Culture change is something all coaches talk about when they take over a job, unless they’re an assistant hired to replace their former head coach or something, but culture change was the topic du jour for Jeff Gordon at the Men’s Basketball Media Availability from Monday:
[Kim] Anderson preached defense when he returned to his alma mater as head coach, but his teams seldom got after opponents. Middling programs (or worse) could come into Mizzou Arena and win games.
He tried to instill discipline, issuing suspension after suspension during his first year, but failed to restore order. He shied away from transfers and preached personnel continuity, but suffered wholesale defections.
He hoped to turn the corner once he finally had “his” players in place, but nothing changed in Year 3. So Martin is starting over, stressing mental toughness, physical conditioning, defensive tenacity and offensive adaptability.
If that means strapping on 15-pound weight vests for a whole practice, that’s what the Tigers will do. If that means seeking a tough road game against Utah to challenge the players with adversity, that is what the staff will do.
Culture change is typically something that takes time, but at least Martin has player buy-in from the vets who believe in Missouri basketball, and from the youngsters who want to put things back to where they belong.
Trent Shadid of SECCountry.com had a cool feature yesterday. Bret Bielema mentioned the possibility of doing an Arkansas/Missouri High School All-Star Game to stoke the rivalry between the two programs a bit... and this could be pretty cool:
It’s becoming common place for one of the top players from each of these states to sign with the flagship school in the other. An all-star game could give the fans a strong reason to go watch a preview of what is to come.
In 2017, Missouri fans could have seen how QB signee Powell stacks up against the best defensive players from the Show Me State. Arkansas fans could have had a chance to see incoming OL Clenin take on a loaded defensive line.
The previous year had the same potential. Arkansas fullback Hayden Johnson, from Columbia, Mo., started much of last season as a freshman. Little Rock native Damarea Crockett started at Missouri and rushed for 1,062 yards in 2016, a freshman school record. Those guys could’ve been on the same field for fans to see before arriving at college.
Shadid has potential rosters for the 2017 class which includes many top signees for both schools. This could also be a tool to help keep some of these in-state kids more invested in the rivalry and more likely to stay home, perhaps?
- Max Scherzer, 1 IP, 2 strikeouts, many grunts.
- Tod Palmer writes that SEC fans have warmed up to Mizzou, which, I think we can all agree to disagree to some extent:
“It took some time (for SEC fans) to warm up,” said Richard Grant, a lifelong SEC fan who now lives in Chicago and made the 660-mile trek to SEC Media Days. “They looked at it as a package deal. They got Texas A&M, which I think they really wanted, and I think Missouri was an addition that they had to have to keep an even balance.”
But back-to-back SEC Championship Game appearances provided credibility — “You just don’t sneak into Atlanta,” SEC Network college football analyst Marcus Spears said — which helped changed hearts and minds in SEC country.
Ringing endorsement from Richard. It’s clear, at least to me, that much of the SEC fandom is still skeptical about Missouri. But I also don’t care, like, AT ALL about this topic. There are still fans in the SEC who think Arkansas and South Carolina don’t belong, or fans who think TULANE would have been a better addition. But facts are Mizzou is an SEC member and they’ll keep collecting those checks. It is an interesting article so you should read it.
I do think another return trip to the SEC Championship game would be nice tho.
- ICYMI: our own Ethan Triebsch wrote up both the Vols and Vandy from yesterday’s SEC Media Days: Tennessee pushes back on hot seat rumors, Vandy is ready to make a move
- In a THIS IS SUPER COOL kinda way, Sophie Cunningham was invited to try out for the USA Women’s under-23 team.
Out of the 40 elite collegiate athletes invited, a 12-member team will be selected on Aug. 4. The team will represent the USA in an inaugural U23 Four Nations Tournament for college-aged women this summer. Players selected to the team will continue training at the Olympic Training Center through Aug. 7 before taking off to Tokyo. Athletes eligible for the squad must be U.S. citizens who are 23 years old or younger and currently are freshmen, sophomores or juniors in college.
Let’s wish Sophie the best of luck in Colorado Springs!
- Speaking of wishing luck, you can watch Michael Porter Jr tonight on the ESPYs as he’s up for Gatorade High School Male Athlete of the Year. Porter was already named the top athlete for basketball, but now he’s vying for the top position amongst all male athletes. BTW, he’s going to play basketball at Mizzou next year.
- Ben Fredrickson has six questions Mizzou Football needs to answer this fall.
- One day Bill Self will stop being asked this question... today is not this day: