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Offseason Updates and a Look to the Future of Mizzou Hoops

Cuonzo Martin met with media to answer questions regarding the end of this year’s campaign and a look into the program’s future

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri vs Arkansas Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri basketballs’ 2020-2021 campaign certainly came to a screeching halt in the latter part this year’s season, and it dispassionately ended just one round into March. With an unprecedented offseason looming, now more than ever coach Martin is optimistic for the future of Tiger Hoops.

Out of a total of 13 roster spots available, Missouri has currently filled 11, and according to Head Coach Cuonzo Martin, the team is open to only adding one more player, similar to the 12 man team we saw this past year. “It’s certainly on the table to not fill 13,” Martin said. “You never really play 13 guys, but you need enough to practice effectively.”

With handful of Tigers leaving this offseason, it means it is time to lock in and look to reconstruct the program. Mark Smith, Xavier Pinson, Torrence Watson, Parker Braun, Ed Chang and Drew Buggs all elected to enter the transfer portal following the conclusion of this year’s season. Martin expressed his sorrow to see them go, but ultimately said he was happy to see his guys go somewhere where they’ll get a chance to make an impact. “It doesn’t bother me because [they] have a right to,” Martin said.

You probably know the old adage, when one door closes another one opens — well, 6 doors just opened. “I like the three {transfer] guys that are coming to our program,” Martin explained. Missouri has gained three transfers thus far: DaJuan Gordon (pronounced DAY-Schwann) from Kansas State, Amari Davis from Wisconsin-Green Bay, and Jarron “Boogie” Coleman from Ball State. All three are players Martin has expressed interest in for their ability to score. “Anytime you can add scoring, you wanna add that,” Martin explained. “When you score the ball and can get to the rim, you can play. All three of those guys will help us tremendously.”

With so many new faces filing into the program, it can seem a bit un-nerving at first, though Martin has a high level of faith in what his new team will be able to bring to the table. “DaJuan is a really athletic, gifted guard who brings a high level of passion and intensity to the court every single day,” Martin said in an interview last week.

One area that Martin indicated will need improving is beyond the perimeter. Missouri was a streaky team shooting the deep ball this past year, but their two most dangerous threats (Pinson and D. Smith) are no longer on the roster. This leaves a pretty large gap to fill. Martin expressed that he thinks his two best options from deep will be incoming freshman Anton Brookshire, and transfer Jarron Coleman. In addition to the two of them, it’s really up in the air. “We gotta get Kobe Brown’s three point percentage up,” Martin mentioned. Brown has shot an okay 25% from three his past two seasons with the Tigers. “That’s the area will continue to work on and get better,” Martin said.

Now on to some “old” news. Graduates Dru Smith, Jeremiah Tilmon and Mitchell Smith have all allegedly picked up agents since the start of the offseason, meaning it’s very unlikely we’ll see them wearing a collegiate uniform ever again. “I think that those guys will do very well,” said Martin with confidence. Coach went one step further to talk about Mitch, saying he thinks his game will translate well somewhere overseas with his size and that, with enough commitment, he may even take things one step further. “I think if he can stick with it, if he can continue to grow, it wouldn’t shock me if you see him playing at the highest level.”