After one of the most stunning offseasons I can ever remember for a Mizzou team of any sport, Cuonzo Martin’s first Mizzou Hoops team officially takes the court to begin the 2017-18 campaign tomorrow night at Mizzou Arena.
Anticipation doesn’t automatically equal expectation, and I think I can safely say that while a lot of us are still struggling with the expectations part, this is the most anticipated Mizzou basketball season I can remember since ... 2003-04, I guess?
The 2009 and 2012 Elite Eight runs were both surprising; we knew the 2011-12 team had talent, but the coaching change from Mike Anderson to Frank Haith muddied the waters. The 2008-09 season, meanwhile, was completely out of nowhere. So yeah, you might have to go back 14 years to match this feeling.
Hopefully that’s all that matches with 2003-04. That team had drastic problems living up to expectations (as it turns out, having some semblance of defensive plan is important), but in part because of the building drama off the court, the desperation with which Mizzou fans were ready to see their preseason top-10 team in action that year is the best parallel I can find to this year’s anticipation.
With anticipation comes content. We’ve had a lot of good hoops stuff recently, and I hope you enjoyed it. Here are a couple of pieces from others that I’m enjoying at the moment:
The KC Star’s Aaron Reiss wrote a profile of basically Martin’s righthand man and most trusted advisor, director of player development Marco Harris. It’s tremendous.
“We’re built alike,” Harris says of he and Martin and the binding element that he believes exists between most people from his hometown. “ … I stay on my toes. Trust? I don’t trust a lot of people. I don’t think anybody does.”
If Martin asks for advice, he rarely does so overtly. He’ll toss “what do you think?” into a stream of conversation. Harris is perhaps the only friend he will ever call with the sole intention of hearing what they think. And Harris’ wife, Ramona, believes her husband often goes to Martin with his problems before he goes to her.
There has been plenty of talk about Missouri. Most of it has surrounded Porter Jr. and his younger brother Jontay. From coast to coast, people have heaped expectations on this young Missouri team which Martin will guide through his maiden voyage at Missouri. Martin has been asked about the expectations ad nauseam over that time.
“Not to sound negative, but I really don’t care. I really don’t,” he said. “If they’re consumed with what people are saying about them then they’re not making progress like they should. I don’t know that it really matters.”
- Senior Day at Ol’ Mizzou is almost here.
- Josh Heupel, Broyles Award nominee.
- Tennessee’s Butch Jones on Drew Lock: “He can make every single throw. He’s got a lively arm.“
- Tyler Howell: big guy, big heart.
- Bullet dodged: Mizzou Volleyball juuuuuuuust barely survived yesterday’s trip to South Carolina. The Tigers blew a 19-15 lead in the fourth set and a 14-9 lead in the fifth, dropping five match points before finally winning on the sixth one. Leketor Member-Meneh came off injured in the second set, as well, but returned. Next up: mighty Florida. That’ll probably bring an end to the five-match winning streak, but at least it survived last night.
- Shocker: Karissa Schweizer, SEC Runner of the Year. Mizzou Cross Country is all sorts of battle-tested as regionals approach.
- Signing Day: Mizzou Women’s Hoops signed Grace Berg (a six-footer and top-40 recruit), wihle Mizzou Gymnastics inked three, Mizzou Hoops should have K.J. Santos, Javon Pickett, and Torrence Watson all signed by the end of the week.
- Watch Lists Are Dumb Unless A Mizzou Player’s On Them: Sophie Cunningham, Cheryl Miller Award watch list.
- Mizzou Women’s Hoops, by the way, has enough healthy players for a full practice this year!
- At the Florida game, Mizzou honored some local officials who were instrumental in hurricane relief. Here’s more of their story:
- NEW PAPN! Talked with Richard Johnson about Mizzou-Florida and my attempts to not think about projecting forward with this Mizzou team just yet. (And then talked about a million non-Mizzou things.)