, upping his action to 29 snaps per game over the final six. Missouri’s marquee end has put up at least 7.0 sacks a season since 2013. Williams has the best chance of improving on that number. And, if he doesn’t, the Tigers’ line could be in trouble.

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou’s latest APR numbers are in and, whew, that was close

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Mizzou’s athletic department got the latest Academic Progress Rate scores in yesterday, and given all the trouble men’s basketball has had in the past few years, things were sure to be tight. Just how tight?

[breaths huge sigh of relief]

That 851 from 2013-2014 is still dragging down the four-year score by quite a bit, but thankfully it won’t be able to hurt the program after this year. This past year’s score won’t be anything to write home about with several transfers on the docket, but it can’t get much worse than 851... at least, I hope not.

Still, there doesn’t seem to be much to worry about moving forward. Cuonzo Martin’s creed of wanting to be an example in life for the young men he coaches would hopefully extend to dedication in the classroom. With a few good scores on the card, he can start to earn those bonuses, and Missouri fans don’t have to dread APR score days anymore.

Yesterday at Rock M

Ryan Herrera has done a great job covering the baseball team for us this year, and hopefully he has more to do. Missouri’s resume looks pretty good in a lot of ways: 14 RPI Top 50 wins; Top 60 strength of schedule; and playing in the tough SEC conference. However, a 12-18 conference record isn’t great, especially after the Tigers had to sneak into their own tournament to get another chance at postseason life. Never say never I guess, but it’s not looking good for the Tigers in Steve Bieser’s second year.

I’ll have more this summer on what happened to the Tigers’ promising start this year, but T.J. Sikkema has a lot to do with it. The dominant southpaw looked much more human this season, failing to display that pristine control that was so key in his freshman year.

More Links:

  • Dave Matter and Alex Schiffer each gave their takes on the end of the baseball season and Missouri’s chances at making the tournament. Neither seem too confident.
  • Matter also released a pretty amazing profile on Mizzou long-distance runner Megan Cunningham. Powerful stuff. (ABC 17’s Tyler Murry also did a profile on Cunningham about a month ago, which you can watch here.)
  • Aaron Reiss at the KC Star detailed why Barry Odom doesn’t like the early recruiting period and why some are (and aren’t) with him.
  • Gabe DeArmond published his weekly mailbag, which is always chock-full of good information and humor.
  • Torrence Watson is getting excited to be in Columbia (at least that’s what I assume this is about.)

Maybe in that time he can convince Jontay to stay another year? No movement on the impending Jontay decision, either.

  • Jordan Clarkson has 8 points and 2 rebounds off the bench for the Cavaliers in last night’s Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Cavs ended up losing 96-83, but it wasn’t because of Clarkson, who was actually a plus player (+2) during his time on the court. Maybe he could’ve helped his team out by shooting better than 3-10 from the field, though.

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Ishmael Burdine confident LSU offer is on the way – SECcountry.com


Ishmael Burdine confident LSU offer is on the way
Welcome to SEC Country's daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss 3-star Louisiana defensive back Ishmael Burdine, who has been in contact with LSU secondary coach ...

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Mizzou basketball barely avoids NCAA penalty for APR – The Daily Post-Athenian

The Daily Post-Athenian

Mizzou basketball barely avoids NCAA penalty for APR
The Daily Post-Athenian
Missouri Tigers forward Jontay Porter (11), Brett Rau (10) and Kevin Puryear (24) celebrate a play during first half action between the University of Missouri and Florida State on Friday, March 16, 2018, in the NCAA college basketball tournament at ...

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Texas Football: Are the Longhorns worthy of preseason top 20 ranking? – Hook ‘Em Headlines

Hook 'Em Headlines

Texas Football: Are the Longhorns worthy of preseason top 20 ranking?
Hook 'Em Headlines
Since Texas finished on a high note with a bowl victory over Drew Lock and the Mizzou Tigers, and with seven wins, the body of work is there for the Horns to be inside some top 25 polls. Head football coach Tom Herman also did his due diligence to ...

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Mizzou basketball barely avoids NCAA penalty for academic progress – STLtoday.com


Mizzou basketball barely avoids NCAA penalty for academic progress
Missouri Tigers forward Jontay Porter (11), Brett Rau (10) and Kevin Puryear (24) celebrate a play during first half action between the University of Missouri and Florida State on Friday, March 16, 2018, in the NCAA college basketball tournament at ...

and more »

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Missouri loses first SEC Tournament game, now awaits NCAA fate

A three-run seventh for South Carolina may have ruined the Tigers’ chances at earning an NCAA regional bid.

Missed opportunities hurt.

In every inning from the fifth through the eighth Tuesday against South Carolina, Missouri put a runner in scoring position, only to see him stranded on base.

Fly outs, double plays and strikeouts all took turns ending the Tigers’ rallies, and so it went that the Gamecocks used a three-run seventh to eliminate Missouri from the SEC tournament and perhaps from NCAA tournament contention with a 4-2 first round victory in Hoover, Alabama.

Missouri revealed its lineup for the matchup just before first pitch, yet the card looked different.

Brian Sharp had led off every game since May 3 vs. Georgia, and had led off every game in which he has started since April 20 vs. Vanderbilt. However, Missouri coach Steve Bieser decided to bat him third to face the Gamecocks.

Although it would prove critical to have the steady bat Sharp provides in the heart of the order, the success he has had in the lead-off spot as of late could have jumpstarted early offense for the Tigers.

Instead, South Carolina’s Carmen Mlodzinksi dominated Missouri the first time through the order. The Tigers went nine up, nine down in the first three innings, with five batters recording strike outs.

Meanwhile, T.J. Sikkema did his job in keeping the Gamecocks off the board.

Sikkema matched Mlodzinski with a 1-2-3 first and third, and generated a double play to get out of a jam with two men on in the second.

While they couldn’t do much against Mlodzinski in any of their first at-bats, Missouri’s hitters were at least able to get a good look at the righty on the mound.

This would prove to be huge, as the Tigers flipped a switch in the fourth en route to a big inning. Connor Brumfield and Trey Harris both singled to start and advanced on a wild pitch, and Sharp grounded out to first to give the Missouri the lead. Zach Hanna then took a walk before Chad McDaniel singled to drive in Harris, giving Sikkema a two-run cushion.

In the fifth, though, Sikkema’s fortunes came to an end.

The southpaw gave up a double, a single and another double in succession, allowing a run while putting runners on second and third. To counter what looked to be a game-changing inning for South Carolina, Bieser brought the experienced Andy Toelken out of the pen.

The senior validated Bieser’s decision, recording two strikeouts and inducing a fly out from Madison Stokes to escape the jam.

Toelken pitched a 1-2-3 sixth as well, but just like Sikkema two innings earlier, he couldn’t keep the Gamecocks at bay.

South Carolina loaded the bases with one out in the seventh for Carlos Cortes, who walked to tie the score. Stokes then hit a sac-fly to left to give the Gamecocks the lead, and Jonah Bride singled to left to bring in another and extend the lead to two.

Bryce Montes de Oca came on in relief, giving up a walk to load the bases before getting a fly out to finally get the Tigers out of the inning.

The blow would end up being fatal, though, as Missouri wasted a one-out double from Sharp in the eighth before Matt Berler grounded into a double play in the ninth to end the Tigers’ run in the SEC tournament.

Now, Missouri will have to sit back and hope its resume is strong enough to warrant a spot in the NCAA tournament field of 64. The selection show will air Monday at 11 p.m. (CT) on ESPNU, and you can bet that the Tigers especially the seniors will be watching very closely.

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Missouri loses first SEC Tournament game, now awaits NCAA fate – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Missouri loses first SEC Tournament game, now awaits NCAA fate
Rock M Nation (blog)
FINAL | #Mizzou drops this one. #MIZ #C2E ⚾ pic.twitter.com/1vUq6jadTs. — #MizzouBaseball (@MizzouBaseball) May 23, 2018. Missed opportunities hurt. In every inning from the fifth through the eighth Tuesday against South Carolina, Missouri put a ...
South Carolina baseball: SEC Tournament bracket, schedule, datesSECcountry.com

all 31 news articles »

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Mizzou AD Jim Sterk sets out to find a new softball coach

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

The softball season hasn’t been over for long, but we already found out the fate of interim coach Gina Fogue when Mizzou announced Jim Sterk would begin a nationwide search for their next softball coach:

“A national search is underway to recruit the very best individual to lead Mizzou Softball into the future. Our program enjoys a rich tradition, plays in a state-of-the-art facility and competes in the nation’s toughest conference, and it is our desire to build upon past successes moving forward. We will not utilize a search consultant in this process, and in order to protect the integrity of the search, I will have no further public comments regarding the process or the status of any candidates until the announcement of Mizzou’s next head softball coach is made.”

Sterk is correct, Mizzou’s softball facilities are top notch and Ehren Earlywine proved you can win and win big at Missouri winning 50 or more in three straight seasons and cruising past 40 wins in eight of his first nine seasons.

But his combative style of coaching and prickly personality rubbed enough people the wrong way that he found himself out of a job, and was replaced in short term by assistant Gina Fogue.

Fogue, it should be noted, did a terrific job on short notice.

Just before the season starts isn’t a normal time to remove your head coach and Fogue put a patchwork roster together and still found a way to win enough games to warrant an NCAA tournament win. They played hard and together and overall it was a solid season.

So now it’s time to turn the page.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • J’MON!
  • Jordan Barnett, fresh off his workout with the Los Angeles Lakers, lined up the Boston Celtics next:
  • I’m assuming the baseball game ended? Anyone know what happened?

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From wheelchair to football field, remarkable journey lands Harold Brantley with Ottawa Redblacks – Ottawa Sun

From wheelchair to football field, remarkable journey lands Harold Brantley with Ottawa Redblacks
Ottawa Sun
“The doctors didn't know if I'd be able to play football again for the first month and a half,” said Brantley, who had 54 tackles and five sacks for the Missouri Tigers in 2014. “A lot of times, I wanted to quit. I couldn't move without pain, I couldn ...

and more »

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Report: Mizzou looking for new softball coach after firing Gina Fogue – Saturday Down South

Saturday Down South

Report: Mizzou looking for new softball coach after firing Gina Fogue
Saturday Down South
Back in January, the Missouri Tigers fired softball coach Ehren Earlywine just before the start of the 2018 season. Then, Gina Fogue took over as the interim coach, leading the Tigers to a 30-29 record before they were eliminated from the NCAA ...

and more »

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PODCAST! Rock M Radio Presents: Dive Cuts with Sam Snelling and Matthew Harris

Joined by Special Guest Rob Dauster of NBC Sports

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another episode of Dive Cuts presented by Rock M Radio. Sam and Matt are joined by Rob Dauster from College Basketball Talk at NBC Sports. You can find Rob’s work at collegebasketball.nbcsports.com and on Twitter @RobDauster. They cover a wide range of topics including the Porter brothers and the NBA, the SEC, and more! Check it out below.

Episode Breakdown:
:20 – 2:35: Intro/A preview of this week’s interview with Rob Dauster.
2:40 – 45:30: Rob Dauster Interview: Talking Porter Brothers in the NBA draft, Mizzou Basketball, Cuonzo Martin, and a little SEC lookahead.
45:35 – 52:56: Recapping the Rob Dauster Interview and some thoughts.
52:57 – 58:50: Mizzou’s recruiting update and the Roster Update.
58:51 – END: Wrap-Up, Subscribe, Rate and Review Rock M Radio!

To subscribe to Rock M Radio on iTunes, click HERE!

Android User? Find us HERE!

To listen on SoundCloud, click HERE or listen below:

You can follow the members of Today’s show on Twitter @SamTSnelling, @MattJHarris85, @RobDauster.

Do you like Rock M Radio? Drop us a Review and be sure to subscribe to Rock M Radio on your preferred podcasting platform. And be sure to follow @RockMRadio on Twitter.

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Report: Jontay Porter is leaning towards returning to Mizzou

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

May tends to be a very slow period for news.

Having not one but TWO former basketball players going through the NBA draft trials and tribulations bestows us the faculty to track a different news cycle.

So Jontay Porter...

Multiple league sources say Missouri big man Jontay Porter, the younger brother of Michael Porter, is leaning toward returning to school for his sophomore season. Porter is a skilled shooter and passer who needs to get in better shape to prove he can defend. He’s currently projected as a late-first- to mid-second-round pick. The 2019 draft class is weaker, so Jontay could rise into the lottery with a strong sophomore season.

It’s important to understand the NBA news cycle leading up to the draft.

You can’t trust the motives of sources.

On one hand this could be completely true. Mizzou still hasn’t filled it’s last scholarship for next season and they could certainly use a skilled and talented player like Jontay Porter back in the line up. But there is just one problem I have with this report, it would fly in the face of just about ALL the information we, here at Rock M Nation, and others in Mizzou media-land have uncovered since before Jontay Porter even declared.

If there’s one thing I’ve come to learn about recruiting and college football and basketball players it’s I never know anything 100%. When it comes to where Jontay Porter was going to play basketball next season I’ve long felt with 99% certainty it was not going to be at Missouri next season. So with as much certainty as I could muster I believed Porter was gone.

I don’t want to say I’m coming around, but I’m dropping my certainty to about 93.5% Jontay is gone. He still has a workout scheduled with Atlanta on the eve of the final deadline for returning to school.

So no matter what, this decision is going to last all the way up to the last hour and minute before we have confirmation.

But Jontay wasn’t the only Porter in the news, from the same article:

The Clippers are open to moving up in the draft, according to multiple league executives. They’re armed with picks nos. 12 and 13, and have the assets to get creative. A front-office exec said that Michael Porter Jr. is a possible target for the Clippers, who could slide the forward into their modernized system as a go-to scorer. Funnily enough, later that day, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer paused his own interview session with reporters to stand and listen behind a media scrum around Porter.


I’ve never seen an owner in the media area; the only other team owner that I’m aware was even at the combine is Golden State’s Joe Lacob. But Ballmer, a Seattle resident, is familiar with the former Nathan Hale High School product. “About my only real contribution [to the draft] is to say, ‘Hey, I saw some high school kid in Seattle and he looked really good.’ And it turns out it’s probably a kid who will be the no. 1 or no. 2 pick,” Ballmer said on The Bill Simmons Podcast in March 2017. “[Porter] plays in the same league as my son, so I have watched him play a few times. … And they say, ‘Thank you very much for your scouting. Go back to that mathy stuff.’”

The Clippers angle is a really interesting one. They can afford some of the risk applied with the huge potential upside of MPJ. Porter has a real opportunity to be a superstar if his health permits. But there aren’t a lot of teams at the top of the draft who can afford to pull the trigger on such a risk, even if they’re forgoing a potential all-star.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Matt’s done a great job tracking Mizzou recruits and their statistics through OpenLook Analytics.

category: Uncategorized

Report: Jontay Porter strongly considering return to Missouri for sophomore season – SECcountry.com


Report: Jontay Porter strongly considering return to Missouri for sophomore season
Demariyon Houston. Millwood , Class of '19. Oklahoma City , Oklahoma. WR. 6-0, 165 pounds. Top Schools: Missouri Tigers. Iowa State Cyclones. Kansas Jayhawks. Oklahoma State Cowboys · View All Recent Articles. 2018 Football Schedule & Results. VS.

and more »

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou just added 7 WRs in the 2018 class but might be looking to add 3-4 more in 2019 – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Mizzou just added 7 WRs in the 2018 class but might be looking to add 3-4 more in 2019
Rock M Nation (blog)
There is an art to the scholarship numbers game, especially at the more high-volume positions — receiver, offensive line, linebacker, etc. You are recruiting for two or three years out, and if you don't do a proper job, or if you suffer some attrition ...

category: Uncategorized

Who’s Mizzou looking for at WR in 2019?

Can Barry Odom and company get back in St. Louis’ good graces and nab a couple of star wideouts?

There is an art to the scholarship numbers game, especially at the more high-volume positions — receiver, offensive line, linebacker, etc. You are recruiting for two or three years out, and if you don’t do a proper job, or if you suffer some attrition, it’ll take you a couple of years to get things back in order.

The Mizzou receiving corps, of course, is the ultimate example. After years of cycling through stars, Gary Pinkel and his staff found themselves playing with fire a few years ago. Thanks to the early dismissal of players like Dorial Green-Beckham and Levi Copelin, the Tigers found themselves replacing all three WR starters (DGB, L’Damian Washington, and Marcus Lucas) after 2013 ... and then again after 2014, following the loss of Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt, and Darius White.

