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Mizzou Basketball had an interesting 2018 to say the least

It was definitely an eventful 12 months.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Basketball Tipoff Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

It was an interesting year for Mizzou Basketball, as Cuonzo Martin continued his rebuild of the program all the while finding a way back into the NCAA tournament. Let’s take a quick look at some of the top stories this year for Mizzou Basketball:

Michael Porter Jr returns to the court at the end of the season

NCAA Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-Missouri vs Georgia Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be honest, it didn’t go like we’d hoped. It didn’t go as Michael wanted either, but he returned to the hardwood, wore a Mizzou uniform, and played hard despite not having any burst. Calling Porter rusty leaves short the version of MPJ we all watched for two games.

Despite Porter never showing his best self for Mizzou fans, Josh Matejka called his legacy secure, for simply helping rebirth the excitement for Hoops again. It was also well timed following an injury to Cullen VanLeer, and Jordan Barnett’s suspension following a DUI arrest. So while we never got to see Porter at his best, his pick to come back to Columbia and play for Missouri had an impact that will last for a while.

Cuonzo Martin returns Mizzou to the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Nashville Practice Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

When Michael Porter Jr was lost for most of the season, the personality of Cuonzo Martin had a chance to shine. He helped put together a terrific fun in the 2017-18 season and got Missouri back into the NCAA tournament.

The visit to the tournament was brief, the Tigers were depleted and the Florida State Seminoles proved to be the wrong matchup. Their eventual elite eight run maybe helped sooth the loss but making the tournament again is a hell of an accomplishment.

Mizzou turned it’s eyes toward recruiting, signing Xavier Pinson, Dru Smith, Mark Smith, and pursuing a combo forward. They were close with Blake Hinson, but he went to Ole Miss. The evidence was Mizzou was waiting a little on Jontay Porter, who was testing the NBA Draft waters.

Jontay Porter decided to return to Mizzou for his sophomore season

NCAA Basketball: SEC Basketball Tipoff Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The outlook in year 2 for Cuonzo Martin might have been a tougher one, then mood lifted when Jontay Porter announced he was coming back. With a sure fire 1st round NBA talent on the roster the outlook on the season got rosier in a hurry.

The summer was mostly quiet, then in the fall Missouri got a commitment from Mario McKinney, lost out on E.J. Liddell. And then flipped Tray Jackson from his initial pledge to Minnesota. It was mostly good news for a change.

Until Porter tore his ACL and was lost for the season

It was bad news, and completely changed the outlook for the upcoming season. But if there was a coach who would be prepared for dealing with the loss of a top player, it was Cuonzo Martin.

NCAA Basketball: Oral Roberts at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

But not all was lost, as Mark Smith was granted immediate eligibility

Smith was able to lead Missouri in scoring early before being overtaken by Jordan Geist late. After a slightly rocky start, Martin righted the ship and Missouri finished 2018 on a six game win streak.

We’ll see what 2019 holds in store for the Basketball Tigers.

What was your favorite story this year? Was it one of these above or something else? Let us know in the comments.