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With or without Jontay Porter, Cuonzo Martin wants to stretch the floor with his bigs

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

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

Missouri’s Cuonzo Martin met with media on Thursday to fill folks in on the latest going on in the offseason. Some tidbits:

Jontay Porter is training for the draft in Chicago and taking classes online.

“He has always been a good student, but he is really training to get ready,” Martin said. “Biggest thing is putting his best foot forward so when it’s time to showcase he is ready.”

There are dates that every underclassman who is testing the NBA waters must know. The next date is April 27, when players are invited to the NBA draft combine, Martin said.

Whether Porter receives an invite will give some insight into where he stands among prospects.

“If you get invited to Chicago, that means you are still in the ballpark,” Martin said. “If you don’t, it doesn’t mean you won’t get drafted.”

Jeremiah Tilmon is ... honing his 3-point shot?

In addition to recruits Javon Pickett, K.J. Santos (“athletic, nice frame, can do a lot of different things,” Martin said) and point guard Xavier Pinson (“he’s the guy that can make plays off the dribble, loves to pass the ball; I think he’s a natural at that position”), the coach is seeing improvement from his current players, namely Jeremiah Tilmon, who is said to be shooting 1,000 3-pointers each day.

“I don’t know if that’ll become who he is as a basketball player,” the coach said of the forward’s deep shooting. “He’s so strong, he’s physical and he’s really improved around the rim in his workouts. Once you go into that second season, even into the summertime, you see things differently because you’ve been through it. It slows down somewhat.”

Oh yeah, and Mitchell Smith is, too.

Mitchell Smith sat out last season after redshirting while he recovered from an ACL tear and Martin has been impressed with his play. He has added 20 to 25 pounds of muscle the past season and even guarded the point guard spot during some workouts.

Martin said Smith has also showed an ability to hit threes.

“I was surprised by his level of toughness,” Martin said. “He doesn’t back down from challenges.”

Martin wants Mizzou to become Villanova.

Martin said a more versatile Tilmon is just part of the changes he envisions for the 2018-2019 squad. He described a team that will spread the floor with multiple ball-handlers and field four to five players at any given time who can knock down perimeter shots.

The comparison Martin gave for his vision? The defending national champion, Villanova.

“I think you look at that program, the ability to have multiple playmakers on the floor, decision-makers, guys that can make shots, guys that can get to the rim, I think if you’re able to do those things and defend the way they defend, you have a chance to be a successful program,” Martin said.

Yesterday at Rock M

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