This double-dip turnover was disastrous. Mizzou entered 2015 with a starting lineup of sophomores J’Mon Moore and Nate Brown, and senior Wes Leftwich. Combined career catches: 10.

Moore would eventually develop into a draft-caliber wideout, and Brown still has a little bit more time to live up to his four-star rating, but Mizzou went from having an incredible receiving corps in 2013 to a good one in 2014 to the worst one in the SEC in 2015. Combine that with a true freshman quarterback and an offensive line that was also dealing with repercussions of recent recruiting failures, and you’ve got a formula for the worst Mizzou offensive in a generation.

Two years later, the numbers were finally starting to balance out again. Moore, Emanuel Hall, and Johnathon Johnson combined for 139 catches, 2,623 yards, and 24 touchdowns last year, and backup Richaud Floyd had 14, 170, and two, respectively. Moore’s a Green Bay Packer now, but the other three return, giving Mizzou lovely continuity for 2018.

The faucet has to remain on, however. Mizzou will lose Hall and Brown after 2018 and Johnson and Floyd after 2019. Barry Odom signed five freshman receivers, plus Oregon grad transfer Alex Ofodile (a junior) and JUCO transfer Harry Ballard III (a sophomore) in this past recruiting class, but based on need and the number of offers so far — per 247, Mizzou has offered 33 WRs — suggest he wants at least another two in this class, and possibly as many as three or four.

Let’s see what we can learn about these offers.

Wide Receivers

  • Likely number of signees: 3-4
  • 2018 depth chart (approximate): Emanuel Hall (Sr.), Johnathon Johnson (Jr.), Nate Brown (Sr.), Richaud Floyd (Jr.), Harry Ballard III (So.), Dominic Gicinto (Fr.), Alex Ofodile (Jr.), Justin Smith (Jr.)
  • 2019 depth chart: Johnson (Sr.), Floyd (Sr.), Ballard (Jr.), Gicinto (So.), Ofodile (Sr.), Smith (Sr.), Kam Scott (RSFr.), Jalen Knox (RSFr.), Danny Gray (RSFr.), Khmari Thompson (RSFr.)
  • 2020 depth chart: Ballard (Sr.), Gicinto (Jr.), Scott (So.), Knox (So.), Gray (So.), Thompson (So.)
  • 2019 commits: Shamar Nash (6’2, 190, 4-star prospect from IMG Academy via Memphis)

Thanks in part to the addition of Ballard and Ofodile, the classes are pretty nicely balanced here. I do figure at least one true freshman finds the rotation this fall, and since Gicinto was in for spring, I’ll go ahead and designate him as the guy who plays. It could be any of them, and it might be more than one. Either way, not much will be asked of 2019’s WR recruits for a couple of years. If one breaks through immediately, awesome.

Shamar Nash is still committed, technically

Nash was Mizzou’s first 2019 commitment, securing his reservation back in February. He has no historic ties to Mizzou, and every interview he’s given since his commitment makes it seem like MU and Arkansas are basically tied atop his list, but for now, he’s still technically aboard. And that’s good because, well, he’s good.

Looking for wideouts, not slots

With Johnson and Floyd, Mizzou is set at slot receiver for a couple of years, and freshmen like Gicinto, Kam Scott, and/or Jalen Knox could easily fit in that role in the future. So as whole, Odom seems to be aiming for some bigger guys to line up wide. Of the 33 known WR offers, prospects’ median size is 6’2, 185 pounds — not exactly DGB, Lucas, and Washington, but not Johnson and Floyd either. Nash is 6’2, 190, and a key in-stater is within that range, too. There are a few smaller receivers on the table, including St. John Vianney’s Kyren Williams (5’10, 200) and Cardinal Ritter’s Cameron Coleman (5’10, 184)


The most high-profile recruit on Mizzou’s recruiting board is St. Louis Trinity Catholic blue-chipper Marcus Washington, a 6’2, 193-pounder and the No. 59 prospect in the country, per the 247Sports Composite. Mizzou recently made Washington’s top six, but as seems to always be the case with good STL WRs, Ohio State appears to be in good position to secure his services. Mizzou still has a shot, though. Plus, Coleman is a four-star prospect, and Williams is a fast rising high-three.

My goal with these position-by-position pieces is to stay pretty vague about specific recruits since we know how the typical Mizzou recruiting cycle tends to work — the big names on the board early on are not the ones we end up reading and writing about on signing day.

But obviously Mizzou could use a good break or two in St. Louis; last year was an abysmal year in that regard. And landing either or both of these four-stars — or at least three-star CJ Boone of Parkway North — would be a nice start.

Texas produces receiver talent

Of Mizzou’s 33 known receiver offers, 13 hail from the state of Texas, with four more from Missouri, four from Florida, and three from Tennessee. That pretty adequately describes Barry Odom’s Texas-leaning recruiting philosophy.

Now, a lot of these 13 guys are blue-chippers who have either committed elsewhere or don’t have Mizzou high on the list. But one name to continue keeping an eye on is North Richland Hills wideout Rashee Rice, a 6’2, 177-pounder and mid-three-star prospect. He told PowerMizzou about having a strong relationship with receivers coach A.J. Ofodile back in March.

Best-case scenario?

Until Washington chooses Ohio State or anyone other than Mizzou, he remains an obvious choice for the best-case scenario list. Based on both talent and improved perceptions, we’ll say the best-case for a four-man receiver haul would be retaining Nash and adding Washington, Coleman, and Rice. That could change, like, tomorrow. We’ll see.

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Mizzou softball saw its postseason run end. Will baseball find its mojo?

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

The end of the storm arrived quietly for the Missouri softball team.

On Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners sent the Tigers packing in the NCAA tournament regional and with it ushered in the formal transition to a new era for the program. On the field, the Tigers’ 7-0 loss came amid a flurry of mistakes to the No. 4 overall seed in the tournament.

“I’m so proud of our group for showing so much fight these last three games and coming away with two victories,” interim coach Gina Fogue said. “It was a theme for us all year long, as we continually fought until the end in each and every game. It was fitting that our season concluded that way too. We have a lot of very talented pieces returning in 2019 and I’m excited for what’s in store in the future.”

Earlier in the day, the Tigers avenged their opening-game loss to Tulsa, prevailing in a 6-5 elimination game that started late Saturday night and was pushed into Sunday after rain swamped Norman.

Mizzou finished the year at 30-29, a campaign that began with coach Ehren Earleywine’s ouster, saw a young team miss the SEC tournament, which is just so happened to be hosting, and still make the NCAA tournament under the direction of interim coach Gina Fogue.

I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of the program or its internal politics. But it’s a testament to the program and Fogue that it steered just clear of the shoals and found safe harbor in an NCAA tournament regional. However, you feel about Earleywine and his dismissal, the program managed to meet some of the benchmarks that would define a successful season.

Now all the parties involved can start anew. For his part, MU athletic director Jim Sterk will try to install girders for long-term support of what’s arguably the school’s premier Olympic sport. Obviously, it begins with a coaching search.

What does Sterk have to sell? Turns out, a pretty impressive package.

There are the $17.5 million stadium and associated facilities that opened this spring. In terms of a budget, MU ranks firmly in the SEC’s middle class, spending an average of $1.3 million annually for the last decade. There’s ceiling that can be vaulted: eight super regionals and three Women’s College World Series trips in that same span. And if a coach gets the program humming, fans have shown they’ll turn out in droves.

No, we can’t be naive about the rancor, the ire and frustration that’s permeated the program recently. But there’s still a foundation for long-term success—if Stek can find the right architect.

This Weekend at Rock M

Is Bieser’s bunch poised for a breakout in Hoover?

On Saturday night, Missouri reveled after a series victory over Tennessee eked the Tigers into the SEC tournament.

Later that evening the, fine folks in Birmingham, Ala., released the bracket for this week’s slugfest at the Hoover Met. And, well, the path is daunting for the 12th-seeded Tigers, who open up play against No. 5 seed South Carolina on Tuesday.

Assuming Missouri moves on, they’ll face fourth-seeded Arkansas, with a potential matchup against regular-season champion Florida awaiting them to in the nightcap Thursday. That’s two top-five RPI matchups in as many days, a daunting slate that could serve as a potential booster shot for coach Steve Beiser’s squad.

Coming into last weekend’s series against Tennessee, the sport’s bracketologists — Baseball America and D1Baseball.com — didn’t have Missouri within shouting distance of the cut line. Diagnosing the Tigers’ malady isn’t labor intensive, either: a losing SEC record. As a handy tool, here’s how the Tigers’ vital signs compare other teams analysts have squeaking in the field of 64.

There’s a lot to like, too. The Tigers’ RPI, which factors in a solid SOS, would normally merit an at-large bid. Meanwhile, Missouri owns 14 victories over the basketball-equivalent of Quadrant 1 opponents, and its win percentage (0.452) in those tilts is solid. Finding some mojo to spur a run to Saturday could help change the tenor of the conversation.

History hints it’s feasible, too.

Over the last decade, a dozen SEC programs earned bids with a losing record in conference play. (Note: In 2011, the SEC West was a bloodbath won by Arkansas with a 15-15 league mark.) However, all but one — an Auburn squad that went 13-17 in 2015 — had less than 14 victories, and five of them needed to at least reach the semifinals to earn their ticket.

It remains to be seen whether Mizzou can pull off such a spurt, but doing so would reap worthy spoils.

More Links:

  • Jontay Porter took part in physical testing and shooting drills, but he and Michael Porter Jr. passed on scrimmaging during the NBA combine. Even then, Jontay’s shooting left an impression.
  • During the Mizzou Caravan’s stop last Friday in Kansas City, Mizzou coach Cuonzo Martin said he’d be more than open to another meeting with Kansas and edition of the Showdown for Relief, which raised $2 million for hurricane disaster relief “Oh, yeah, we need to try to do it again,” Martin said. “I’d love to do it.”
  • Meanwhile, football coach Barry Odom was in St. Louis on Friday night throwing out the first pitch at Busch Stadium and going Full Dad with a tucked in T-shirt. Granted, he probably hopes more recruits from that metro area take heed of the words screen-printed on it.
  • And in the last bit of Mizzou hoops news, combo forward Romeo Weems trimmed his list of suitors to five on Saturday.

Mizzou hadn’t been in the thick of the fight for the No. 33 prospect in the 2019 class and Michigan native. But he was one of the earliest offers MU’s staff extended in that class, and another effort by assistant coach Cornell Mann to get traction in his home state.

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Texas Football: Is the ground game still the biggest issue for the Longhorns? – Hook ‘Em Headlines

Hook 'Em Headlines

Texas Football: Is the ground game still the biggest issue for the Longhorns?
Hook 'Em Headlines
Texas football put together a solid run at the end of the 2017 campaign, including a big postseason victory over superstar quarterback Drew Lock and the Mizzou Tigers. It was a great way for the Longhorns' head football coach Tom Herman to get things ...

and more »

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Texas Football: Is the ground game still the biggest issue for the Longhorns? – Hook ‘Em Headlines

Hook 'Em Headlines

Texas Football: Is the ground game still the biggest issue for the Longhorns?
Hook 'Em Headlines
Texas football put together a solid run at the end of the 2017 campaign, including a big postseason victory over superstar quarterback Drew Lock and the Mizzou Tigers. It was a great way for the Longhorns' head football coach Tom Herman to get things ...

and more »

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TBJ is the ultimate team leader, and Jontay Porter’s got quick feet

A rundown of some of this weekend’s more interesting Mizzou (and non-Mizzou) story lines.

Hopefully you managed to avoid #RoyalWedding twitter yesterday, but if not we’ve got a good palate cleanser for you.


We asked a simple question to see where Mizzou fans stood on the eternal question of which would be preferable:

  • A College Football Playoff spot
  • A Men’s Basketball Final Four
  • ANY OTHER sport’s national title

After 1,890 votes only about 75 of you preferred the national title in literally any other sport other than Football or Men’s Basketball, which means over 1,800 votes when to one of the top two revenue sports being on the biggest stage and still falling short.

Realistically, you could say Mizzou has knocked on the door of the CFB playoff multiple times had it been in place in 2013, 2007 and the national championship Mizzou should claim in 1960.

In basketball, four Elite Eight’s have yielded zero Final Four trips, so you can understand why hoops fans might want to see “the best program to never make a Final Four” get over the hump and play on the last weekend of the year.

The poll thing is fun. I think we’ll keep doing it.

2. TBJ = Hero

Cuonzo Martin and Barry Odom have been making the rounds on the Mizzou Caravan the last few weeks. A couple days ago they landed in Kansas City, and Odom gave you yet another reason to love Terry Beckner Jr.

Beckner has been called a locker room leader many times and was a key component in the team managing to turn around the season and make a bowl. If Missouri is going to take another step forward this year, a big part of it is going to be Beckner’s leadership on the defensive side of the ball.

Offensively, Missouri exploded, but the defense became solid and reliable enough to prevent easy scores, which gave Drew Lock breathing room. If Beckner and his leadership can help the defense take another step against a tough schedule he’ll have truly left an impact on this program moving forward.

It’s nice when you’re best guys are always your hardest workers and your top leaders.

3. Jontay Porter has quick feet

The Mizzou freshman had the fifth-best shuttle run of anyone at the NBA combine. That’s something. We still don’t have official word on whether or not Jontay is staying in the draft or coming back to school. He didn’t scrimmage at the combine, which is usually a sign he has a guarantee he won’t make it past a certain slot in the draft.

If you’re looking to hear Michael Porter Sr. talk about his son, PowerMizzou had him on their podcast, and you can listen here.

A lot of people have talked about how honest Michael Porter Sr. was in the interview, I’ve never felt he was dishonest in previous ones. On whether he’ll be back without a son on the roster he said he would be, but I’m not sure how else he’s supposed to answer that question. If he hems and haws, we’d all talk about how he knows he isn’t coming back, which is why he gave a non-answer. On that question, he can only say he plans on being at Missouri because he, quite literally, under contract for two more years.

Jontay is almost certainly gone, and if both Porter boys are in the NBA I have a hard time imagining a scenario where it’s best for Missouri that he stays on. I don’t mean that to be demeaning to Porter Sr. because he’s obviously accomplished a lot with his kids. But I’ve got a hard time imagining he’ll want to grind away as a high major assistant when he boys will be playing basketball all over the country.

4. If you are into horses...

There was a race yesterday and Justify won, which means something to people who like horses. Justify also won the Kentucky Derby, which also means something. So there’s that.

I don’t know, I don’t really follow horse racing.

5. NBA —-> KCMO

RMN contributor Jarrett Sutton with a cool tidbit.

The NBA in Kansas City would certainly be a lot of fun, and it would finally give a home tenant for the beautiful Sprint Center.

As a big fan of the NBA, I might have to adopt a KC Team as my own since I follow the league and don’t currently have a rooting interest. I haven’t had a rooting interest since Michael Jordan retired the second time.

I don’t know how soon the NBA might be looking to expand, but wherever the league tends to go it tends to do well.

I also appreciate the number of sites who were able to create #content thanks to Sutton’s tweet:

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Terry Beckner Jr. is the ultimate team leader, and Jontay Porter’s got quick feet – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Terry Beckner Jr. is the ultimate team leader, and Jontay Porter's got quick feet
Rock M Nation (blog)
After 1,890 votes only about 75 of you preferred the national title in literally any other sport other than Football or Men's Basketball, which means over 1,800 votes when to one of the top two revenue sports being on the biggest stage and still ...

category: Uncategorized

Missouri punches its ticket to the SEC tournament with win over Tennessee – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Missouri punches its ticket to the SEC tournament with win over Tennessee
Rock M Nation (blog)
FINAL! HOOVER, HERE WE COME! #MIZ #C2E pic.twitter.com/dmfYQhsjZO. — #MizzouBaseball (@MizzouBaseball) May 19, 2018. On a day when Missouri Baseball celebrated its seniors, it was in the seventh inning Saturday that the Tigers' seniors really ...
Seventh inning outburst lifts Missouri past Tennessee, into SEC TournamentRivals.com (press release)

all 31 news articles »

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Missouri punches its ticket to the SEC tournament

A six-run seventh inning allowed the Tigers to overcome the Volunteers and qualify for the SEC Tournament in Hoover.

On a day when Missouri Baseball celebrated its seniors, it was in the seventh inning Saturday that the Tigers’ seniors really made themselves known.

