John Stull doing stuff in the gym.
Remember John Stull? 2006 football signee from Rock Bridge? Arrested with a bunch of drugs and kicked off the team a couple of years later? Dave Matter caught up with him for one hell of a Where Are They Now piece. Well done, Dave.
Hudson hired him full-time in 2012. But their bond transcended the gym. Hudson brought Stull into his family, took him to church and served as a de-facto sponsor. When temptations to party with the old crowd came up, Stull called Hudson for support. Stull stopped attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings when he left prison but has stayed sober. He’s since purged the names and numbers of old friends.
In the gym, he found his purpose.
"I don’t want to call it a selfish endeavor, but now I can channel that energy and dedication and work ethic to help other people develop themselves," he said. "That gives me a lot of satisfaction today and self worth."
In February 2014, Stull received a letter from the state parole board saying he’d completed his sentence. That day, Hudson and Stull walked out of their downtown gym and took the letter into an alley.
"We burned it," Hudson said. "We said a prayer, we cried a little bit, and we moved on. John smashed it with a foot. He said, ‘I’m never looking back.’"
Redemption stories are wonderful reads.
A different kind of redemption
The basketball articles keep flowing in.
"When you go into the offseason and you look at, ‘This is what we’ve got to get. This is what we need,’ now I think you see the roster that we have," Fulford said. "You’ve got Martavian Payne, who’s a playmaker. He’s a 6-2, physical combo. He can play the 1, he can play the 2, you can put him at the 3, which makes Namon better, which makes Wes better, which makes Tramaine better, because now he’s got to adjust to playing those different guys.
"And you bring in K.J." Walton, "who’s a 6-4 or 6-5, physical, really, really athletic wing who also makes other guys better, can space the floor, and then you bring in Terrence" Phillips, "who is different than Wes. He’s different than Tramaine. Tramaine and Wes are more scorers. Terrence is more of a distributor but gets two feet in the paint whenever he wants to get two feet in the paint.
On Mizzou's incoming group of newcomers for the 2015-16 season:
"I really do like our recruiting class. I guess very few coaches ever come on here and say they didn't like their recruiting class, but these guys have really brought an energy level to our program, and an exuberance. They are guys that are in the gym all the time. And it's a good mix of guys. Terrence Phillips is a point guard that has just an unbelievable amount of energy. Cullen VanLeer is a guy who can really shoot the basketball. Martavian Payne is a junior college player that is kind of a combo-type guard. Kevin Puryear is from Kansas City, Blue Springs South, and won a state championship. He's a rugged, three or four-type of player. K.J. Walton, from Indianapolis, who we recruited and signed pretty late. We knew he was a good player, but he's probably better than I thought he was. And talking Russ Woods, I think he will add something on the inside. I like the group. I think they'll bring something to our team. Even though we are still young, I think they'll bring an energy level that will help us."
On coaching style and what will work best for next season's Mizzou squad:
"I think this year's team won't be really big. So I think we'll play a little bit more spread. I think it remains to be seen. We have guys that, I think, can get the ball to the basket a little better than a year ago. We have five freshmen now who are sophomores who, I don't think it's any big secret, took their lumps last year. I think they learned a lot. I think they'll be a great help for us. Defensively, we'll be similar. We may change some things up a little bit, but I think the biggest change for us will have to be the ability to play a little smaller than maybe we did a year ago."
PM.com: For you personally, what needs to improve from freshman year to sophomore year?
NW: "I shot the ball pretty well, so that's good. Toward the end of the season I got a little bit more confident. What I need to work on and what I've been working on is getting to the hole. Even if I don't finish, right now, I know I'm there. At first I couldn't even get to the hole, now I'm working on finishing past a second defender. I'm getting a lot better at it. I might not see the results right now because, like I said, we're so tired after workouts and weights, but it's getting there."
Hey, I know that guy
JH: There will be some tough personnel losses to deal with (Williams, Peel, Lester, Fairbanks), but the Tigers will return most of their key pieces in 2016. Am I crazy to think that maybe the Tigers nearly arrived a year early in 2015 and 2016 might be more "their year?"
TR: That’s not crazy at all. Many fans would agree. Offensively the Tigers will likely return most of the most productive members of the lineup in Bond, Howard, Harris, Benes, and others. The hard part will be filling in the rotation after Houck and McClain, and finding a closer to replace Williams.
More baseball (i.e. more Tanner Houck love)
MUTIGERS.COM: Mizzou's Houck Earns Third Freshman All-America Honor
MUTIGERS.COM: Howard, Houck Continue to Shine for Team USA