Tuesday was a DAY, y’all….
First of all, those of you that read my sometimes very long writings here know that I am basically the President of the Cuonzo Martin Fan Club. Have been since the start. So when he was let go — yes, I understand why... you have to win — I was devastated. And I hoped that the next leader of Mizzou Hoops would be similar to the type of man we have all known Zo to be, thereby not making me rethink my season tix purchase.
And I know it’s early in his tenure — hell, he literally just got started today (I wrote this Tuesday night) — but it sure seems like we got a good one. I was magically able to attend the press conference in its entirety and I walked away so impressed. True, we’ll have to wait and see how the roster comes together, but I am certainly hopeful.
Gold looks good on ya, Coach. pic.twitter.com/ohd6ZUBBrb— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) March 22, 2022
Moving on to that first order of business — besides hiring a kick ass assistant staff, that is — is talking with the team and convincing some of the guys to stick around.
You likely saw it on this very site, but both Javon Pickett and Trevon Brazile entered their names in the portal. You guys, I know it’s sad, but the important thing to remember here is that this didn’t suddenly happen ON THE DAY HE STARTED WORK. They weren’t like, ‘Screw you, coach. I’m outta here.’ It takes a bit to get it all processed, so these decisions were made before Coach Gates arrived. It also doesn’t mean he can’t talk with recently departed Anton Brookshire or recently released Aidan Shaw and get them back on board. While some are maybe more likely to listen and come back than others (link goes to Ben Arnet tweet), it’s definitely worth a convo. As for what he talked with the current players about as he met them this morning, he said:
“I just allowed them to see who I was as a person, as a man, as a head coach here. It’s sometimes territorial or even tough to look at because I’m a coach who’s coming from somewhere else. We’re in transition. When young people go through transition, you’ve got to protect their hearts. Desiree, you protected their hearts in that transition, and I appreciate that.
“They were receptive. I told them my vision, my plans, the core values that I’ve listed to you guys today, but more importantly, I wanted them to ask me questions. I wanted those guys to be able to control the environment. Because too often as adults, we don’t listen to young people in those traumatic stages. Trauma for anybody, we have to pay attention, too. We have to listen. We have to open our hearts, open our ears, and I just wanted to listen. So I told them my background, where I’m from. I even cracked a joke, and they all laughed. I said, ‘You guys Googled me, didn’t you?’ And they all did. So it was fun and it was exciting.”
Along with current players on the roster, whom he spoke with Tuesday morning, he’ll also undoubtedly touch base with the lone remaining 2022 Mizzou commit, East St Louis Flyer Christan Jones. Here’s some recent stuff on him, by the way.
Illinois AP Class 3A All State Team pic.twitter.com/nDYk8aamkm— ILLHoopsScoops (@ILLHoopsScoops) March 10, 2022
The expectations are high for a men’s hoops coach at Mizzou, but Coach Gates is ready.
“Guys, I’m gonna be measured. I know the business and profession I’m in. I realize that. I am not running from it. I’m here to tussle with it. I’m here to fight against our opponents. Not just the SEC but in the country. I understand that. I understand expectations, because my success can open doors for other people. I understand that. So the word is not just ‘national championship.’ It’s not just an SEC championship. It’s also to watch our kids walk across the stage. That’s what it’s also about. So a win may not be visible on ESPN, and a sports ticker, but wins come in different ways, opportunities that we get. I want to see kids graduate, walk across the stage. That’s also a win. I want to see our institution be nationally recognized as an athletic department, sport among sport. I’m here because I know it’s possible.”
One last thing, just because I LOVE this line:
“YOU MAY NOT HAVE CHOSEN ME. BUT I CHOOSE YOU.”
On to the links!
A note from our Slack channel, courtesy of Josh, which made me laugh too hard:
The whole of Mizzou Nation is watching, starry-eyed as Dennis Gates gives his introductory remarks. Meanwhile, Nate Edwards sits in a dark room, refreshing the football roster page, waiting for a depth corner to disappear
Yesterday at Rock M
- Josh wrote about the official hiring news.
- Sam wrote about raising the bar at Missouri.
- Matt wrote about Trevon Brazile entering the transfer portal [come backkkkkkkk]
- Sam wrote about Javon Pickett entering the transfer portal [wipes tear]
More Links (there’s so, so many):
- From PowerMizzou’s Mitchell Forde, here’s a 2022 Unofficial football scholarship chart
- For your listening ears, listen to Hangin with Mookie Cooper, Episode 8 and the Touchdown Luther Burden Show, Episode 3 (PowerMizzou)
- From the KC Star’s Lila Bromberg, Eliah Drinkwitz reflects on spring football game, next steps for Missouri Tigers
- Columbia Missourian: Joy Mazur wrote, State resolution would honor former MU coach Gary Pinkel. Kenny Van Doren wrote, MU cornerback Reeves enters transfer portal, as well as Drinkwitz notes strengths, weaknesses from MU Spring Game.
- New commit? Welcome, Jelani!
Men’s Hoops: AKA The Main Event
- It IS a thing of beauty, Coach Gates!