With Missouri clinging to a 3-2 lead and needing some breathing room, senior Matt Berler stepped to the plate with bases loaded and no outs and took a 1-0 pitch from Tennessee’s Garrett Stallings deep in the air to left, bouncing off the wall to drive in two.

Senior Trey Harris stepped up two batters later with men on second and third and, after falling behind 0-2, launched a no-doubter deep to left for a three-run shot. The blast put the Tigers up 8-2, and Harris ended his run around the bases with perhaps the biggest home-plate stomp of his career.

Missouri (34-21, 12-18 SEC) would not look back, winning 8-3 and clinching the final spot in the SEC Tournament.

The game didn’t start off well for the Tigers, as they went into their first at-bats already trailing 1-0. Tyler LaPlante recorded two quick strike outs to start the game, but Andre Lipcius took the first pitch he saw from the southpaw deep off the scoreboard in left to give Tennessee the early lead.

After watching the Vols quickly tie Friday’s game on a home run, Missouri followed suit on Saturday.

Connor Brumfield led off with a single to center, but he was thrown out on a fielder’s choice after a Trey Harris grounder to second. Harris tried to take second and get into scoring position for Brian Sharp, but he was gunned down by Tennessee’s Benito Santiago.

Turns out, Harris didn’t need to move up, as Brian Sharp crushed the next pitch over the left field wall to tie the score.

Both LaPlante and the Vols’ Will Neely pitched 1-2-3 second innings, but Tennessee again grabbed the lead in the third. Brandon Chinea drilled a one-out double into the left field corner, and Jay Charleston legged out a bunt to the right side to put runners on the corners. Justin Ammons then hit a soft grounder to second that knocked in Chinea and put the Vols up 2-1.

While the Tigers struggled to put runners on base, Tennessee struggled to bring its baserunners in. The Vols had at least one hitter reach base in each of the first six innings but could only get those early two in.

It’s a time-honored idea that good things will happen if you put the ball in play, and Missouri was a prime example of that in the sixth inning.

With two outs, Lipcius cut off a grounder up the middle from Harris and bounced the throw over to first. Harris had the throw beat regardless, but the ball hopped out of play and put Harris on second for Sharp. The junior came through again, drilling a ball through the first baseman’s legs to knock in Harris for the equalizer.

Nile Ball, who’d come on in the sixth to bail LaPlante out of a jam, managed to keep Tennessee off the scoreboard in the top of the seventh. After getting two quick outs, Ball gave up a single, a walk and a passed ball to put two-men in scoring position for Lipcius, the man who gave the Vols the lead in the first. Lipcius couldn’t follow up, however, flying out to right to keep the game tied.

The bottom of the frame was all Missouri’s, as Zach Hanna led off with a long-ball to left to put the Tigers ahead. McDaniel, Bond and Cornelius all reached base to set up Berler’s double, and Harris’ bomb later in the inning officially broke the game open, putting the Tigers up six.

Ball pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth before giving one back to the Vols in the ninth, but Missouri takes a season-saving series win over Tennessee.

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Hoover or nothing, today at 2pm

The Tigers and Vols will fight for the last spot in the SEC Tournament today at 2 pm CT.

While the average baseball game takes about three hours to complete, Thursday’s matchup between the Tigers and the Volunteers — a 3-2 Mizzou win in 12 innings — took nearly four and a half.

It was only natural, then, that the teams balanced those times out Friday with a game that was through seven innings in just an hour and 45 minutes.

In a matchup that featured outstanding pitching performances from both squads’ starters, Tennessee (29-26, 12-17 SEC) took two of the few bad pitches from Michael Plassmeyer over the wall in left field and grabbed a 2-1 win over Missouri (33-21, 11-18 SEC), tying the series at one game apiece.

“I felt pretty good. Keeping them off balance was the biggest thing,” Plassmeyer said. “Their guy was pretty good; he was crafty. (We) just (need to) get good rest and come back ready to go. Tomorrow’s the big game.”

The teams’ bats were dormant to start the game, and the guys on the mound were doing everything they could to keep it that way. Both Plassmeyer and Sean Hunley combined to allow just four baserunners through three innings.

After three innings of being no-hit, though, Missouri finally got the bats going in the fourth.

Trey Harris launched a ball off the wall in right-center, and neither Tennessee’s Brodie Leftridge or Justin Ammons were able to play it cleanly. Harris motored all the way to third, and Alex Samples hit a grounder past the mound that brought in Harris and gave the Tigers the lead.

The Vols didn’t take long to answer back, though. Nico Mascia led off the fifth for Tennessee and took a 1-1 pitch from Plassmeyer into Missouri’s bullpen in left to tie the game.

Things went back to “normal” after the top of the fifth, and the game remained tied at 1-1 through the seventh inning.

In the top of the eighth, however, the Vols again got to Plassmeyer.

With one out in the inning, Brandon Chinea took the first pitch of the at-bat back into the Tigers’ bullpen to give Tennessee the lead. Two batters later, Plassmeyer plunked Ammons, prompting Missouri’s first mound visit of the night. He then balked on a 2-2 pitch to Andre Lipcius, moving Ammons into scoring position, but got Lipcius swinging on the next pitch. But the home run would prove to be the difference.

In the eighth, Chris Cornelius found a hole between short and third for a lead off single, but he ended up stranded at third. Harris blooped one into center to lead off the ninth, but Samples grounded into a double play and Brett Bond struck out to give Tennesse the win.

“Just a poor offensive performance tonight,” Missouri coach Steve Bieser said. “(Plassmeyer) was phenomenal. You usually don’t get beat by solo home runs. It was more of a lack of offense than him giving up a couple solo shots there.”

Today’s rubber match looms. The Tigers still have one more opportunity to take the series and, with it, a spot in the SEC tournament next week in Hoover, Ala. Mizzou’s NCAA tournament hopes could hinge on a win today, as well. The Tigers’ RPI has sunk to 40th, and their résumé might require another win or two.

As a senior hoping to keep his season alive, Harris will be ready to leave it all on the field come game time.

“At least we have a chance. If we would’ve lost yesterday and lost today, then it would be a different story. As long as you’ve got an out on the board, you’ve got a chance to do something,” Harris said.

“I plan on scoring one more than the other team. As I tell my mom, I never lost a game where I scored more than the other person, so that’s just gonna be the goal tomorrow.”

First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday at Taylor Stadium.

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Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium should be ‘mecca of statewide football,’ Arkansas governor says – Arkansas Online

Arkansas Online

Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium should be 'mecca of statewide football,' Arkansas governor says
Arkansas Online
UA and the state Department of Parks and Tourism, which operates the stadium, jointly announced Thursday that the Razorbacks would host the Missouri Tigers at War Memorial in 2019, 2021 and 2023. The team's annual spring intrasquad scrimmage is set ...

and more »

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Hutchinson: Football best fit at stadium – Arkansas Online

Arkansas Online

Hutchinson: Football best fit at stadium
Arkansas Online
UA and the state Department of Parks and Tourism, which operates the stadium, jointly announced Thursday that the Razorbacks would host the Missouri Tigers at War Memorial in 2019, 2021 and 2023. The team's annual spring intrasquad scrimmage is set ...

and more »

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Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium should be ‘mecca of statewide football,’ Arkansas governor says – WholeHogSports


Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium should be 'mecca of statewide football,' Arkansas governor says
UA and the state Department of Parks and Tourism, which operates the stadium, jointly announced Thursday that the Razorbacks would host the Missouri Tigers at War Memorial in 2019, 2021 and 2023. The team's annual spring intrasquad scrimmage is set ...

and more »

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UT Vols beat Missouri Tigers, must win Saturday to make SEC baseball tournament – Knoxville News Sentinel

Knoxville News Sentinel

UT Vols beat Missouri Tigers, must win Saturday to make SEC baseball tournament
Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee Vols football commitments Class of 2019 · Can Jeremy Pruitt match Lane Kiffin in avoiding blowout losses? 2018 SEC football schedules: Week by week · ETSU football coach Randy Sanders on the suspension for slapping player's helmet.
Missouri punches its ticket to the SEC tournament with win over TennesseeRock M Nation (blog)

all 41 news articles »

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This week in Mizzou recruiting: In-state football & the case of a KC-area basketball player – Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star

This week in Mizzou recruiting: In-state football & the case of a KC-area basketball player
Kansas City Star
On Fridays, Alex Schiffer, one of The Star's Mizzou beat writers, offers some notes and thoughts on the Tigers' football and men's basketball programs' recruiting efforts, including scholarship offers and list cuts from the past week. Well, last week ...

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Matter on Mizzou: Slive made Mizzou feel welcome in SEC – STLtoday.com


Matter on Mizzou: Slive made Mizzou feel welcome in SEC
Former Missouri defensive end Jordan Harold from McCluer North is headed to China next month to play outside linebacker for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football. … The NCAA has granted Mizzou All-American wrestler Grant ...

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Returning production and the SEC – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Returning production and the SEC
Rock M Nation (blog)
We've talked here before about returning vs. rebuilding from a position of strength vs. a position of weakness. Good teams that return a lot from the year before are usually good again. Bad teams that return a lot, it's more of an iffy proposition. Bad ...

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Returning production and the SEC

Paul Adams will be ushering defenders through the backfield for one of the most experienced lines in the league in 2018.

Missouri’s in a pretty good spot.

We’ve talked here before about returning vs. rebuilding from a position of strength vs. a position of weakness.

Good teams that return a lot from the year before are usually good again. Bad teams that return a lot, it’s more of an iffy proposition.

Bad teams that return a little from the year before, well, that can go one of two ways: cratering even more or cleaning house and starting to trend up. Good teams that return a little tend to take a step back.

Missouri’s getting the best of both worlds heading into 2018. The Tigers were a good team last year, finishing at 7-6. And they’re returning more than most of their conference mates, pretty much all across the board.

We looked at the starts and offensive and defensive production from all 14 SEC teams last year, then paired it up with the latest versions of their rosters from this season to see how much everybody is returning. Then we split it up by Overall, SEC East/West and bowl teams/non-bowl teams.

Long story short, Missouri’s looking pretty good. Long story long, keep reading:


Missouri (% Returning)

Starts — 100
East Avg. — 75.3
Bowl Avg. — 77.7

Attempts — 100
East Avg. — 77.7
Bowl Avg. — 80.8

Completions — 100
East Avg. — 77.9
Bowl Avg. — 80.7

Yards — 100
East Avg. — 79.8
Bowl Avg. — 80.9

TD — 100
East Avg. — 88.2
Bowl Avg. — 86.6

Yes, Missouri is in good hands with Drew Lock. The Tigers are one of 10 teams across the league to return their main starter from last year and one of only three — along with Mississippi State and Vanderbilt — to return all of its passes.

Skill Positions

Missouri (% Returning)

Starts — 56.9
East Avg. — 58.7
Bowl Avg. — 57.0

Rushes — 60.9
East Avg. — 62.1
Bowl Avg. — 63.3

Yards — 57.5
East Avg. — 57.3
Bowl Avg. — 61.9

Rush TD — 62.5
East Avg. — 53.5
Bowl Avg. — 56.0

Catches — 57.9
East Avg. — 59.1
Bowl Avg. — 62.1

Yards — 60.9
East Avg. — 60.7
Bowl Avg. — 60.6

Catch TD — 65.9
East Avg. — 63.2
Bowl Avg. — 63.2

Touches — 59.9
East Avg. — 61.2
Bowl Avg. — 62.9

Yards — 59.6
East Avg. — 59.2
Bowl Avg. — 61.2

Total TD — 65.0
East Avg. — 58.3
Bowl Avg. — 59.2

Missouri is hovering more around the average marks in these marks, even dipping below a little bit. Losing a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver will do that to you. But the Tigers also have a (hopefully) healthy Damarea Crockett to look forward to and a whole year of Emanuel Hall. So it’s not that bad, really. Mississippi State and South Carolina are both returning about 90 percent of their offense, while LSU is only returning about 20 percent of its.

Offensive Line/Offense Starts

Missouri (% Returning)

OL Starts — 93.8
East Avg. — 79.1
Bowl Avg. — 71.7

Offense Starts — 77.6
East Avg. — 69.5
Bowl Avg. — 65.6

Yes, that Paul Adams-Trystan Castillo-Yasir Durant-Kevin Pendleton-Tre’Vour Simms barbershop quintet will be experienced and formidable this year. And, overall, the Tigers return about 18 percent more starts across the offense than the bowl-team average. Floridaand Vanderbilt return all of their line starts, and Texas A&M returns all but one (98.5 percent). Only Florida (90.9), Arkansas and Mississippi State (81.8) return more offensive starts than the Tigers.


Missouri (% Returning)

Starts — 54.5
East Avg. — 54.5
Bowl Avg. — 53.9

Tackles — 60.5
East Avg. — 61.7
Bowl Avg. — 64.7

TFL — 65.5
East Avg. — 66.0
Bowl Avg. — 66.3

Sacks — 63.6
East Avg. — 68.7
Bowl Avg. — 64.9

INT — 50.0
East Avg. — 60.0
Bowl Avg. — 56.0

PBU — 59.5
East Avg. — 53.4
Bowl Avg. — 54.5

Fumbles Forced — 50.0
East Avg. — 59.7
Bowl Avg. — 63.0

Fumbles Recovered — 60.0
East Avg. — 63.3
Bowl Avg. — 70.5

This is not counting Kaleb Prewett, since he wasn’t on the Tigers’ spring roster. And who knows what the deal is with him, amiright youguys?!?!!

Anyway, Missouri comes down on the bad side of the ledger in every category here except passes broken up. They’re right on with number of starts returning, but lack returning production in just about everything else. But, as we were talking about at the top...maybe that doesn’t have to be a bad thing? Maybe the Tigers can be one of those teams that builds from a relatively weak position (83rd in the nation in total defense) and changes enough to make a positive difference?

Here are all the numbers, if you wanted to dig in:

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou adds a home game against Xavier to the 2018-19 schedule

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Well, it appears Mizzou’s non-conference hoops schedule for next year is coming together awfully quickly. Last week, we learned about the Paradise Jam draw. And yesterday, we found out that one of last year’s No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tourney will be coming to Mizzou Arena this December.

Mizzou Men’s Basketball will square off with Big East power Xavier next season at Mizzou Arena on Dec. 18, 2018, as announced by the programs on Thursday. The Tigers are scheduled to travel to Cincinnati, Ohio, in a return trip on Nov. 12, 2019.

The two schools will meet for the eighth and ninth teams in their program histories. Mizzou and Xavier faced each other three times in three seasons from 2014-16, including a home-and-home series in 2014 and 2015 and most recently, an overtime thriller in the opening round of the 2016 Puerto Rico Tip-Off. [...]

Xavier leads the all-time series 5-2, but the Tigers are 1-1 against the Musketeers at Mizzou Arena. Four of the seven meetings in the all-time series have been decided by single digits, including the last two.

Xavier went 29-6 last season, falling to Florida State — which had just beaten Missouri — in the second round of the NCAAs. The Musketeers are dealing with quite a bit of turnover at the moment, though: not only do they have to replace seniors Trevon Bluiett, J.P. Macura, and Kerem Kanter on the court, they also have to replace head coach Chris Mack, who left for Louisville. They replaced him with longtime assistant Travis Steele.

That means we now know about half of Mizzou’s non-conference slate.

In terms of last year’s KenPom ratings, this list includes three top-70 teams: Xavier, Utah (No. 58), and likely Old Dominion (No. 64). It also includes teams like Iowa State, UCF, and Illinois, which all finished just outside the top 100 and should improve this coming year. Not a killer slate, but one that has some challenges. We’ll see who else gets added to it.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Both Mizzou and Tennessee had opportunities to score runs and seize game one of the most important baseball series of the season. In the end, Alex Samples was the hero. He delivered a two-out single in the bottom of the 12th to score Matt Berler and give the Tigers a 3-2 win. Now Mizzou must win one of the next two games (this evening’s game starts at 6:30 pm CT) to clinch a spot in the SEC Tournament and, in all likelihood, the NCAA Tournament.
  • Man, Steeeeeeeeeeeeeeve Moore has had some ups and downs since leaving Mizzou. PowerMizzou caught up with him recently.
  • Well, we know where one recently-transferred Tiger has ended up: TJ Warren is now a Murray State Racer.
  • Damn.
  • I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this: Mizzou Wrestler Grant Leeth, who missed portions of both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons to injury, has been granted two extra years of eligibility. So he’ll be entering his fourth year on campus as, like, a double-redshirt sophomore. Weird, but whatever — also awesome.

category: Uncategorized

The difference Folds of Honor can make – KSDK.com


The difference Folds of Honor can make
"Growing up as a kid you look on TV and you see the Mizzou Tigers playing football and all the people in the stands and you say 'I wish I could do that one day.' But it just wasn't feasible,” says Gooch. But then Caleb got a letter that changed his ...

category: Uncategorized

Projected win total for Tennessee updated by oddsmakers – Rocky Top Talk

Rocky Top Talk

Projected win total for Tennessee updated by oddsmakers
Rocky Top Talk
Games like Kentucky, Vanderbilt and Missouri Tigers could probably go either way. The Vols probably have somewhat of a shot against West Virginia, Florida and South Carolina, but I'd expect them to be decent-sized underdogs in each of those matchups.

and more »

category: Uncategorized

Rounding up Mizzou’s 2018 recruiting class: The transfers

Missouri is bringing in just as many transfers as freshmen. What can we expect from the more experienced half of the 2018 class?

