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Alabama’s Avery Johnson on Cuonzo Martin and Mizzou: “That’s a team that’s looking to go worst to first.”

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

SEC basketball coaches took part in a teleconference yesterday morning. Quite a few were asked about Mizzou.

"That’s a team that’s looking to go worst to first," said Alabama coach Avery Johnson, who was impressed with Martin's ability to bring in strong talent in a short period of time and added that any influx of talent into the SEC will be welcomed.

"It's great for Missouri, great for the SEC, and it's going to continue to upgrade SEC basketball," he said. "The teams in our conference will be much stronger, and our strength of schedules will be very good."

(Translation: It’s about damn time Missouri started carrying its weight around here.)

Arkansas’ Mike Anderson shared thoughts about both Cuonzo Martin and Michael Porter Jr.

“I’m excited for Cuonzo,” said Arkansas’ Mike Anderson, Mizzou’s coach from 2006-11. “Timing is everything. He’s been able to put together a tremendous recruiting class. We always (say) coaching is sometimes overrated. You’ve got to have players.”

Martin has reconstructed Mizzou’s roster with five newcomers, headlined by 6-10 forward Michael Porter Jr., the country’s top-rated recruit and winner of multiple national player of the year awards. Mike Anderson was still coaching at Mizzou when the Porter family arrived in Columbia in 2010. Porter Jr., who played at Father Tolton High School before moving to Seattle for his senior year, was 12 at the time and starting sixth grade.

“I can remember when the kid was 6 feet (tall),” Anderson said. “He shot up like a cannon.”

Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin quickly addressed Jeremiah Tilmon’s MIP arrest as well.

“It’s a tough lesson for Jeremiah to learn, but we’ll continue to push forward and help him grow within it,” Martin said.

He declined to delve into specifics about any discussions with Tilmon, an East St. Louis (Ill.) graduate from Martin’s hometown.

“We have a lot of conversations with our guys and, for me, I don’t start having conversations when an incident takes place, if it takes place,” Martin said. “Luckily, I’ve been blessed. Everywhere I’ve been we’ve had successful young men on and off the court. But whatever we talk about, he knows what we talk about as a team and as a family. I talk to our guys about those things all the time.”

By the way, in case you want to see hoops assistant Chris Hollender in action, Mizzou Network mic’d him up at a recent practice.

More Links:

  • Cordova, Tenn., athlete Cam Jones released his top five yesterday. Mizzou made the cut, along with Indiana, Memphis, Mississippi State, and Tennessee. The home-state Vols are perhaps the favorite at the moment, though they are already up to 15 commits. The longer Jones waits, the less likely there will be a spot available for him there, I guess. (That, uh, isn’t a problem at Mizzou at the moment.)
  • Media training for Mizzou football players? Probably can’t hurt.