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Cuonzo Martin will get a chance to retain Missouri signee CJ Roberts

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“As a parent, I just wanna know that my son is gonna be in a great situation, that he’s gonna be taken care of, so I don’t have to worry about it.” 

CJ Roberts Twitter

With all the attention surrounding newly appointed head coach Cuonzo Martin and the developing possibility of the Porters returning to Columbia, I reached out to current Missouri signee CJ Roberts’ father, Craig, on Wednesday evening to discuss CJ’s mindset thus far.

Tramel Raggs: I’m sure it seems like everything is going a million miles an hour right now with the firing of Kim Anderson and the relatively quick hiring of Cuonzo Martin, but what are you and CJ’s thoughts thus far about staying committed to Missouri and the Coach Martin in general?

Craig Roberts: It’s a lot to digest, a lot of moving parts, all thrown at you at one time. I don’t know Coach Martin. I don’t know him personally. But I’ve heard good things about him. I’ve had a few coaches call me today and speak on his behalf.

I’ve yet to speak to him. Tony Benford, the former head coach of North Texas called and spoke highly of him. Ulric Maligi assistant coach at Texas A&M called and spoke very highly of him. Brian Burton an assistant at Lamar University just called and spoke very highly of him. As well as John Smith who’s at Incarnate Word. So those guys have called and told me that he’s a good coach and they think he’ll be good with and for my son. But again I have not spoken to him, so there are a few questions that I have.

How you’re planning to play, how you’re planning to use him, I know they are getting Mike Porter and it looks like his brother Jontay is gonna class up and be able to come play as well. So I wanna know how he envisions playing and how he’ll use CJ.

As a parent, I just wanna know that my son is gonna be in a great situation, that he’s gonna be taken care of, so I don’t have to worry about it.

Everybody jokes that I’m gonna move to Columbia. And I’m saying, “NO I’M NOT!” I plan to visit, but if I have to move to Columbia it ain’t good.

After our discussion, it appears Martin did indeed speak with Roberts.

TR: How surprised were you by the resignation/firing of Kim Anderson?

CR: I was shocked. I thought he had shown enough to get another year. I kinda felt like if he could get another year bring CJ in and maybe get a JUCO transfer or grad transfer big, I thought that might help them turn the corner. They were playing tough games, they were only losing by 3-5 points. They weren’t just getting beat down. They were playing people tough, he had the guys playing hard. The games were just turning on a possession here and there, it could have easily gone their way.

TR: What was the attraction to Missouri for you and CJ?

CR: I will be very honest with you, sir. During the recruiting process, Missouri was last on my list. All throughout the process, I was in favor of Georgia, Ole Miss, LSU, then Missouri. Missouri was the first visit and the only visit because they made it plain and clear that CJ was their guy. They were all in for him. They showed me and my family that you don’t have to worry about your son. Send your son here with us you don’t have to worry about him. You ain’t gotta stay up at night, you ain’t gotta worry about getting no crazy calls, we got it.


My Take:

The Roberts family is more than willing to give Cuonzo Martin and his staff an opportunity to retain CJ as a Missouri commit, but they will have to earn it. Craig made it very clear that his No. 1 concern is CJ being in good hands with a coach that he can trust.

The possible addition of Michael and Jontay Porter changes any potential recruiting pitch. Instead of trying to sell the idea of coming to Missouri to rebuild a struggling program, Coach Martin could now sell the opportunity to play with a future NBA lottery pick in Michael Porter

Mr. Roberts’ tone leads me to believe that he would be totally fine with CJ honoring his commitment to Missouri as long as the style and situation fit his son’s goals. It doesn’t appear that the Roberts family cares about CJ being the star of the team; at the same time, they don’t want to be looked at as a consolation prize or placed on the back burner now that the Porters are back in play.

This may sound crazy, but retaining CJ Roberts should be Missouri’s No. 1 priority. While adding the Porters would be an outstanding accomplishment, the fact of the matter is that Michael will likely only be here for one season. Roberts is a guy that can be built around for years to come.

The worst thing Missouri could do is place all of its eggs in the Porter basket and neglect the recruit that bought into the program before it was cool.