On Tuesday, we kicked off the college basketball offseason with a first look at the 2018 Missouri basketball recruiting class... well, partially.

Cuonzo Martin is bringing six new faces into the Missouri program this summer: three freshmen and three transfers. In fact, most of the time since Missouri’s season closed against Florida State was spent scouring the transfer market for potential additions. In the end, Martin brought on Dru and Mark Smith to sit a year before joining Missouri in 2019. They joined K.J. Santos, one of the first members of the 2018 class.

So we’ve looked at what we can expect from the freshmen. Now let’s go to the transfers. Each of the below players represents a blend of intriguing potential which Josh and Tashan will rate on a scale of Layup-Swish-Dunk.

K.J. Santos (University of Illinois-Chicago)

Josh Matejka: K.J. Santos is perhaps the most intriguing member of Missouri’s entire recruiting class because he presents such a high-ceiling, low-floor scenario. Go ahead and take a look at his highlight video and it won’t take you long to see why he’s such an exciting add.

Where to start? Santos is a big, versatile forward who appears to have gotten bigger based on his Twitter account. On top of his size, Santos appears to be an explosive, fluid athlete. He regularly bounces over taller players for put back dunks and is able to use his length to make tough shots at the rim fall. He’s not lightning fast, but he has a good first step and seems to have the requisite body control to move smoothly in the lane, finding holes where there don’t appear to be any.

In addition to his pure athleticism, Santos appears to have a well-rounded offensive game. He’ll never be a ball handler first, but he has enough skill to beat guys off the dribble. He has the vision to get his teammates involved off double teams and screens. And to top if all off, he has a smooth jumper that, with precision, could become deadly; he shot 36 percent from three-point range in his freshman year at UIC. This combination of skills led him to a variety of high major offers during high school.

So what’s the catch? Why the “low floor” to go with the “high ceiling”? Well for starters, look at where he ended up. UIC was a bad mid-major team when Santos committed, and below .500 while he was there. He started 30 games during his freshman season, but only averaged a 7.1 points per game to go along with 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Sure, freshman will struggle in their first year of Division I ball no matter where they go. But wouldn’t such a talented recruit excel - or at least stand out - in the Horizon League?

Then there’s the question of injuries and rust. The Kansas City Star’s Alex Schiffer wrote a story on Santos the other day, detailing several foot injuries and a torn thumb ligament that kept him off the court for a long time in high school. After transferring from UIC, Santos aimed to spend a year at a junior college before he suddenly chose to take another year off. How is a player supposed to hit the ground running when he hasn’t played competitive basketball in a year and spent almost half of the past five years on the sidelines?

The TL;DR summary: We don’t know what Missouri is getting from K.J. Santos. His combination of athleticism and skill is enticing, but it doesn’t come without concerns and red flags. The fact Martin’s staff grabbed him early suggests they plan on making him a big piece of what they’re doing over the next few years. In this case, fans will have to trust that Santos’ hype will turn into results.

Tashan Reed: At 6’8, 210 pounds, K.J. Santos fits exactly what Cuonzo Martin’s been looking for: long and athletic with all the prerequisite physical tools to be an excellent perimeter defender. His height should also allow him to switch and even defend in the post. He struggled from the field in his lone year at the University of Illinois-Chicago but shot 36 percent from deep, showing promising 3-and-D potential.

Santos redshirted after transferring to Tallahassee Community College, so he hasn’t played in a collegiate basketball game since 2017. While he’s assuredly been working on his game, that raises a bit of concern about whether he can immediately produce. I’d like to see how quickly he’s able to transition to high-major ball given his layoff.

I expect Santos to be a versatile combo-forward that sees time at multiple positions off the bench for the Tigers. With Dru and Mark Smith out due to transfer rules and Cullen VanLeer potentially missing time as he recovers from a torn ACL, Santos should find himself with plenty of opportunities.

Verdict: Santos is a swish. He helps Missouri continue its progression toward positionless basketball while providing another veteran who can help guide the younger guys. He should be an excellent fit and make an immediate impact... assuming he can stay on the floor and his rust.

Mark Smith (University of Illinois)

Josh Matejka: Mark Smith’s commitment to Missouri came at a weird time in the offseason. Fans were still caught up in the drama of the Courtney Ramey situation, a recruit to whom Smith was always seen as a backup option. The prospect of having a Top 50 point guard on the roster immediately is more appealing than having to wait a year, but that didn’t stop Martin and company from scooping up the one-time Illinois Mr. Basketball winner.

So what do Missouri fans have to look forward to for the next year? Try watching any of Cuonzo Martin’s teams, and you’ll get an idea. Smith is a hard-nosed guard that plays through contact at the rim and has the ability to be a tenacious defender when he sets his mind to it. He struggled shooting the ball in his one year at Illinois, but his shot isn’t a major problem outside of a few tweaks and some more reps. But most of his scoring will come from attacking the hoop and getting to the free throw line where he shot 80 percent during his freshman season. And while he’s not a prototypical point guard, he does have the vision to find open teammates when he’s drawing attention on the drive.

So what’s the downside? He didn’t produce much during his first year at Illinois, but he did start 19 games and had several outstanding performances. Smith battled through an injury during his time in Champaign and reportedly struggled with Underwood’s coaching style and his ultimate fit within the program. All of these could raise concerns about his will to fight through tough circumstances, and Cuonzo Martin isn’t exactly known as a “take it easy on my guys” leader. Smith will have to earn his keep in Columbia.

But to be honest, I’m not all that worried about Smith’s mental makeup. Martin’s players say he doesn’t sugarcoat how things will be on his team, and the two sides wouldn’t have agreed to this marriage if they didn’t think Smith could handle it. And to top it all off, Smith was a freshman playing 20 minutes a game at a Power 5 school. Outside of one-and-done level players, most freshman are going to see their ups and downs. Instead, I look at his flashes of brilliance as a sign of what’s to come. It’ll be a while before he steps on the Mizzou Arena floor, but Mark Smith is a player who should be expected to be a major contributor as soon as he’s available.

Tashan Reed: I believe the success that Mark Smith had early in the season with Illinois better reflects who he is than his struggles toward the end. He cracked double digits six times in his first 14 games, including 17 and 11-point outings against UNLV and Missouri, respectively. Ironically, his game against the Tigers was his last time scoring in double digits for the rest of the season. From there, Smith mostly served in a reserve role and didn’t seem too comfortable. He has shown an ability to score, which the Tigers could certainly use.

Smith didn’t do much distributing in his time at Illinois, and he struggled taking care of the ball as well. Despite his size at 6’3, 215 pounds, he didn’t defend very well or get many rebounds, either. He also picked up a ton of fouls, which limited his time on the court along with his lack of minutes. Smith also struggled with efficiency, shooting just 33 percent from the field and 23 percent from three. To be fair, Smith was a freshman and has time to figure things out. However, he has plenty to work on before he’s ready for a consistent roll.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

I think that Smith will be a bit of a project for Cuonzo Martin. His primary concerns should be becoming a much better defender and rebounder while allowing the offensive end to come more naturally. I expect it’ll take him a couple years to learn before he becomes truly effective.

As we all know, Missouri needs guards, but I think Smith may end up being forced to take on a larger role before he’s ready for it. He has a lot of work to do, but if anyone can figure it out, it’s Martin.

Verdict: We’re a bit divided here, so we’re cautiously going to settle on a swish. Smith clearly has the ability to be a big contributor when he hits the floor, but he has to turn those skills into production. If he does, look out.

Dru Smith (University of Evansville)

Josh Matejka: The second smith Cuonzo Martin brought in this offseason is pretty much everything the Tigers could have used last year and this coming year. He’s an offensively potent lead guard who can score at all three levels and create off of dribble penetration. His aggressiveness on the offensive end is helped by the fact that he’s a smooth athlete who always seems to have a plan. For all of Jordan Geist’s good qualities, improvising was never one of them and it showed last year.

Smith is also a daring passer with good vision, which led to good and bad results at Evansville. He was had a Top 20 assist rate in the country (37.5 percent), but he also carried a 26 percent turnover rate, which would have qualified for the worst among Missouri’s guards last year (outside of Blake Harris and Terrence Phillips). He doesn’t seem to have an inconsistent handle, and his instincts are good. But if you watch his tape, he makes an awful lot of dangerous passes that are likely to be intercepted by faster, longer defenders.

Defensively, Smith also fits with what Martin wants and is a ball hawk. His steal rate (4 percent) was in the country’s top 20 last year and he posted a 93.4 defensive rating on the year. Even better, it went down to 91 in conference play. He gives some of this back by averaging almost four fouls a game, but Martin will help him clean up his defense.

But perhaps Smith’s best attribute is his shooting. Smith was an excellent shooter from just about everywhere last year, posting 48.3 three point, 62.4 two point, and 86.2 free throw percentages - that all rounds out to 65.6 effective FG percetage and [double-checks notes] 70.5 true shooting! That’s damn good, folks, and those numbers would have made him the best shooter on Missouri’s team.

If Torrence Watson is the sure thing in the freshmen class, Dru Smith is that among the transfers. He fills a position of need whenever he becomes available and provides Martin with an offensive and defensive threat. If he can clean up his fouls and learn to pick and choose his passes, he’ll be a treat to watch for two years.

Tashan Reed: Dru Smith is the prototypical all-around point guard: able to handle the ball; run an offense; finish inside; hit perimeter jumpers; defend both guard spots; etc. He’ll provide the Tigers with a very high basketball IQ. Smith posted an incredibly efficient line last year at Evansville: 13.7 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game on 57.8 percent shooting from the floor and 48.2 percent from three. If he were eligible for this season, he just might have been Mizzou’s starting point guard.

Smith turned the ball over quite a bit last season at 3.2 turnovers per game in 22 appearances. To put that in perspective, Smith turned it over 13 more times in 11 fewer games than Jordan Geist, who had several nightmarish performances. As Missouri fans became painfully aware, turnovers can absolutely kill a team. A lesser concern is his tendency to pick up fouls. He committed 60 fouls compared to 62 for Geist. Thankfully, Smith will have plenty of time to get better at protecting the rock and staying on the floor.

Regardless of who Mizzou acquires between now and the 2019-2020 season, Smith will hold a steady spot in the rotation. His skill, poise, and experience will make him a useful tool for Cuonzo Martin to use at his disposal. He’s a reliable player with about as few weaknesses as you can ask for.

Verdict: It’s hard to rate Smith as a dunk since he won’t be available this year... but what the hell does it matter? Dunk it is.

category: Uncategorized

Staying in the draft without a first-round guarantee is not the risk it once was

The league’s economics make going in the second round a potentially lucrative situation for the Missouri freshman.

Technically, Missouri combo forward Jontay Porter started his audition for an NBA job on Wednesday in Chicago.

The first day of the league’s draft combine is administrative. We get anatomical measurements and health testing to ferret out any landmines, and front offices get six hours to conduct their first round of interviews with prospects.

Pegging Porter’s stock, though, actually takes places on Thursday afternoon with athletic testing, shooting drills, and 5-on-5 scrimmages. For Michael Porter Jr. and other elite prospects, the poking and prodding end after one day; most of his ilk hit the road and head back to continue solo training or individual workouts with franchises.

Porter the Younger, however, could stick around the Windy City, going through another day of live action to expand the sample size of data GMs have at their disposal. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz hint that Porter’s stock might be linked to how well he fares in scrimmages.

Porter will have teams watching his physicality and whether he can hold up on the defensive end. He’s ultra-skilled as a stretch 5, but he struggles to guard in space and needs to tone up his frame.

That take tracks with the work done by the scribes over at The Stepien assessing Porter’s game and in a recent piece ($) by The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie. As the combine got underway, Porter told The Kansas City Star he had interviews arranged with 10 teams, and scouts said they were also keen to see what kind of motor to soft-spoken freshman displays against elite talent.

“I think he’s got to show us a little bit more. I think the motor will be an important part of that. Can he get up and down the floor? Can he show energy consistently? If he struggles, how will he react?”

Those questions have led to volatility in projections about where Porter might come off the board next month. On Tuesday night, the NBA draft lottery set the pecking order and kicked off another flurry of mock drafts, which give us a rough gauge of where Jontay might wind up.

Sifting through mock drafts, scouting reports, and analytic profiles doesn’t convey the sense that the big man is confronting a tough decision about whether to return to Columbia. Though he has not yet made his final decision known, it has been assumed for a while that barring a dramatic shift, he is not returning.

Along with Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas A&M, Mizzou is undergoing one of the biggest roster overhauls in the Southeastern Conference, especially on the perimeter. Keeping Porter in the fold would have not only helped coach Cuonzo Martin in terms of scoring, rebounding, and rim protection but also provided him an elite passer to bolster the point guard position, which didn’t get the infusion many observers hoped would take place.

Why would Porter opt to stay in a draft when there’s decent chance he may go in the second round? Why not use feedback to shape his offseason development and put up a stellar sophomore campaign?

In the past, those points had salience. Not now.

The NBA has evolved in terms of how it values, pays and uses second-round picks as part of the roster-building process, and Porter could become one of the first beneficiaries of these mutations.

Once we accept that reality, we can unpack why Porter, who is set to reap the benefits of sweat equity and betting on himself, is likely content to leave college behind after a lone season.

So, let’s unpack them.

1. Is Jontay risking a bigger payday going pro now?

NBA: Charlotte Hornets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
Second-round picks like Semi Ojeleye, who was taken at No. 38 by Boston in 2017, are reaping the benefits of a new CBA and heft TV contract.

In late 2016, the NBA owners and players struck a new collective bargaining agreement shortly after the league hammered out a mammoth TV deal reached four years ago that pumps $2.6 billion a year into its coffers. Two provisions stand out as particularly relevant:

  • Rookie scale salaries increased by 45 percent
  • Two-way contracts arose, paying players — two per roster — based on whether they are with a G-League affiliate or the parent NBA franchise

At first, fans were transfixed by the insanity of free agency two summers ago — who can forget the great Emoji War? — that unfolded as GMs went on a spending spree spurred by a $24.1 million spike in the league’s salary cap.

Rookies, though, waited a year before their wage hike took effect after the 2017 NBA draft. Now, a rookie earning the league minimum over their first two years banks $2,128,226—or $120,000 more than George Hill took home as the No. 26 overall pick a decade ago.

As Vecenie pointed out ($), the rising revenue tide made second-round picks a commodity where front offices could bump their investment and hedge a significant amount of risk. With the NBA’s salary cap projected for an upward adjustment to $101 million in 2018-19, a franchise can offer a second-round pick a salary that was once reserved for first-rounders and still spend the same in real terms. Take a look.

In effect, thanks to two-way contracts, GMs get two more roster spots they can use to stash developmental prospects in the G League. Last July, SB Nation gave a nice quick-and-dirty synopsis of the mechanics, but what matters is that a player on a two-way deal maxes out his salary at $279,000.

Tally it all up, and an enterprising GM could acquire three assets — one kept on at the mothership and two at an affiliate — for a grand total of $1,373,615, roughly the same cost as the rookie minimum for a second-year player. It’s the basketball equivalent of buying three lotto tickets for the price of one. Scratch off enough of them, you just might hit the jackpot.

Stepping back, the current state of the labor market is advantageous for rookies (more money sooner in their careers) and for their bosses (more roster flexibility at the same sunk cost). That flexibility also influences the structure and mechanics of the deal a GM would put in front of Porter if so happens to slip into the early second round.

2. Is Porter going to get a guaranteed deal?

Sacramento Kings v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Frank Mason went No. 34 overall to Sacramento, but the Kings structured his guaranteed deal in a way that mirrors those received by first-round selections.

