With the 2021-2022 Missouri Tigers basketball season fast approaching, Cuonzo Martin took some time to address the media via Zoom on Monday.
The biggest storyline heading into this season is just how many new faces will be wearing the black and gold at Mizzou Arena this year. After having just two new athletes on the team last year, Jordan Wilmore and Drew Buggs, the Tigers will have nine newcomers this year including transfers and freshmen.
With all these new faces, Martin has a lot to figure out about how his guys will gel together, and he’s gotten a chance to see his team in action recently through a couple of preseason scrimmages against Oklahoma State and Creighton.
“Starting out against Oklahoma State, it was slow for us because I mean, Oklahoma State pretty much has all their guys returning. Physical presences, get after you shot blockers, guys getting in the passing lanes… I thought it was beautiful, just to go inside, especially the first five or 10 minutes, to go against that so our guys can see what that feels like— especially younger guys,” Martin said about the benefit the scrimmages had for his team.
Other than acclimating some of his younger guys to the speed of the college game, Martin also thought the game brought some other positives. “I thought our guys made some good plays on both sides of the ball. [I] Thought we were aggressive getting to the paint shooting the ball, we didn’t shoot as well as the second game, but I thought we shot it well the first game.”
Another note from the scrimmages was that Kobe Brown will be getting some time running the point this year. Martin mentioned four players that will get their turn at handling the ball: Brown, transfer guard Boogie Coleman, freshman Anton Brookshire, and Brown’s freshman brother Kaleb.
With so much turnover the question of who will and won’t get playing time remains very up in the air, but Martin did mention that he sees this team having an eight-man rotation with the occasional 9th man, depending on the situation.
One thing Martin mentioned is he thinks will be a big strength of this team is their fluidity in transition. “We have so many moving parts and it’s tough to defend when we’re coming down and in transition you try to figure out who’s what and who does what… that’s not easy.”
Only time will tell what this new-look team will truly shape up to be, but with the season nearing, fans won’t have to wait much longer to finally see their Tigers take the floor at Mizzou Arena.