Before we get into the basketball stuff, I think we should pay homage to how inspirational Cuonzo Martin is. Yesterday’s Zoom press conference got the Missouri head coach talking about his experiences touring the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum: from Enslavement to Mass Incarceration before the Tigers’ game against Auburn this past week.
Reading Kortay’s piece, and Dave Matter’s, as well as Souichi Terada’s, they all wrote about Martin, the man. Remove what you think about Cuonzo Martin the basketball coach and you’re confronted again with the tremendous person Martin is. In a profession filled with people like Will Wade and Bill Self, Martin is uncompromisingly a good man, perhaps to his own detriment.
But Martin approaches his job differently than the norm. While he does care about wins and losses, his life experiences don’t allow the wins and losses to consume him. He views his job as helping young men. So while some coaches would probably be texting recruits and crushing game film, Martin was engulfing his crew with a harsh history lesson:
“It’s amazing how you sit back and talk to the guys after and the players say, ‘I didn’t know that. I had no clue about that,’” Martin added. “But it’s American history, and they had no clue about it. They’re taught American history in schools. That is a part of American history. It was really tough for me walking through there because oftentimes when you come from areas like me coming from East St. Louis you get information from your grandparents and it’s passed down from what they experienced moving from the South to Midwest, or wherever you come from. … I’ve never experienced any of that. I’ve had snippets in certain locations but just to go in that facility everybody was speechless. Normally after those events we’ll get together as a team at night and say, ‘Guys, what did you think about this?’ I had nothing in me to speak about it.
But Martin understands the business as well. He just doesn’t allow it to consume him.
“That’s part of it. So I don’t worry about it, me losing a job. I got a great wife. God blessed me with beautiful children. I’m winning the game. I’m not a guy that spends a lot of money. I got enough money to live the rest of my life. It’s not like I have a lot. I don’t need all that. As long as I got the people around me and family to love I’m good.
“You got to understand, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma at 26 years old. They didn’t think I was going to make it. I came from East St. Louis. I’ve seen humble beginnings. God trained me with less, so I know how to survive. So if you talk about someone losing a job, you can do what you’ve got to do, but this university will be here when I’m dead and gone. I’m going to a heavenly life while I’m on this earth. I’m not waiting to get to Heaven to live in Heaven. I’m living it right now. It might not look like it because I’ve got a scowl all the time, but I’m enjoying life. Best believe that. As long as my family is healthy and we’re happy, I’m winning the game. I don’t care what the scoreboard says.”
Peace of mind. If anything, Martin’s ability to compartmentalize what does and doesn’t matter makes him a great fit at Missouri. It’s a job where the program runs second in priority to a Football program with moderate success over the years. While Mizzou Football is raising a hundred million dollars for a new practice facility, the basketball program has been mired in mediocrity for years and the expectations are for Martin to fix it. Indicators so far this year say he might just be the right guy.
So let’s get another win today and keep this train going.
Missouri vs TCU today:
TIME: 1:00 p.m. CT
DATE: Saturday, January 30, 2021
LOCATION: Mizzou Arena; Columbia, MO
STREAM: Watch ESPN
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College Basketball GameDay, Jan 30
|9 Alabama||24 Oklahoma||11:00 AM||ESPN|
|10 Texas Tech||LSU||1:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Florida||11 West Virginia||1:00 PM||ESPN|
|TCU||12 Missouri||1:00 PM||ESPNU|
|14 Wisconsin||Penn State||2:00 PM||BTN|
|3 Villanova||Seton Hall||2:30 PM||FOX|
|Auburn||2 Baylor||3:00 PM||ESPN|
|16 Florida State||Georgia Tech||3:00 PM||ACCN|
|8 Virginia||20 Va Tech||5:00 PM||ACCN|
|15 Kansas||18 Tennessee||5:00 PM||ESPN|
|Oregon State||23 UCLA||6:00 PM||PAC12|
|21 Minnesota||Purdue||6:30 PM||BTN|
|1 Gonzaga||Pepperdine||7:00 PM||ESPN|
|17 Creighton||DePaul||7:00 PM||CBSSN|
|Boston College||25 Louisville||PPD|
|SEC||Texas A&M||Kansas State||11:00 AM||ESPNU|
|Arkansas||Oklahoma State||3:00 PM||ESPN2|
|Ole Miss||Georgia||5:00 PM||SECN|
|Iowa State||Mississippi State||5:00 PM||ESPN2|
|South Carolina||Vanderbilt||7:30 PM||SECN|
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