In the past, a second-round grade sent a prospect scurrying back to campus, ready to spend a year sculpting their game. And it wasn’t without merit. Often, players taken in the second round wound up on the scrap heap shortly after Summer League.

Porter and his peers, though, are among the early beneficiaries of a league that now treats the first 10 slots of the second round the same way it does those at the end of the first. Instead of clawing to keep hold of a roster spot, many of these players now lock in a guarantee for a portion of their deal.

From NBC’s Rob Dauster:

Of the 72 college players selected between 31st and 45th during the last six drafts, 65 of them — or a whopping 90.3 percent — received a guaranteed contract from an NBA team. Just two of the college players that were taken in the top 40 since 2012 did not receive a guaranteed contract during their first season as a pro.

Scouting departments, general managers, and coaching staffs can now factor a player’s long-term development into their roster management, and a rookie can adapt to a team’s system and culture with the kind of security that could help them evolve into a player worthy of a lucrative second contract.

Looking over deals signed by second-round picks in 2016 and 2017, who came into the league in the early days of its revenue deluge, we can see the increased investment made in their futures.

The biggest hint of change: rookie deals for early second-rounders guarantee the first two years of compensation and tack on lucrative incentives or a larger third-year option at the end.

For example, Boston’s Semi Ojeleye, Sacramento’s Frank Mason, and Houston’s Damyean Dotson each signed a contract with guaranteed dollars above the rookie minimum. At the same time, the total dollar value of those agreements is comparable to the wage scale — shown below — customarily doled out to players selected in the mid-20s of the first round.

No can predict the terms of rookie deal for Porter, but it’s reasonable to assume he’d sign a deal that guarantees at least two years at the rookie minimum.

Orlando’s Wesley Iwundu, whose selection at No. 33 overall mirrors ESPN’s current Jontay projection. signed a three-year, $4.1 million contract that calls for the Kansas State product to earn $2.2 million—or the same amount paid out by the Phoenix Suns five years ago when they selected Kentucky wing Archie Goodwin at No. 29 overall.

Porter can likely be at ease knowing the team that takes him will give him the same time granted to first-round picks to make an impression.

3. Would another season at MU boost his stock?

NBA: Summer League-Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Even in the wake of a stellar sophomore season at Purdue, Caleb Swanigan didn’t see a dramatic rise in his draft stock.

Earlier, I brought up the tidy narrative of a player foregoing a payday, returning to their alma mater, sharpening their game and using a dominant sophomore campaign as a springboard to a better draft position.

For fans, this notion is comforting because it assumes a degree of mutual benefit. The player gains more financial security while partisans are enthralled by successful season. More often than not, however, this rosy scenario rarely pans out.

The truth is stark: a freshman who goes pro is often making a sound decision.

Between 2012 and 2016, roughly 70 freshmen from all levels — Division I to JUCO — formally declared for the draft and went through the evaluation process. Ultimately, 78 percent of Division I freshmen who declared went inside the top 40.

During that same five-year span, eight Division I freshmen pulled their name out of the hopper and returned to school. Only three of them declared as sophomores, and two of them — LSU’s Antonio Blakeney and Kentucky’s Isaiah Briscoe — went undrafted.

Over the course of the regular season, I frequently mentioned Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan as an example of how Jontay Porter could use the draft process to his advantage. Declare, attend workouts, go through drills and scrimmages at the combine, and meet with teams. Take all that data and use it to become a better player.

Swanigan did all that was asked of him. He slimmed down a physique that once carried more than 300 pounds. He honed his face-up game. And he set the table for a sophomore season that saw him named Big Ten Conference Player of the Year and lead the Boilermakers to a regular-season conference title.

All the accolades and improvement didn’t radically alter how GMs appraised Swanigan’s game. Projected as a late first-round selection after his freshman season, Biggie wound up in the same place, going No. 26 overall in 2017.

There’s a potential lesson to be imparted to Jontay Porter, who might have more length and a slimmer build but faces the same questions that confronted Swanigan. Selfish as it sounds, what good is coming back to Columbia — and a roster in the midst of an overhaul — only to wind up in the same place?

We can see evidence, too, in the current draft class.

Texas A&M’s Robert Williams and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges were both projected as late lottery picks after their respective freshman seasons. A year later, they’re still expected to come off the board between the No. 10 and No 14 picks.

Bridges stayed, in part, because Sparty was built to make a Final Four run. And players like Arizona’s Rawle Alkins, Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo, and Miami’s Bruce Brown Jr. could at least take consolation in the idea their rosters were built to compete. However, the members of that trio now find themselves relegated to the second round of mock drafts.

So what would be Porter’s end goal in coming back to Columbia? Would a meteoric ascent result from grinding through workouts with strength coach Nicodemus Christoper? What if he added the ability to attack as a dribble in pick-and-rolls?

Every pitch for a return is based on the optimal outcome. But what if conditions aren’t ripe for a quantum leap?

For now, questions about his strength and athleticism can be shrugged off as being due to youth. Porter’s suite of offensive skills and basketball IQ are tantalizing enough that GMs figure their strength and nutrition staff can help him tap into his full potential. But what if his issues remain during his sophomore season, one in which MU might regress, too?

Oh, and Porter’s development doesn’t take place in a vacuum. Peruse 2019 mock drafts by Sports Illustrated and ESPN — yes, such things exist at the moment — and you’ll see a potentially crowded field for first-round slots.

Doubting Porter, whose acclimation to the college game came faster than expected, seems foolhardy at the moment. But barring a last-second shift, it seems apparent that the player and his camp have decided that the conditions are ripe for a move this year.

It’s hard to find fault with their logic.

category: Uncategorized

Tennessee Vols morning report: Peyton Manning pairs with Tiger Woods, OL expectations – All For Tennessee

All For Tennessee

Tennessee Vols morning report: Peyton Manning pairs with Tiger Woods, OL expectations
All For Tennessee
Tennessee football offensive line coach Will Friend is embracing expectations. ... The Tennessee Vols will travel to Columbia to face the Missouri Tigers in their final series of the regular season with a chance to go to the SEC Tournament. The team ...

and more »

category: Uncategorized

Rest in peace, Mike Slive

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Just over six and a half years ago, Mike Slive made a trip to Columbia to welcome the University of Missouri to the Southeastern Conference.

Commissioner Slive’s role in Missouri’s move from the Big 12 will forever grant him a spot in Mizzou’s history.

On Wednesday, Slive passed away at the age of 77.

Mike Slive, the seventh commissioner of the Southeastern Conference and one of the most respected and accomplished leaders in the history of intercollegiate athletics, died Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama, at the age of 77.

Michael L. Slive is survived by his wife of 49 years, Liz; his daughter Anna; son-in-law Judd Harwood; and granddaughter Abigail who is almost six years old. [...]

Slive served as commissioner of the SEC from 2002 until his retirement in 2015. Named to the post on July 2, 2002, the SEC enjoyed unprecedented championship success under Slive’s leadership. He led the adoption of a new and effective league-wide NCAA compliance initiative, engineered landmark television contracts, including the launch of the SEC Network, and guided the conference through expansion, welcoming two new institutions. [...]

During Slive’s tenure at the SEC, he developed initiatives designed to maintain and improve the SEC’s preeminent position in intercollegiate athletics, both on and off the fields of play. These included the SEC Task Force on Compliance and Enforcement which developed policies and procedures to assist league schools in NCAA and SEC matters; SEC University (SECU), the conference’s academic initiative; and an SEC Sportsmanship initiative consisting of policies and procedures designed to foster sportsmanship and encourage positive fan behavior. [...]

As a prostate cancer survivor, Slive founded the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research upon his retirement. The Mike Slive Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness about prostate cancer and generate funding for prostate cancer research to eradicate the disease.

Rest in peace, Grandpa Slive. You were an awfully welcoming host.

More Links:

NCAA Football: Florida A&M at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
War Memorial Stadium
  • Mizzou Men’s Golf saved its best round for last at the NCAA Regionals but finished eighth overall, six shots from qualifying for nationals. Meanwhile, star Hayden Buckley lost a sudden death playoff for the last individual spot at nationals. Damn.
  • NEW PAPN! My Pac-12 previews just began, so we talked about the Pac-12’s health, future realignment scenarios, whether Oregon State is worse than Kansas, and where I’m going next week for a mystery work trip.

category: Uncategorized

Every other year, Hogs to play game in Little Rock, sources say – Arkansas Online

Arkansas Online

Every other year, Hogs to play game in Little Rock, sources say
Arkansas Online
The Arkansas Razorbacks will host football games against the Missouri Tigers at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock every other year as part of a broader "compromise" agreement that partly preserves the long-standing tradition, according to two sources ...

and more »

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Sources: Razorbacks to play Missouri at Little Rock’s War Memorial Stadium every other year – Arkansas Online

Arkansas Online

Sources: Razorbacks to play Missouri at Little Rock's War Memorial Stadium every other year
Arkansas Online
The Arkansas Razorbacks will play the Missouri Tigers in Little Rock in alternating years as part of an agreement that will extend Razorback football games in the state's capital city, two sources familiar with the arrangement said Wednesday. The ...

and more »

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Missouri escapes late-inning mistakes to take down Indiana State

Brian Sharp scored the winning run as the Tigers pulled out a victory over the Sycamores.

Coming off a heartbreaking series loss to South Carolina, and with its final conference series against Tennessee looming this weekend, Missouri needed a confidence booster.

Heading into the eighth inning Tuesday, the Tigers looked to be on their way to exactly that, with a 7-2 lead on Indiana State. However, the Sycamores wouldn’t give up easily.

The Tigers allowed five runs in the eighth, which tied up the game and turned what should have been Brian Sharp’s fifth win of the season into a no-decision. Mizzou would fight back, though, loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the inning before Sharp scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch, and Missouri (32-20) escaped with a 8-7 victory over Indiana State (26-22).

“We didn’t do a good job of minimizing (in the eighth). They scored five,” Sharp said. “But I knew that, just getting out of that inning and the way the offense was playing tonight, I feel like we had a good chance.”

The Sycamores struck first in the top of the third, started by leadoff singles from Luke Fegen and Max Wright. A bunt moved both men into scoring position, and a groundout to short from CJ Huntley put ISU up 1-0.

In the top of the fourth, Sharp again found himself in trouble after a single by Romero Harris and a walk to Jake Means put two men on for Fegen with two outs. Fegen hit a single up the middle that looked like it would score Romero Harris, but a sliding stop from Chris Cornelius kept the ball in the infield. Harris ran too far down the third base line and Cornelius threw behind him, and the ensuing run down led to an out at home to end the inning.

Missouri would finally get its offense going in the bottom of the fourth. Trey Harris led off with his 10th homer of the year after being called back on what he thought was ball four. Alex Samples followed with a triple, and Brett Bond walked, and both would cross the plate in the inning, after a single from Isaiah Cullum and a fielder’s choice for Cornelius, to put Mizzou up 3-1.

“The called 3-1, I was like, ‘that’s just my luck, of course I get called back on a ball,’” Harris said. “I’m just happy I found the barrel because all I do is find the barrel one time and then the hits will come.”

The Tigers added another run in the fifth after a double play from Harris plated Sharp. Meanwhile, the bullpen was able to slow down the Sycamores’ attempts to claw back in the game.

ISU loaded the bases in the sixth, and Roberto Enriquez singled to drive in Romero Harris to cut the lead to 4-2, forcing Missouri coach Steve Bieser to bring in Cameron Dulle. The move worked, though, as Dulle got Fegen to ground into a rally-killing double play, the fifth of the game for both teams. Mizzou added three more runs through the sixth and seventh, extending the lead to 7-2 and putting the Tigers in the driver’s seat.

In the eighth, however, ISU flipped the script.

Konnor Ash came on to pitch for Dulle but gave up a walk and a single before getting an easy fly ball for out No. 1. Bieser then brought Nile Ball out of the bullpen, but he would only get one more out before giving up a single, a walk, and a hit by pitch to let in two runs.

Luke Anderson then came in and plunked the first batter he faced to allow ISU’s fifth run, which brought in Andy Toelken, the fourth pitcher of the inning. Toelken got a soft grounder to shortstop that should have ended the inning, but Cornelius threw the ball away to bring in two more. Toelken struck out Dane Giesler to finally end the inning, but a five-run eighth for the Sycamores knotted up the game.

“It was just a rough inning,” Bieser said. “Toelken wasn’t supposed to throw today. He was the one guy that I wanted to keep out of the action. You’ve got a five-run lead, you gotta throw strikes.”

The tied score set the stage for Sharp’s go-ahead run in the bottom of the inning. After taking a four-pitch walk and watching Cornelius get gunned down at home trying to score on a single from Matt Berler, Sharp scampered home on a wild pitch from Tyler Whitbread to give the Tigers the lead. Jordan Gubelman came in to close out the game in the ninth, and he sent ISU down in order to seal a 12-0 midweek record for Missouri.

Looking ahead, the Tigers will enter their most important series of the year this weekend against Tennessee. Winning two out of three over the Volunteers would clinch a spot in the SEC tournament, and it would give Missouri’s chances at playing in the NCAA tournament a boost. With so much riding on the series, Bieser will be looking for his team to play the game the way he knows it can.

“The guys understand that, win the series, go to the conference tournament. They understand everything that’s at stake,” Bieser said. “We’re 52 games into the season now, we’re not gonna change a thing. We are who we are, and we do what we do. Playing better than the other team is our goal.”

Missouri’s series versus Tennessee will start Thursday with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Taylor Stadium.

category: Uncategorized

Jordan Harold vs. the World – Rock M Nation (blog)

Jordan Harold vs. the World
Rock M Nation (blog)
This event will host 8 other countries and compete for the gold medal in the sport that I am most passionate about, football!! I would like to extend gratitude to God and to everyone who has helped me throughout this journey that has led to this point ...

category: Uncategorized

Jordan Harold vs. the World

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

So this is pretty cool: former Mizzou defensive end Jordan Harold will now be playing outside linebacker ... for Team USA.

I am proud to officially announce that I will take place in the IFAF World Championship as USA Team Outside Linebacker...

Posted by Jordan Harold on Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The text (in case the embed is funky):

I am proud to officially announce that I will take place in the IFAF World Championship as USA Team Outside Linebacker that will be held in China, representing University of Missouri, Columbia and the USA AGAIN. This event will host 8 other countries and compete for the gold medal in the sport that I am most passionate about, football!! I would like to extend gratitude to God and to everyone who has helped me throughout this journey that has led to this point. I ask you to continue to support my journey by donating towards our trip. Each player has been asked to raise some money to support our International travel expenses, and any gift will help. USA Football is a 501c3 organization, so your donations can be written off. If you would like to contribute please direct message me or Aleshia Jordan . Stay tuned because this is just a start of an opportunity of a lifetime. It will aid me on my path to the #NFL and it also gives me a tremendous opportunity to represent the USA, Missouri, and Saint Louis!!! #MIZ #USATeam2018 USA Team U.S. National Football Team

Harold was last seen playing the game of his life against Texas in the Texas Bowl. He had 5.5 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, and two sacks against the Longhorns, giving him a total of 10 TFLs among 36.5 tackles in two seasons with the Tigers. And now he gets a pretty cool opportunity to play American football in China.

Academy Sports & Outdoors Bowl - Texas v Missouri Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
Jordan Harold

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Mizzou made the cut-down list for St. Louis star Marcus Washington recently; now we get to see soon about another Trinity Catholic star, OL Ira Henry.
  • Mizzou’s QB is athletic.

category: Uncategorized

‘Unfair’ to compare Drew Lock to Blaine Gabbert, says NFL draft expert – SECcountry.com


'Unfair' to compare Drew Lock to Blaine Gabbert, says NFL draft expert
... isolated 1-on-1 situations — he really has great placement — but I think it's true, a lot of quarterbacks at the college level right now, teams are focused more on building up the rhythm of the quarterback, these short, quicker passes, across ...

category: Uncategorized

Missouri softball is ready to prove it belongs in its NCAA regional this weekend – Kansas City Star

Missouri softball is ready to prove it belongs in its NCAA regional this weekend
Kansas City Star
The Tigers just couldn't practice on their home field, so they used MU's baseball venue, Taylor Stadium, and the football program's indoor facility, Devine Pavilion. When Fogue and her players were each asked what would make the weekend in Oklahoma a ...

and more »

category: Uncategorized

Rounding up Missouri’s 2018 basketball class: The Freshmen – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Rounding up Missouri's 2018 basketball class: The Freshmen
Rock M Nation (blog)
Class is out, the graduates are gone, and the 2017-2018 school year is over. To mark the occasion, we're officially waving goodbye to the exhilarating, maddening '17-'18 basketball season and setting our sights on November. Sam started our offseason ...

category: Uncategorized

Rounding up Missouri’s 2018 basketball class: The Freshmen

Missouri’s 2018 recruiting class seems to be all wrapped up. What should we expect from the incoming freshmen?

