We move now to the guy a large portion of the fanbase seems to prefer...
Cuonzo Martin, Missouri State Head Coach
Career Record: 61-41, three years (26-9 this season).
Accomplishments: Counting his 11-20 initial campaign as a year-zero, this-doesn't-really-count season, Martin is 50-21 in the last two seasons in Springfield. The Bears have improved in each of his three seasons, first to 24-12 in 2009-10 (with a CIT title, for whatever that's worth), then to 26-9 with a Missouri Valley title this year. SMS lost in the finals of the MVC tournament, thereby missing an NCAA tournament bid, but Marin has still racked up quite a few accolades this year.
Before He Was a Head Coach: Martin is an East St. Louis native who, like Matt Painter, is a member of the Gene Keady coaching tree. He was a star for Keady in the early-1990s (they won conference titles his junior and senior seasons), then joined Keady's staff after a short pro career.
Ties to the Midwest: Grew up in EStL, played and coached at Purdue, now coaches at SMS. Those are some strong ties.
Ties to Missouri: He has major St. Louis ties and coaches two and a half hours south of Columbia. Aside from an actual Mizzou degree, these are about the strongest ties you can ask for.
Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job? Possibly. He's from the area, and the only threat would be if/when Matt Painter leaves Purdue.
Can He Recruit? He was credited for a lot of Painter's recruiting success with the 2007 Purdue class that included JaJuan Johnson, which is fine, but recruiting as an assistant and a head man are two different things. Just ask Quin Snyder, who did a lot of the legwork in bringing the Carlos Boozers of the world to Duke but didn't exactly rake in the McD's AA's at Mizzou. He supposedly has strong AAU ties, but there would be a leap of faith involved here; in Springfield, he has signed ten players -- five had no Rivals.com rating, three were 2-star recruits, and two (both in 2011) are 3-star kids. A good portion of SMS' stars this year were not Martin recruits. There is potential here, but it hasn't been met yet, and since "He's a great recruiter!" is the major reason people use for preferring him, this is a red flag.
This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): PF Christian Kirk (***, 6'7, Springfield Kickapoo -- committed, not signed), PG Dorrian Williams (***, 6'1, 170, Oklahoma City -- committed, not signed), PF Andrew Wilson (NR, 6'7, 195, Tulsa -- committed, not signed), PG Wesley Washpun (***, 6'1, 170, Cedar Rapids, IA -- considering SMS, North Dakota State, South Dakota State), SG LeAntwan Luckett (****, 6'5, 185, Ridgeland, MS -- potentially going JUCO, considering SMS, Colorado, Clemson), SG Josh Richardson (***, 6'5, 180, Edmond, OK -- considering SMS, Georgia Tech, Providence, was being considered by Mike Anderson), SF Andrew Wilson (NR, 6'6, 200, Tulsa -- considering SMS, ORU, Tulsa).
Missouri State's Ken Pomeroy Stats
We'll ignore Martin's first year and focus just on the last two.
MSU's Two-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings
|MSU Offense||MSU Defense|
|Off. Reb. %||155.5
Statistical Tendencies: The Bears have been quite a stellar offensive team the last couple of years, controlling the ball and taking good shots. They don't force any turnovers to speak of, and they allow too many good shots, but if the opponent misses, SMS is almost certainly grabbing the defensive rebound. (This is another anti-Anderson style in a lot of ways.) Comparing SMS' Def. eFG% rankings to their Def. A/FGM rankings, one sees a team that doesn't allow you to pass for an open shot, but potentially allows you to drive and create in one-on-one situations.
Would He Come Here? I have to figure he would accept very quickly. And let's be honest -- with as much as SMS fans tend to hate Missouri, stealing their coach would be an even better way of tweaking them than continuing to call them "SMS."
Thoughts: I just don't know. Martin certainly has a good offensive background, and his recruiting wins under Painter were impressive, but ... only three years of head coaching experience is a red flag (of course, quite a few other candidates only have two), as is the fact that he's succeeding mostly with Barry Hinson's players. I know Mike Alden complimented him recently, and I assume he's a candidate, but really, I don't consider him much better than Scott Sutton at this point. He might have the highest ceiling of any of the mid-major coaches we've looked at so far, but he's also proven the least. There would be a leap of faith.
Of course, all coaching hires are leaps of faith, so what am I talking about...