Taking it all in. It's a beauty. pic.twitter.com/KyoN9GQ4NB— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) March 22, 2022
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Five thoughts on new Mizzou coach Dennis Gates (Matter). With lofty goals in mind, Dennis Gates delivers impassioned pitch to restless Mizzou fans (Matter). Gates sounds ready to transform Mizzou basketball, but he needs help (Gordo). PHOTOS! (Colter Peterson). VIDEO: Mizzou AD Desiree Reed-Francois shares why she hired basketball coach Dennis Gates (Hochman)
- Columbia Missourian: Gates confident ahead of role as new MU men’s basketball coach (Kristensen). How Gates plans to use the past to help build the future (Matt Brolley).
- PowerMizzou: Why Gates was the man for the job (Forde). Gates is ready for his latest renovation project (DeArmond). For subscribers, Some thoughts from day one with Gates (DeArmond).
- Columbia Tribune: What new Mizzou basketball coach Dennis Gates said about expectations, NIL and more (Gabriela Velasquez). New Mizzou coach Dennis Gates’ former basketball bosses say he ‘checks all the boxes’ (Kwiecinski).
- KC Star: Dennis Gates checks all the boxes, but can he deliver a national title to Old Mizzou? (Toriano Porter). How Mizzou’s AD landed on Dennis Gates as right coach to win trophies for Tigers (Lila Bromberg). Dennis Gates seems a fine hire for Mizzou, but let’s put brakes on national-title talk (Vahe Gregorian). ‘Born to coach’: Longtime colleague of Dennis Gates shares what he could bring to Mizzou (Bromberg).
- Official Hire news: PowerMizzou (Forde). Kansas City Star (Bromberg). Columbia Missourian (Anthony Kristensen). Columbia Tribune (Chris Kwiecinski). Saturday Down South (Adam Spencer).
- Check out some cool pics from MUTigers.com.
- Transfer news: Gabe DeArmond (PowerMizzou). Dave Matter (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Lila Bromberg (KC Star). Anthony Kristensen (Missourian). Keith Farner (Saturday Down South). Chris Kwiecinski (Columbia Tribune).
- Words from a couple former Gates players who happen to be in a special place called the NBA, as well as a name you’d likely recognize— we LOVE to see it:
The man's words speak for themself. pic.twitter.com/dfZwNccYRh— Mizzou Hoops (@MizzouHoops) March 22, 2022
- Love this as well. Man is a walking quote. Friend of the Site Blake Lovell was RIGHT, I love this guy!
Dennis Gates, scoring some extra points with us locals, showing reverence for the #Mizzou legend Norm Stewart who recruited Gates out of high school years ago.— Ben Arnet (@BenArnetKOMU) March 22, 2022
"The seed of how special Missouri was at that time was planted..."
- Interesting tweet from Matter here on the status of the SEC coaches:
Miss St: New Mexico St— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) March 22, 2022
Missouri: Cleveland St
South Carolina: Chattanooga
Tennessee: Texas (fired)
Texas A&M: Virginia Tech
Vanderbilt: Memphis Grizzlies assistant
Women’s Hoops: YIKES
- From PowerMizzou’s Michael Howie: Tiger women face questions after season fizzles out
- From the KC Star’s Lila Bromberg: Mizzou women’s basketball standout Aijha Blackwell to enter transfer portal
- From the Missourian’s Nate Marcus: Blackwell plans to enter the transfer portal
- And... it’s not over. At about 10pm on Tuesday night, another shoe dropped. This time, it was LaDazhia Williams. The senior will take her Covid year elsewhere. Oh... and we might not be done yet. [sadly sings TSwift’s ‘this is why we can’t have nice things’]
Source confirms Williams is in the Portal as well https://t.co/XCmHC2ROaD— Ben Arnet (@BenArnetKOMU) March 23, 2022
- Please do keep this in mind. From Rock M’s own Lauren Rosenberg:
I was holding back on saying something but decided it’s time.— Lauren Rosenberg says Free Brittney Griner ️ ✡️ (@lrosenberg101) March 23, 2022
Players enter the transfer portal for so many reasons that we don’t know about. I don’t care if the player is averaging over a point per game or 20.
Every single person, non athletes included, deserve to be happy.
- Well, at least they’ll have Averi Kroenke on board? They’ll need her...
Other Mizzou Sports
- It should come as no surprise that our National Champion (!!!) Keegan O’Toole was named USA Wrestling’s Athlete of the Week! While you’re marveling over his skill, also please vote for him for the Hodge Trophy!
- The Missourian’s Missouri Nick Noll’s men’s swim and dive heads to NCAA Championships. Danny Kovac, Jack Dahlgren, Ben Patton and diver Takuto Endo will represent the No. 14 team in individual events at the NCAA Championships on Wednesday through Saturday in Atlanta. They’ll also be a part of relays, as they’re eligible for the in the 200, 400, and 800 yard free relays, as well as the 200 and 400 medley relays.
- Chris Blake (Missourian) recapped the weekend in SEC Softball, saying Kentucky and Alabama traded blows.
- The no. 21/19 Mizzou Softball team cancels its Wednesday match up against Western Illinois due to a forecast of inclement weather (MUTigers.com). STOP IT, MOTHER NATURE. I’M NOT KIDDING!
- Your no. 11 Mizzou Gymnastics team is headed to Raleigh for their NCAA regional!
- And in case you’ve forgotten how the weekend went...
- Alex Honnold: Lover of extra base hits. And we love her for it!
Mizzou in the Pros
will be continued in the Friday links this week... there was too much Tuesday news, y’all...
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