Class is out, the graduates are gone, and the 2017-2018 school year is over. To mark the occasion, we’re officially waving goodbye to the exhilarating, maddening ‘17-’18 basketball season and setting our sights on November.

Sam started our offseason coverage yesterday with a look at Missouri’s roster and what it signals about the future of the program under Cuonzo Martin. There will be a lot to get to this summer, including what we can expect from returning contributors and (fingers crossed) an early jump on next year’s recruiting class. But before we get to all that, we still need to take a comprehensive look at the new faces coming this fall.

With the late April commitment of Courtney Ramey to Texas, Missouri’s last commit jumped off the board, and it appears (outside a late cycle surprise) Missouri’s 2018 class is signed and sealed, ready to be delivered to Columbia.

So what should we expect from the fresh faces of Tiger tomorrow? Josh and Tashan are taking a closer look, starting with the freshmen today and the transfers later this week, and rating each recruit on a three-tiered scale: Layup-Swish-Dunk. You can probably guess which one is best.

Torrence Watson

Josh Matejka: Cuonzo Martin’s biggest win of the 2018 recruiting cycle was flipping Torrence Watson from Ohio State to Missouri, bringing in a guy who could be a star down the road. Watson was a volume scorer at Whitfield, leading the metro area with 31.9 points per game, and he does it at all three levels. He’s got a nice, quick shot with range; he can pull up and hit a mid-range jumper; and, most notably, he’s a tenacious slasher who gets the rim with ease, finishing through contact and getting to the line. He’s a big guard at 6’5” with room to add muscle, which Nicodemus Christopher will surely make a priority this summer.

Watson will almost certainly be an immediate contributor at Missouri, mostly because he has to be. Missouri is losing 56 percent of its points this offseason (assuming Jontay Porter stays in the draft) and three of its top four three point shooters. Watson’s call will be to score, score, score, a call that could put him in the starting lineup to begin the year. He wasn’t always the most efficient scorer in high school, but the presence of other options should allow him to pick better shots and not force too much.

The biggest question surrounding Watson’s freshman season - other than his efficiency - will be how he can defend. I don’t doubt Watson’s buy-in, and he’ll undoubtedly be giving his all right away. But there’s a difference between turning the switch on against high school players who are all smaller and less skilled than you and Division I guards. This isn’t to say he’ll be a disaster defensively, but it’s a much less certain thing than his offensive credentials.

Overall, Missouri fans should be stoked to watch Torrence Watson play over the next few years. He was an early commit and feels like a familiar entity at this point, but that shouldn’t take away from the excitement. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him entering the pantheon of great Missouri scorers by the time his senior season rolls around. He’ll have an opportunity to start that foundation right away as a go-to scorer on a team that will depend on his quick adjustment to college ball.

Tashan Reed: There isn’t much that I don’t like about Torrence Watson. His explosiveness, ball handling, versatility, and jumper are all reasons why he’s oozing with potential. He averaged nearly 32 points at Whitfield, erupting for three 50-point and 40-point performances, respectively. Being from St. Louis, he should mesh with Cuonzo Martin’s method, values, and mentality instantly. And his potential doesn’t stop on the court: Watson could help solidify the recruiting pipeline from St. Louis to Columbia.

Watson has been knocked for playing at a Class 3 high school. I really don’t think it’s that big of a deal, but there’s a chance that his numbers were connected to him being significantly better than his competition. There’s no real way of knowing until Watson actually plays at Mizzou.

I fully expect Watson to be a starter by the end of the year. Cullen VanLeer’s injury should be a factor, but even with him healthy, I could see Watson taking over. His scoring ability and talent should allow him to immediately produce. He’ll have growing pains just like any other freshman, but I think he’ll overcome them.

Verdict: Simple: This is a Dunk. Watson has the most potential out of anyone in this recruiting class. He’s a ready-made scorer who also has the tools to be a great defender under Cuonzo Martin. But his most compelling attribute in 2018 may be his ability to jump in right away and be an impact player. The mixture of upside and the possibility of day-one contribution makes this an easy one.

Xavier Pinson

Josh Matejka: Cuonzo Martin dipped into the prestigious Simeon Career Academy in Chicago to grab his freshman point guard commit. Pinson recruitment felt like a whirlwind from initial interest to commitment, but it seems to be a match made in heaven. He was a rising 3-star and with Missouri needing point guard depth, Martin grabbed the up-and-comer with the promise of early playing time. It’s still probably not likely he’ll supplant Geist in the starting lineup, but Pinson’s opportunities for early minutes have certainly seen an shift with the commitment of Courtney Ramey to Texas.

So what should we expect from Pinson right away? It’s kind of hard to tell at this point. He’s small and wiry, which shouldn’t suggest the makings of a highly productive SEC point guard. But he has a few inches on LSU standout freshman Tremont Waters, and is working to add some weight before fall workouts. Pinson’s shot isn’t great right now, so he’ll need to make his living at the rim and at the line. If Pinson can mimic Waters focus on getting to the bucket and getting fouled, Pinson may be able to add some light scoring punch to a team that will need it. His full court vision will need some time to develop at the college level, but he has a knack for finding teammates around him and creating things in small spaces. It would be nice to see him learn to drive and kick to open shooters on a consistent basis. However, quick dump offs to the waiting arms of Jeremiah Tilmon and Reed Nikko will be just fine in the meantime.

Defensively, Martin has the building blocks to turn Pinson into a great stopper. Pinson has more bounce than explosion, but he’s deceptively quick and has good reach. Active hands on his part will turn a lot of errant passes into easy buckets on the other end, and Pinson will need to quickly develop his defense if he wants a good shot at taking the lead guard role. The tools are there; it’s just a matter of when they’ll be ready.

Realistically, Pinson won’t be a major contributor until his sophomore and junior seasons. As Martin said countless times last season, point guard is the hardest position to adjust to in college basketball, and there are few exceptions outside elite talents like Waters or Collin Sexton. Pinson will fill a role this season and could earn more responsibility if he adjusts defensively and plays to his strengths on offense. He has a unique opportunity to grab hold of the future starting position while Dru and Mark Smith are sidelined for the year, and he’d be well-served doing whatever he can to take hold of that opportunity. If he can, Cuonzo Martin may have found a sleeper point guard who can help usher in a bright new era for Missouri basketball.

Tashan Reed: Without a question, Mizzou’s biggest weakness during the 2017-18 season was ball control. Xavier Pinston can be loose with the rock at times, but he may already be one of the Tigers’ best ball handlers and pure passers. He’s the only true point guard on the roster and plays with a pass-first mindset.

As for concerns, it has to be his weight, right? Pinson has excellent height at 6’3, but he weighs just 170 pounds. He’s going to have to get bigger and stronger in order to thrive in SEC-play. His jumper and ability to score in general are additional weaknesses that have to be addressed.

I expect Pinson to have a bit of an up-and-down year. With him lacking a consistent jumper, he’ll find defenses leaving him open on the perimeter. His size will prevent him from finding much success with attacking the trees in the paint. Despite this, I can see him putting on a few passing clinics and showing flashes of what lies ahead in the future.

Verdict: Pinson is a swish based on his potential. Once he fills out his body and polishes his game, there’s no reason that he can’t be an excellent point guard at the collegiate level. He’ll have plenty of opportunities to grow given Missouri’s weakness at the guard spot, and a combination of hard work and good coaching should help him put it all together brilliantly.

Javon Pickett

Josh Matejka: Pickett was something of a surprise signing for Cuonzo Martin to open the 2018 class for several reasons. First, he was yet another Illinois commit who decided to cross state lines and come play for the new Missouri coach. Second, he was originally a 2017 recruit who opted to take a prep year and reclassify back to 2018. And finally, without putting too fine a point on it, there were questions about his future as a Power 5 player. Pickett was a prolific scorer at Belleville East, but lacked the explosiveness of a high level guard recruit. Still, as Sam pointed out when he first committed...

He’s got a knack for offense, and reliable scoring and the ability to make open shots are never easy to turn away. Plus, he’s also been proven to be an avid rebounder for a guard, and he has a body that can withstand some added weight.

As we saw last season, you can never have too many guards, especially guards that can score the ball a little bit. And scoring is certainly Pickett’s modus operandi, especially around the rim. He’s got nice touch in the paint and has good sense for playing around the rim. Unfortunately his size and athleticism won’t allow him to go that route until he gets stronger and adjusts to the college game.

However, I’m still pretty optimistic about the Pickett signing. I don’t believe Martin (or any good coach for that matter) is in the habit of banking scholarships on players they don’t believe can contribute. And Pickett does have potential: his natural scoring ability and tenacity to the hoop is something that’s hard to teach and will pair nicely with Martin’s defensive touch. If Pickett can get stronger and a little quicker, he could definitely end up being a starter by the time his tenure in Columbia wraps up. I could even see a future where he’s a double digit scorer on a good team in ‘20-’21 or ‘21-’22. He’ll never be the guy, but I don’t doubt he could turn into a really nice role player down the line. He’ll just need some time to get there.

Finally, I think there’s one final element to Pickett’s recruitment that was mentioned a lot at first, but is now going unsaid on some level: he was brought on as an added recruiter for the St. Louis area. Specifically, Pickett played in the same city as 2019 priority E.J. Liddell and likely has his ear on some level. Whether or not it will help in bringing him to Columbia is yet to be seen. But hopefully Pickett can chart his own course in Columbia, one that will be remembered separate of any unseen recruiting boost he may or may not add.

Tashan Reed: Javon Pickett gets buckets. He averaged 25 points per game in his senior year at Belleville East and is seen as a three-level scorer. He initially committed to Illinois before reclassifying and heading to Sunrise Christian Academy prep. Like K.J. Santos, he didn’t appear in any games (he was injured early on.)

The biggest concern has to be defense. Pickett has the size, at 6’3, to defend other wings, but he hasn’t displayed much explosiveness. And while he can do a bit of everything offensively, Pickett has to become a better shooter and passer in order to be effective at the Power 5 level.

I expect Pickett to be a bit of a spark-plug for the Tigers. I don’t expect him to play a ton of minutes, given his lack of ball-handling ability, but I can see him maximizing whatever time he gets. He provides Missouri with depth but doesn’t fill an immediate need with his skill set. He’ll fall behind Cullen VanLeer, Torrence Watson and Santos at the wing spot. He’s young, though, and should could find his role increase down the road.

Verdict: Javon Pickett is a textbook layup. He was a star in high school who clearly has the skills that could make him useful at the next level. He’ll need to work hard to really maximize his impact down the road, but Division I coaches don’t take guys for no reason. With a lot of work in the weight room and on the practice floor, Pickett could see his star rise in Columbia.

category: Uncategorized

QB isn’t a dire need for Missouri in the 2019 class, but a couple of new options have emerged – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

QB isn't a dire need for Missouri in the 2019 class, but a couple of new options have emerged
Rock M Nation (blog)
If Illinois has a miserable season on the football field — certainly conceivable — recruiters will be in Williams' ear, reminding him that neither Smith nor Patterson will likely be employed at UI very long. No commitment is 100 percent solid eight ...

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou going after a couple of late-rising Georgia QBs

Two local QB prospects committed early, and Mizzou seems to be homing in on a couple of late-rising Georgia prospects.

Note: This post originally went up a month ago, and naturally a lot has changed in a short amount of time. So let’s revisit.

Now that we’ve laid out the balance of positions Missouri could or should pursue with its 2019 recruiting class, I figured we could use that as a springboard to go position by position and talk about needs, targets, etc., in the coming weeks.

We start, as always, with the most important position on the field.


  • 2018 depth chart (approximate): Drew Lock (Sr.), Micah Wilson (So.), Jack Lowary (Jr.), Taylor Powell (RSFr.), Lindsey Scott Jr. (So.)
  • 2019 depth chart: Micah Wilson (Jr.), Jack Lowary (Sr.), Taylor Powell (So.), Lindsey Scott Jr. (Jr.)
  • 2020 depth chart: Micah Wilson (Sr.), Taylor Powell (Jr.), Lindsey Scott Jr. (Sr.)

Mizzou enters 2018 with a weird sort of streak:

  • Incumbent James Franklin returned in 2012 and 2013.
  • Maty Mauk started for an injured Franklin for a month in 2013 and therefore had some experience heading into 2014, then returned (briefly) for 2015.
  • Drew Lock took over for the beleaguered Mauk a few games into 2015 and returned for 2016, 2017, and now 2018.

Knock on wood, of course, but barring injury, this seven-year streak will end next year. Lock will graduate after this fall and could go quite high in the 2019 NFL draft. So (again, barring injury, and there is not enough wood in the world to knock on in discussing this) Mizzou is obviously set for 2018.

But next spring will see quite the battle royale, as at least four guys will fight to replace Lock. Obviously there could be some attrition either before or after next spring (if it’s not before, I would definitely expect some after), but I do enjoy that the four competitors for 2019 come in all different shapes, sizes, and skill sets. You’ve got the athletic current No. 2 man, Micah Wilson. You’ve got the big-armed Jack Lowary. And you’ve got two ‘gritty winner’ types in Taylor Powell and Lindsey Scott Jr., who are each a little on either the skinnier (Powell) or shorter (Scott) sides but have shown leadership ability at different levels.

There’s still time for one more potential entry into the competition, however.

Technically, if Mizzou has four QBs on the roster for 2019, then QB isn’t a grave necessity for this recruiting class, at least from a numbers perspective. But considering you absolutely need a pretty good one to win games, you can never have enough QBs. Coaches tend to like having at least one in every class.

Mizzou has already missed out on two local targets.

Per the 247Sports Composite, the top prospect in the state this year is St. Louis Trinity Catholic’s Isaiah Williams. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith made a pretty crafty move by hiring Trinity’s head coach, Cory Patterson, as his tight ends coach. That reaped almost immediate dividends when Williams committed to UI in late March.

(If there’s anything Mizzou fans should be able to respect right now, it’s hiring an assistant to help grab what you hope is a program-changing player.)

Now, as we well know, a lot can change between April and National Signing Day. If Illinois has a miserable season on the football field — certainly conceivable — recruiters will be in Williams’ ear, reminding him that neither Smith nor Patterson will likely be employed at UI very long. No commitment is 100 percent solid eight months before signing day; otherwise, James Foster would be a Tiger and not an Aggie, right?

Williams is certainly firm for now, though. Graham Mertz? Less so. The Blue Valley North quarterback — a four-star prospect and a top-10 pro-style QB for this classcommitted to Wisconsin back in October. He hasn’t completely shut down his recruiting, and it’s been pretty evident that Missouri isn’t giving up on landing him just yet. But it appears Notre Dame might be in line ahead of the Tigers should Mertz eventually open things back up.

Mizzou might not be completely out of it when it comes to these two prospects, but there’s no point in holding out hope at the moment. Check back in a few months.

For a while this spring, it appeared Mizzou might be making up ground with Michigan three-star prospect Sam Johnson. The Tigers made his top five in late-April after offering earlier in the month, but last week he committed to a team that had been on him for much longer: Boston College.

Recruiting happens in waves, though. As prospects start showing up in various camps from April through about June, new names and offers emerge, and new players see their respective recruitments catch fire.

Mizzou’s latest efforts seem to be focusing on two recent risers from the state of Georgia: Zach Calzada and Justin Fomby.

SB Nation’s Bud Elliott wrote about Calzada a couple of weeks ago.

“I was 5’10” a little over a year ago, the 6’2.5, 195-pound Calzada said. His dad confirmed, he’s had a huge growth spurt. [...]

Quarterbacks no longer have to be 6’5, but 5’10 is short. It makes sense that many haven’t heard of Calzada. With his late growth spurt came arm strength, and Calzada rips the ball. He can also grip it with 10-inch hands.

Schools have very recently started to take notice. [...]

Visits are on hold until after spring, and Calzada wants to make sure he is making the right decision. But he is also cognizant that schools want to get their QBs committed early.

“As soon as I find a place I love, I’ll take it,” he said. “QB spots go quickly.”

