Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin did about as good a job as you’ll ever see of remodeling a basketball roster in a single offseason. Granted, the Porter family helped, but even after back-to-back losses, the Tigers have still gone from 8-24 and outside the KenPom top 150 to 13-7 and inside the top 50 in a single year ... and while getting a total of two minutes from Michael Porter Jr., no less.
Still, he obviously didn’t have time to patch every hole. Mizzou’s ball-handling issues have been costly this season, from the early loss to WVU to the aforementioned back-to-back Ls against Texas A&M and Auburn.
- Assists: A&M/Auburn 30, Mizzou 20
- Steals: A&M/Auburn 13, Mizzou 6
- Turnovers: Mizzou 28, A&M/Auburn 12
On offense, Mizzou is 286th in Division I in turnover rate; on defense, 304th. The Tigers are shooting infinitely better than their opponents on average, but their opponents are getting more possessions with potential shots. Kassius Robertson is playing more minutes at point again, and as Martin himself said, about both Robertson’s role and the nonexistent backcourt depth, “It is what it is right now.”
But while we’re in no way in “wait till next year” mode ... what happens next year, when Robertson’s gone?
Thanks in part to the fact that there were two freshman point guards on the roster — Blake Harris and C.J. Roberts have both since transferred — Mizzou didn’t sign a point in the early signing period. With the late signing period approaching, Martin and his staff are testing the transfer waters.
Maybe another graduate transfer opportunity will open up, but evidently Mizzou is also giving a good, long look at Gillette College point guard Trent Williams. The 6’3 guard got minimal interest out of high school but has taken to the PG position at Gillette; he is currently averaging 14.7 points (on 58 percent shooting, 44 percent from 3-point range), 8.5 assists, and 6.5 rebounds for the up-tempo Pronghorns.
Some Williams highlights:
In the link above, Williams told PowerMizzou he patterns his game after Russell Westbrook — more creator than distributor. It doesn’t take long to at least see potential in that regard, at least.
Williams’ is probably not the last upperclassman name we see mentioned in this upcoming recruiting period. Ball-handling is the biggest issue for this current team, and it is basically the one thing that will hold back some otherwise impressive offseason hype for 2018-19 as well. We’ll see how it gets addressed.
- Today’s must-read: The Missourian’s awesome Reed Nikko profile.
- What did we say after the Mizzou men lost to Texas A&M last weekend? “Sometimes the shots don’t go in”? Well, the 11th-ranked Mizzou Women shot 28 percent at No. 20 Georgia last night and fell, 62-50. Sophie Cunningham and Jordan Frericks scored 31 points on 11-for-29 shooting (38 percent); the rest of the team: 19 points on 5-for-29 17 percent). Ew. Sometimes the shots don’t go in.
- Mizzou is attempting to bring some large human beings to campus late in the 2018 recruiting process. Barry Odom and company are attempting to get in on three-star Georgia offensive lineman Hamilton Hall, and recent JUCO OL offer Xavier Delgado is visiting this weekend.
- Oh yeah, and as expected, it’s Mizzou vs. Oklahoma for Michael Thompson.
- Mizzou Gymnastics took down a top-10 Arkansas team last week. Now they get to try to top a top-10 Alabama team.
- Mizzou Track & Field is taking on the Big Apple this weekend.