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Jim Sterk on Cuonzo Martin: “Both of us are 'no bulls***' kinda guys”

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

We’ve already laid out just about everything you needed to absorb from Cuonzo Martin’s Mizzou introduction yesterday, but I assume many of you are like me and wish to continue absorbing information well after saturation point. So let’s see what others are saying. What pieces of his speech resonated the most?

“Feels like home”

Post-Dispatch: Martin on Mizzou: 'It just feels like home'

The Trib: Cuonzo Martin finds home at MU

KC Star: It’s ‘a special day’ for Cuonzo Martin as he’s introduced as MU’s basketball coach

“Last team standing”

Post-Dispatch: Martin's goal for Mizzou: 'Be the last team standing one day'

This is some serious money

The Trib: Martin becomes highest-paid hoops coach in MU history

Post-Dispatch: Martin guaranteed $21 million over seven years

KC Star: Mizzou, Cuonzo Martin’s marriage ironclad during first four years

There’s virtually no escape for either side during the first four years.

Contractually, the Tigers can’t fire Martin, who was hired Wednesday and formally introduced Monday during a press conference at Mizzou Arena, without cause until May 1, 2020.

That late-spring timing all but ensures Mizzou will ride with Martin through at least 2020-21, especially since he’s owed a $6 million buyout from May 1, 2020, until April 30, 2021. [...]

Martin’s contractual commitment is equally substantial.

If he leaves before April 30, 2018, Martin would owe Missouri a lump sum of $10.5 million.

PowerMizzou: Martin cashes in with new deal

The players react

KC Star: Missouri basketball players ‘really excited’ about hiring of Cuonzo Martin

“They’re wonderful young men,” Martin said. “I talked to them about an hour ago, and they’re obviously great guys. … The biggest key is, if losing basketball games — if that’s the worst thing they’ll go through in life — then they’ll live a great life.”

Said Puryear: “I went out to Chipotle and this guy asked, like, how do you feel about your new coach? I’m really excited about it. … I’m excited about the turnaround and I feel it.”

PowerMizzou: Players react to Martin hiring

Phillips was recruited by Martin when he was at California and said that he thought Martin and his staff were “unbelievable” when he dealt with them during the recruiting process.

The Tigers point guard said he thinks him and Martin will gel quickly since Martin’s coaching reflects the kind of player he tries to be.

The Missourian: The Cuonzo Martin era begins at Missouri

"Man, we know he's going to push us," junior guard Jordan Barnett said after the news conference. "We know we're going to work really hard, and obviously that's not a problem."

For Barnett, it means a little more to him that Martin is a St. Louis guy. The rising senior said being from the same area makes Martin more relatable and the transition easier.

“No bulls***”

"Ryan White joked that it was speed dating with the two of us talking on the phone because both of us are kind of 'no bullshit' kinda guys. We just kinda lay it out there. He told me what he thought, I told him what I thought -- that he was my No. 1 choice and that I wanted him to be the next coach here. And I think that helped us down the stretch."

Okay, yeah, I like this marriage.

It was just a press conference, and I’m pretty sure Kim Anderson won his, too. Hell, Frank Haith won his in a blowout. The liabilities we knew about with Cuonzo Martin — no idea about his long-term program building abilities, offenses that are sometimes hard to watch — are still liabilities.

Still ... A+ grades all around here. Everybody did a great job. And I guess there’s at least some comfort in knowing that Martin really was Sterk’s No. 1 choice. (Or at least, his No. 1 attainable choice.) Now Mizzou just has to keep winning headlines until there are games to play. And then the Tigers need to win those, too.


More Links:

  • As one might expect, J’den Cox was named a finalist for the Hodge Trophy, wrestling’s Heisman. Ben Askren — really, the only other competitor in the race for Mizzou’s Greatest Athlete at this point — won the Hodge twice, which makes for a fascinating addition to the Who Was Best? debate. Cox winning one Hodge to go with his three national titles (Askren had two) would probably give him the edge for sure, but this year’s list of finalists is loaded. Regardless, fans get a vote. Vote early, vote often.
  • Mizzou Gymnastics is going to the NCAA Regionals for the 27th time. The Tigers will head to Gainesville on April 1. Mizzou is the No. 3 seed in the region, behind SEC mates Florida and Georgia; the top two finishers from each region automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships in St. Louis.
  • T.J. Sikkema won the SEC’s freshman of the week award after earning two saves and striking out 10 batters in 5.1 innings in the sweep of Alabama. He is tied for the SEC lead with 46 strikeouts, and his ERA is a measly 0.33. This dude is ridiculous. And he’s a damn true freshman.
  • To our Rock M Recruiting guy, Ethan Triebsch: HUZZAH!