From a recruiting perspective, it probably didn’t help that Calzada started slowly in 2017, his first year as first-stringer at Sugar Hill (Ga.) Lanier High. Through four games, he had completed just 43 percent of his passes with a horrendous 97.0 passer rating (per the college formula). Over his final seven games, he raised those numbers to 57 percent and 148.6, respectively, and Sugar Hill’s scoring average went from 14.5 points per game to 24.1.

Calzada’s highlight film shows exactly why he might do well in a camp setting: he’s got a rifle and a tight spiral. The ball gets to where it’s going awfully quickly. Thanks to the growth spurt and mid-season improvement, options are opening up. He has quickly moved from unrated to a mid-three-star designation, and he could continue to rise with better camp showings. Mizzou got on board reasonably early, offering last week, but there will be a lot of schools jockeying for position.

Fomby, meanwhile, has been an even later arrival, at least by a week or two. The recent MVP of Rivals’ Nashville camp still only carries one power-conference offer: Mizzou’s. But knowing how these camps (and the reactions to the camps) work, that probably won’t remain the case for long.

His highlight film certainly backs up the camp performances.

With the requisite “I know nothing about the competition level here” disclaimer, I see a QB with excellent footwork and a smooth delivery. (In a couple of the passes, he has a bit of a hitch and slow delivery, but only in a couple.) No idea how he doesn’t have more offers already, but they’ll come. And we’ll see if Mizzou’s presence as the first in line helps with his recruitment.

(Here’s more on Fomby for PowerMizzou subscribers.)

Perhaps other recruits will emerge as the quarterback dominoes begin to tumble, but for now, it’s hard to figure out what Mizzou’s next choice would be if the school can’t stay on the radar for one of these two exciting late-risers.

category: Uncategorized

PODCAST! Rock M Radio Presents: Opponents Alley with Sam Snelling

He is joined by Jim Vainisi and we are Talking Braggin’ Rights!

Rock M Radio Presents: Opponents Alley with Sam Snelling. And so, let’s take a walk down the Opponents Alley. He is joined by Jim Vainisi, who is the former site manager of The Champaign Room. They talk Braggin Rights’, Recruiting for both schools, a season outlook for Illinois and everything in between. Let’s get to it.

Episode Breakdown:

:20 – 7:25: Intro and Let’s meet Jim Vainisi and catch up on what is happening with Illinois Basketball and Braggin’ Rights.

7:26 – 16:56: Some thoughts on the Roster Turnover at Illinois this off-season and what’s the outlook for Illinois next year? (Hint: Mark Smith ended up at Mizzou).

17:00 - 29:40 :The head to head recruiting battles taking place… fun, right?! Also, some thoughts on the current battles taking place.

29:41 – 38:09 :Let’s talk fanbases. Mizzou and Illinois fans appear to interact with each other a bit on Social Media.

38:10 – 44:43 : What are the expectations for next season for Illinois?

44:45 – 54:12 : What does Underwood have to do in order to convince everyone that this is headed in the right direction?

54:15 – END: Wrap-up, thank you Jim, and please Rate/Review/Subscribe!

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You can follow the members of Today’s show on Twitter @SamTSnelling & @JimVainisi.

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category: Uncategorized

Sports betting could be coming to Missouri in the next few years

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

You probably heard about yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, which basically made sports betting a states’ rights issue. If not, here, catch up:

So how might this impact the state of Missouri? It’s among a long list of states that have attempted legislation legalizing sports betting but hasn’t passed it just yet.

“The bill was filed with the anticipation of the Supreme Court making a decision at some point ... , but it’s too late in the session to have any traction,” [Rep. Dean Plocher] said. “And I think there needs to be more vetting of the bill. So what I will be working on over the summer is that we bring all stakeholders to the table.”

[Sen. Caleb Rowden] introduced his bill, SB 1009, in February. It would allow sports gambling to occur on “excursion gambling boats” or areas that are over water. Such locations would be able to apply for the authorization to have sports betting on their premises, in part by reclassifying sports wagering as a “game of skill.”

Damn straight it’s a game of skill.

Plocher’s proposed bill is supported by the NBA, MLB and the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals organizations. It would include an “integrity fee” of a 1 percent charge on all sports wagers, and the collected money would be given to the governing bodies of each sport.

Plocher said professional sports organizations and big national gambling organizations have a lot at stake.

”My bill mandated that the platform for online gaming be at those casinos in Missouri on the water,” he said. “That’s important because people are doing this now, but they are using offsite places ... , and there is no way to regulate the algorithms used in sports betting, which could potentially lead to people being exploited.”

I’m guessing it’ll be a while until sports betting makes more of a visible entry into the college landscape. But for pro sports fans, things could eventually change pretty drastically.

But MMQB’s Albert Breer wrote in March that NFL owners are already envisioning a world where gambling can be part of the in-game experience for fans. He painted a scenario where people in attendance at a game could use an app to place live prop bets on certain outcomes to be further engaged and invested in the outcome.

This is already a popular way to consume sports overseas with similar forms of betting available during European Premier League matches. Multiple NFL owners also have ownership stakes in EPL teams (Stan Kroenke — Rams and Arsenal; Malcolm Glazer — Buccaneers and Manchester United; Shad Khan — Jaguars and Fulham [relegated]) and are already familiar with that.

That probably won’t be a reality in the NFL any time soon — at least not in a way that’s officially sponsored and supported by the league. But it’s almost definitely on the horizon and has already been a topic of discussion with the Raiders’ upcoming relocation to Las Vegas creating a dialogue about gambling.

And hey, you might not have to go as far to bet on Mizzou winning a national title. You can probably get pretty good odds.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • It appears quite a few Mizzou Hoops targets have been raising their respective stock on the offseason tour.
  • Hey look, here’s a badass in action:

category: Uncategorized

Mizzou Monday: How positionless can both Tigers basketball teams become? – Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star

Mizzou Monday: How positionless can both Tigers basketball teams become?
Kansas City Star
On Mondays, Aaron Reiss, one of The Star's Mizzou beat writers, will offer a digest of thoughts on the Tigers and MU story lines to follow. Win a NCAA Tournament and basketball coaches all over the country will say they want to play like you. A ...

and more »

category: Uncategorized

What will it look like moving into a new era of Missouri basketball?

Positionless basketball is a thing, and Missouri is moving closer and closer to having as much of a positionless roster as it can. The Tigers aren’t Villanova, and frankly, it isn’t fair to expect that level of success. But since the Wildcats are the best example of positionless basketball in college, the comparisons will exist.

This past season the Tigers still had elite size and were often able to play with two bigs. But the look and style of Cuonzo Martin’s offense changed dramatically from his time at Tennessee and Cal. With last season being about taking a shot with Michael Porter Jr., the construction of the roster was as much about feeding the ball to their star forward as much as you can.

This season is going to be different. With no proven scorers and only a few knowns on the roster, Missouri is entering the real Stage 1 of a new era of Mizzou basketball. A roster chock-full of multi-positional players is rounding into shape.

First, our current scholarship count:

mizzou basketball scholarship count 4-27-18

The scholarship count tells you who is on the roster, but it doesn’t lay out the where. We’re going to start with the simplest approach to begin. With this roster, here are the guards vs. forwards (among those eligible for 2018-19):

From here you can see the roster is a bit forward heavy. But in a less basic and strict breakdown of positions, you can move K.J. Santos back and forth between guards and forwards. He’s really a prototypical combo forward in that regard — he’s not a traditional wing due to his size and physical stature, but he’s not a guy who is going to play on the block either.

This position of “traditional wing with size” is something many programs have taken advantage of over the years. Michael Porter Jr. was that kind of player, and Miles Bridges at Michigan State is another good example. Kansas used Svi Mykhailuk in that role this past season and Josh Jackson in the season before. Jayson Tatum at Duke, Keita Bates-Diop at Ohio State, Dillon Brooks at Oregon ... there is a long list of great collegiate players who were considered undersized “fours” on the floor but were really second wing players who were probably asked to defend a post from time to time.

This might be the most important position in college basketball these days.

Going a step further with the forwards, there are post players who you might trust to handle the ball a bit more and stretch the floor out to the 3-point line. K.J. Santos is obviously one of these players, but Mitchell Smith and Kevin Puryear are as well. Neither Puryear nor Smith are guys you trust to defend on the wing — if at all possible, you want to avoid this scenario. They are more than capable of defending on the interior, though, and out to 15-20 feet against another post player.

Puryear doesn’t exude the kind of athleticism and explosion you’d want from the “other” spot that Santos possesses. And Smith has great length and size but also isn’t quite adept with his ball skills to be trusted on the wing a whole lot. Instead, they’re each more of a modern big who might be offensively limited in skill but are capable of stretching the defense with their jump shot.

Jeremiah Tilmon and Reed Nikko, you want by the basket. Timon has been working this offseason to develop his stretch game, but he’s still probably not going to be the jump shooter Smith or Puryear is.

Guards like Torrence Watson and Cullen VanLeer aren’t going to be considered primary ball handlers. Both should be capable of switching onto a primary ball handler in certain circumstances, but you aren’t going to inbound the ball to them 94 feet from the basket against a press and ask them to break it.

Even Watson and VanLeer are different players. CVL is much more of a spot-up shooter, and Watson is wired to score the ball from all three levels. But neither is considered a primary or secondary ball handler.

I’m also slotting Javon Pickett in here, though some rumors persist that he might be pegged as a bit of a secondary ball handler in the future. In high school Pickett was a lot like Watson, but he was even more of an attacker, scoring a lot of his points from 12-15 feet and in.

I call them wings. Santos is a wing, too, but again, he runs 6’7 to 6’8 and appears to be carrying 230 pounds, so he can defend down a position.

Now we break this down another step further by breaking out primary and secondary ball handlers.

A primary is certainly going to be considered by most a point guard by tradition. Phil Pressey was a point guard, and I guess many considered Jordan Clarkson one as well. But this is where you get the difference. Clarkson is a guard capable of being the primary guard if asked to, in the same way that Jordan Geist was one last year. But neither is a primary ball handler. Pressey is a point guard in the traditional sense. Blake Harris was, as well, but he isn’t on this roster anymore.

This is where Mizzou’s current roster gets a little iffy. The Tigers have only one true point guard on the roster eligible to play next season and he is an unranked freshman.

The fact that Missouri is going to be without Dru Smith, Mark Smith, and possibly VanLeer next season pokes some holes into the lineup in a way you certainly hope someone like K.J. Santos can try to fill the void.

The 2019-20 roster improves automatically with multiple guards who can be either the primary or secondary ball handlers, and this doesn’t include any incoming 2019 recruits.

For the Tigers to exceed expectations next season, they need another step from multiple players. But with a combo guard, a wing and a stretch post player leaving after next season you can start to see Mizzou’s priorities on the recruiting trail for 2019.

category: Uncategorized

Missouri makes the top 6 for St. Louis blue-chipper Marcus Washington – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Missouri makes the top 6 for St. Louis blue-chipper Marcus Washington
Rock M Nation (blog)
What are realistic expectations for next season's football team? You look at the offense and it's got a lot. There's an unknown element with Dooley. But then you've got Barry's defense, which is set up under him now and pretty consistent there. You saw ...

category: Uncategorized

Missouri makes the top 6 for blue-chip StL WR Marcus Washington

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

On Sunday morning, we found out that Mizzou’s biggest 2019 target — St. Louis Trinity Catholic WR Marcus Washington — is still considering the Tigers. Mizzou made the blue-chipper’s top six, along with Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon, and Texas.

We know that Barry Odom’s been taking an “If you don’t want to be here, we don’t want you” attitude toward the in-staters, but we also know that Mizzou’s been hitting the #LouToTheZou hashtag pretty hard as well. Staying in the Washington race will help with StL relations, that’s for sure, even if Odom has clearly taken the attitude that he can find plenty of good prospects in Texas, Georgia, Michigan, Tennessee, etc.

There’s one more reason to put a little extra weight on St. Louis recruiting, though: Illinois’ Lovie Smith played the “hire the respected high school coach” card.

For years, it was common to see high school coaches be hired on to a support staff position at a college , especially when said HS coach was associated with an elite recruit or program. But in 2017, the NCAA changed the rule, making it so that a college could not have recruited a high school for two years before or after hiring one of its coaches hiring a high school coach, unless the college is willing to hire the high school coach into one of its 10 on-field assistant coaching positions. [...]

Illinois is desperate. It doesn’t have the talent to compete in the Big Ten. If it doesn’t get an infusion of talent, Smith and his staff won’t be around. And so it took a calculated risk and hired Patterson directly onto its coaching staff, ensuring it would still be allowed to recruit Trinity Catholic. Illinois fans were calling for the move. [...]

Patterson has deep, long-held bonds with prep stars in St. Louis.

Almost immediately, the move paid off in a commitment from athlete Isaiah Williams, a 5’10 five-star recruit whom seemingly every school wants as a slot receiver, but to whom Illinois is promising a shot to continue playing QB, just as he did for Patterson at Trinity.

A month later, Trinity three-star slot receiver Bryce Childress joined on.

“Coach Patterson has been like a father figure for me since I was 6,” Williams told Illini Inquirer. “I stayed with him from time to time. He got me into schools.”

Many players echoed those sentiments. There’s a trust in Patterson, sometimes formed over a decade or more, that just doesn’t exist between the players and other recruiters.

Smith’s hire of Patterson was a really nice short-term move. It will only work out long-term if the Illini actually improve on the field over the next year or two, though, and there’s nothing saying that will happen. Still, a crafty move on his part.

And speaking of #LouToTheZou, Mizzou made St. John Vianney RB/WR Kyren Williams’ top eight as well.

Next step: actually landing some StL’ers. Winning this fall — and not waiting till the second half of the season this time — will certainly help. Athletic director Jim Sterk expects it.

What are realistic expectations for next season’s football team? You look at the offense and it’s got a lot. There’s an unknown element with Dooley. But then you’ve got Barry’s defense, which is set up under him now and pretty consistent there.

You saw the shifting and the transformation of the team last year. I think the culture of the team developed. Yeah, they went through some losses early, but the coaches didn’t lose them. They had confidence. They played together. They played for each other. Those are all good things that are good indicators of how healthy the program is. I think that they can build on that.

Obviously, offensively, they have a lot of people coming back. Defensively, they know what’s expected of them, and so I’m excited about it. I don’t see anybody on the schedule that we can’t compete with, or that we can’t score.

This Weekend at Rock M

More Links:

  • The weekend’s Mother’s Day must-read: Dave Matter on Robin Pingeton.
  • Well, they pulled it off. Mizzou Softball is dancing. And they got a two-seed in the Norman Regional. DAMN. That’s how good the Tigers’ strength of schedule was, I guess. They’ll face Tulsa on Friday. Oklahoma, the host and No. 4 overall seed, will face Boston U. as well.
  • Albert O: good.

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Mizzou was damned if it fired Warren Powers in 1984 … and damned if it didn’t – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Mizzou was damned if it fired Warren Powers in 1984 ... and damned if it didn't
Rock M Nation (blog)
It's not like you can't see the logic in Missouri's decision to fire Warren Powers at the end of 1984. And there weren't exactly fans protesting in the streets afterward. Despite the obvious talent on the field — especially with that '83 team ...

category: Uncategorized

1984, part 2: Mizzou was damned if it fired Warren Powers, damned if it didn’t

Close losses and awful special teams cost Powers his job, but Mizzou was becoming a job in which you had to be a great coach just to field a good team.

It’s not like you can’t see the logic in Missouri’s decision to fire Warren Powers at the end of 1984. And there weren’t exactly fans protesting in the streets afterward. Despite the obvious talent on the field — especially with that ‘83 team — Powers’ Tigers went just 15-16-3 over his last three seasons.

We’ve long heard stories about how recruiting had trailed off in Powers’ final seasons. I don’t completely buy that simply because, again, the 1983 and 1984 teams were pretty talented. But there was just enough of a drop-off to make a difference. Darrell Wallace was good, but he was no James Wilder. Marlon Adler had his moments, but he was no Phil Bradley. And to say the least, there wasn’t a Kellen Winslow on the team. There were athletes, but Mizzou began to need one extra play: Mizzou won four of its first five one-possession finishes under Powers back in 1978-79, then lost four of five before settling into a 6-6-2 stretch through the early 1980s. But over his last five tight games, he went 0-4-1.

The tricky thing about what I call Glen Mason Territory isn’t necessarily that you are wrong in firing your Glen Mason*; it’s that your Glen Mason is the only thing preventing you from realizing the chasm that’s opening up between you and where you want to be.

Missouri’s infrastructure was increasingly behind the times. The facilities were bad, the investment bad. The university itself had gone through money issues in recent years, and athletic director Dave Hart didn’t have a ton to spend. Powers’ personality and prowess kept things going for a while. But Mizzou was quickly becoming a job where you had to be great just to be good on the field.

* In case you’re new to this concept, what I call Glen Mason Territory is when you fire a good coach because he wasn’t great, or when a coach raises the bar at a given program but then can’t consistently clear the new bar. I call it Glen Mason Territory because a) Minnesota fired Mason after the 2006 season despite seven bowl bids in eight years (they’d been to three in the 35 years before his arrival) and b) I started blogging about stuff like this in 2007, so he was the most recent and relevant example. Congrats for that, Coach!

October 6: Missouri (2-3) 52, Colorado (0-5) 7

Missouri had gained at least 425 yards in every game of the 1984 season but had only a 1-3 record to show for it. Luckily, there would be no need for clutch play against a terrible Colorado team in Missouri’s fourth straight home game.

Longtime CU assistant Bill McCartney took over the Buffs in 1982 and said up front that it would take five years to build a winning program. Halfway through year three, he was just 6-19-1, and CU looked like the perfect antidote for a Missouri team suffering from a thrice-broken heart and desperate for confidence and momentum.

With Mizzou defensive backs Terry Matichak and Jerome Caver both healthy for the first time all season, Colorado would only pass for 190 yards, almost half of which would come from the backup CU quarterback in the fourth quarter. Mizzou piled up nine tackles for loss, and Colorado would only score once.

Meanwhile, the MU offensive line had what some would call a pretty good day. Mizzou rushed for an obscene 512 yards. Jon Redd and Marlon Adler both put up over 150 yards each, Mizzou averaged 8.0 yards per play for the game (639 total yards). After a frustrating non-conference run, Mizzou was 1-0 in the Big 8. There was still time to make something of the season.

October 13: No. 6 Nebraska (5-1) 33, Missouri (2-4) 23

After the CU-MU game, McCartney called Missouri the best team they had played all season, and they had played Michigan State, Oregon, Notre Dame and UCLA. Clearly this was a team with talent and explosiveness; despite the tough scheduled and a quarterback controversy, through five games the Tigers were second in the country, averaging 499.4 yards per game.

But to become bowl eligible, they would have to take out the three lesser teams on the schedule (KSU, ISU, KU) and upset a big dog, either NU, OU, or OSU. The first crack came at Nebraska, who had been ranked No. 1 until a suprise loss to Syracuse.

Mizzou hung tight early. Nebraska muffed a punt in the first quarter, and two plays later Eric Drain rumbled 15 yards for a score. NU tied the game at 7-7, but Mizzou had found golden opportunity on its next series when Drain drifted uncovered into the Husker secondary. But he dropped a Marlon Adler pass, and Mizzou had to punt. Mizzou lost its way for a bit but still trailed only 16-10 at the half.

The Tiger defense did all it could to slow down the always potent NU offense, holding the Huskers to two first downs in the third quarter, but the Mizzou offense fell apart. NU linebacker Marc Munford picked off Seitz near midfield and took it back for a touchdown. A Husker FG made the score 26-10 heading into the fourth quarter, and though Mizzou struck back to make the score 26-17 (why didn’t they go for 2?), Nebraska put the game away with a perfect 80-yard touchdown drive against a tiring Tiger D.

October 20: Missouri (3-4) 61, Kansas State (2-5) 21


With one upset opportunity blown, Missouri then traveled to Manhattan to face a K-State team had just whooped Kansas for only its second conference win in two years. KSU hadn’t totally fallen into its late-’80s abyss yet, but it was drifting in that direction.

In front of just 28,200 in Manhattan, George Shorthose’s 48-yard touchdown catch highlighted a 21-0 start for Mizzou. The lead would balloon to 41-7 midway through the third quarter, and then Mizzou’s backups out played KSU’s as well.

In limited action, Adler had 184 yards passing, 51 yards rushing, and four combined touchdowns, and Mizzou was back to within one game of .500 with another easily winnable game — Homecoming against 2-5 Iowa State — coming up the next week.

October 27: Missouri (3-4-1) 14, Iowa State (2-5-1) 14

The season didn’t fall apart with a loss; a tie was more than enough to do the job. To this point, Mizzou had lost only competitive games to pretty good or excellent teams. But there was no excuse for this blemish.

It was slippery and wet on Faurot Field, and Missouri was bothered from the outset. Shorthose fumbled the opening kickoff after a nice return, but the Mizzou defense shut ISU down for no score. After Shorthose redeemed himself momentarily with a 31-yard touchdown catch, Iowa State went three-and-out ... and Shorthose muffed the proceeding punt.

Late in the first half, sure-handed Andy Hill was in to field a short punt and give Mizzou another scoring opportunity, only he also fumbled, and Mizzou led only 7-3 at half despite dominating defensively.

Still, when Adler went for a 15-yard scoring jaunt late in the third quarter, it appeared Mizzou would escape with a messy-but-necessary fourth win of the season. Mizzou was up 14-3, and ISU’s starting quarterback had broken his ankle.

Then Cyclone backup Alan Hood -- a St. Louis native -- stepped in and engineered a scoring drive to cut the lead to 14-6. After a short Adler punt, the Cyclones took over at the Mizzou 40 and took only seven plays to score again and tie the game with an easty two-point conversion

For the first time all season, they had played poorly against a poor opponent, and now they had to win out to become bowl eligible. Not bloody likely.

November 3: No. 10 Oklahoma (6-1-1) 49, Missouri (3-5-1) 7

It really couldn’t have set up any worse for Missouri. Not only did the Tigers face back-to-back road games against Top 15 teams, needing to win them both to become bowl-eligible, and not only were they coming off of their worst performance of the year; no, they also had to face an OU team that was all sorts of angry after slipping up in Lawrence the previous week.

Mizzou had one chance in this game. On the opening possession, OU fumbled, and the Tigers took over near midfield. They went three and out. That was that.

The OU wishbone quickly broke Mizzou. Three straight scoring drives made it 21-0, then OU receiver Derrick Shepard (father of future OU star Sterling) took a reverse handoff, sprinted left ... and passed to future hall-of-fame tight end Keith Jackson, wide open for a 58-yard catch-and-run and a touchdown

The OU lead was 42-0 before Mizzou finally scored in the fourth quarter. The defense was wilting, and the offense, so explosive early in the year, had nothing to offer.

After the game, Mizzou defensive tackle Steve Leshe said, “If you had told me in the beginning of the season that our season would take this path, I don’t think I’d believe you.” There was no salvaging it now.

November 10: No. 7 Oklahoma State (8-1) 31, Missouri (3-6-1) 13

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Mizzou offense racked up insane amounts of yardage, but it couldn’t make plays when it had to, and a series of special teams miscues killed the Tigers.

That’s exactly what happened to Missouri in Stillwater -- for what seemed like about the fifth time that season -- and on ESPN, no less.

Led by Thurman Thomas and a stifling defense, new OSU coach Pat Jones (who had taken over for Jimmy Johnson upon Johnson’s departure for Miami) was in the process of leading OSU to 10 wins and a Gator Bowl bid. The Pokes would reach No. 2 in the polls before a loss to OU. But Mizzou, despite nothing to play for, was giving the ‘Pokes all they could handle heading into the fourth quarter.

The Tigers had moved the ball at will throughout the first half, but due to two missed field goals (ugh), a blocked field goal (double ugh), a costly Adler interception (gah), and a dropped touchdown toss (mercy), the Tigers still trailed at half, 10-7. It was 17-13 OSU in the fourth quarter (after a blocked Tiger PAT) when Mizzou lined up for yet another field goal. Almost predictably, it was blocked.

Why you would even try a field goal at that point, I have no idea.

(The most maddening part about this? Tom Whelihan, who would go on to become one of the best place-kickers in the country in 1986-87, was a freshman on this team, but he was relegated to kickoff duties. Brad Burditt, who had been pretty solid in 1983, was left in there to miss three PATs and six field goals. Simply making a kicker change might have saved Powers’ job, or come very close.)

The next play, OSU threw a trick play touchdown pass, and that was ballgame. Mizzou out-gained the Cowboys, 451-374, but once again, the Tigers were a player or two away.

November 17: Kansas (5-6) 35, Missouri (3-7-1) 21


A season full of high hopes comes crashing down due to miscue after miscue. A home crowd loses faith in its team. Its chief rival comes to town having won two of three. I think you know what’s coming.

This one played out a lot like the KU-MU game 20 years later, near the end of an equally disappointing 2004 campaign. KU sandwiched two touchdown drives around yet another Mizzou missed field goal, and by the time the Tiger offense got its footing, they were down 21-0. Mizzou got back to within 21-14, but an 87-yard pass from Mike Norseth to Richard Edsell broke the Tigers’ back. Amid snowflakes, raindrops, and “We want Dick Vermeil” signs, Mizzou would never again come within 14 points.

Under Powers, Missouri went to bowls five times in seven years and had a losing record just once. Powers was the Big 8 Coach of the Year in 1983 and fielded a talented, explosive team in 1984. But missed opportunities and special teams miscues did the Tigers in repeatedly.

It took so many bad breaks and near misses that it would have been easy to write the season off as a fluke and let Powers continue through the final two years of his contract.

Unfortunately, two factors were working against Powers.

First, the lack of close-game execution seemed like a bit of a trend. Overall under Powers, Mizzou was 8-16-3 in games decided by one score. Just a .500 record in those games may have kept Powers coaching in Columbia.

My SB Nation colleague Bud Elliott likes to say that while close-game records are decided a lot by luck, some combination of coaching, quarterback play, and special teams can make a difference. Well, Mizzou had a quarterback controversy and inexcusably horrid special teams in 1984 and went 0-3-1 in one-possession games. (And there were a couple more games that would have been one-possession battles if not for special teams.)

Second, and more importantly, average attendance had dropped by over 20,000 over the past five years. Interest in watching a solid team incapable of coming through or winning “the big one” (after his first season, anyway) was waning.

Powers’ teams were good in the classroom and tough on the field, but for a variety of reasons, the connection to the fan base had withered. And athletic directors tend to notice when more and more tickets go unsold.

Late on Sunday night, November 18, Dave Hart met with Mizzou’s Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, then with chancellor Barbara Uehling. They elected to move on.

At the press conference announcing Powers’ firing, Hart and Uehling both spoke of a general negativity radiating throughout the state. A committee that included Don Faurot and senior tight end Tony Davis was formed to screen candidates to replace Powers, who himself was hired over Pat Dye, LaVell Edwards, and St. Louis Cardinals running backs coach (and future Super Bowl champion coach) Joe Gibbs.

The candidates list:

  • Tulsa coach John Cooper
  • Former Steelers defensive coordinator and USFL Oklahoma Outlaws coach Woody Widenhofer
  • CS-Fullerton coach Gene Murphy
  • Furman coach Dick Sheridan
  • Former Mizzou running back Johnny Roland
  • Oklahoma assistant Merv Johnson
  • Dan Devine (allegedly)
  • Maryland coach Bobby Ross
  • NFL assistant & former CMC coach Don Shinnick

Cooper would go on to win quite a few games at Ohio State, and Ross would win a national title at Georgia Tech in 1990.

After the first round of exploration, Hart announced that the finalists were Cooper, Murphy (who was coming off of an 11-1 season at Fullerton State), and Widenhofer. On December 19, Widenhofer was introduced as the new coach.

If Mizzou was a job in which you had to be great just to be good, hiring a mediocre head coach was a death knell. Widenhofer had proven to be a charismatic, competent defensive coordinator. As head coach at both Missouri and Vanderbilt, he would prove to be ... a charismatic, competent defensive coordinator. His teams never showed the discipline or development necessary to win in an improving Big 8 — Mizzou’s iffy facilities and infrastructure most certainly didn’t help — and he won just 12 games over the next four seasons.

Soon, Powers’ five bowls in seven season seemed like a fantasy.

Note: portions of this post originally appeared in a 2009 Rock M Nation series.

category: Uncategorized

Cuonzo Martin has signed as many top-20 players as North Carolina since 2013 – Rock M Nation (blog)

Rock M Nation (blog)

Cuonzo Martin has signed as many top-20 players as North Carolina since 2013
Rock M Nation (blog)
1.7K plays1.7K. Zoulogy: A Mizzou Tigers Podcast - Barry Odom's Tiger Turnaround has Mizzou Bowling. 1.8K plays1.8K. Zoulogy: A Mizzou Tigers Podcast - Mizzou dominates Iowa State in basketball, Tennessee in football. Great Weekend! 1.3K plays1.3K.

category: Uncategorized

Elite recruiters, a player-coach dunk contest, and why the NBA’s the best

Eyes emoji.

Elite Basketball recruits basically only go to Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, Arizona ... or wherever Cuonzo Martin is coaching.

Here’s an interesting tweet from Bart Torvik of barttorvik.com:

This is actually really interesting but shouldn’t be all that surprising. Basically, there are two schools playing the one-and-done game right now: Kentucky and Duke. Kansas and Arizona still recruit at an elite level, too.

Indiana, LSU, North Carolina, and UCLA all have four top-20 players in that time, too.

You know who else has four top-20 players in that time? Cuonzo Martin!

Martin has signed Robert Hubbs III, the No. 20 player in 2013, at Tennessee. He then signed No. 4 Jaylen Brown and No. 7 Ivan Rabb in the 2015 class at Cal. And last spring he signed the No. 2 player in 2017, Michael Porter Jr. (in case you’re wondering, Jontay Porter was ranked No. 25 after his reclassification).

There isn’t much likelihood in 2019 for Martin to keep the odd-year streak going, as the highest rated player Mizzou has a good shot at is 52nd-ranked E.J. Liddell. But it could be possible for him to jump back in with the 2020 class and Josh Christopher, who is currently No. 11.

Still, kind of a cool statistic.

Mizzou’s 2019 class could still be really, really, really good, even without a top-20 player.

Matt found a way to get some really great advanced statistics from a cool new service called Open Look Analytics. OLA provides some really interesting insights into some high-priority Mizzou targets so we can track how they’re performing during the EYBL season.

My favorites:

  • Mario McKinney — 38.5% from 3: It’s still a small sample size, but McKinney being solid and reliable from deep makes him even more dangerous off the dribble.
  • E.J. Liddell — 117.5 ORtg: He hasn’t shot well but still had an effective game because he attacks rebounds and finds ways to get to the free throw line.
  • Terrence Hargrove — 14.2% ORB, 16.3 DRB rates: Hargrove isn’t in the mold of a high-level scorer, but it’s easy to see why Missouri coaches really like him so muh.

If you are on Twitter and not following Matt, well, he has a lot of good stuff on his feed, and you don’t want to miss out.


Just a calm reminder that Torrence Watson will be suiting up in black and gold next year. His athleticism is a little underrated. His high school coach, by the way, is equally athletic:

The NBA is the best professional league, even if you like other sports better.

While MLB, NFL, NHL and more are hunting down copyright infringement on Twitter and Facebook, the NBA is leaning into it. They embrace the way social media has changed the way we watch and view sports.

Today, watching sporting events with your favorite commentators on Twitter is becoming essential for the hard core fan. I know I personally spend as much time scrolling through tweets as I do watching NBA action because users like @World_Wide_Rob make the game experience more fun and interesting.

Like Chris Paul having a reckoning with his detractors:

Or playing on J.R. Smith’s reputation:

All in all there are so many things the NBA gets right, which other leagues get wrong. The media-scape overall is changing and “da yutes” get it.

SB Nation, and specifically Rock M Nation, are a prime example of how consumption of sports media has changed. We are a fan site here, but we also cover the team as intensely and precisely as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the KC Star, the Columbia Tribune, and PowerMizzou. Sometimes I think our coverage is better than theirs because we aren’t beholden to a specific model of what to post.

New media can dwell more on roster construction and changes in recruiting philosophy and offensive efficiency movement with lineup modifications. We can be fun and silly and stupid (a whole lotta stupid) and it can work out because it makes things more enjoyable.

We can embrace the impact of Drew Lock’s Milly Rock, too:

It’s for these reasons — and not just because basketball is just so damn great — which makes the NBA the best league. Now I can't wait to watch King James vs Jayson Tatum in the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champs vs. the team with the best record in the Western Conference Finals.

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