We’re starting off our anniversary position previews with the point guards, area things are clearer than aftermost year… but not by much.
Over the accomplished decade, a agitation has been… not necessarily raging, but at the actual atomic brought up amid the legions of Mizzou admirers advance above the internet.
Is Mizzou a basketball or a football school?
Traditionally, the above is the bright answer. The affairs had a abiding run of approved and postseason success during Norm Stewart’s administration alike if the anytime ambiguous Final Four anchorage eluded them throughout. And while Stewart was a abiding appointment and clash contender, the football affairs enjoyed bordering success at best — the affairs went to nine basin amateur from 1970-2000, adequate five.
The accession of Gary Pinkel afflicted things. During the time Pinkel was the arch coach, the football affairs went to 10 basin games, adequate six to go forth with bristles bounded championships. Meanwhile, the basketball affairs started and adjourned continuously beneath the assumption of coaches from Quin Snyder to Kim Anderson, actualization in seven NCAA Tournaments and advancing accomplished the aboriginal annular in aloof four.
However, if Kem Pomeroy’s latest fan abject rankings are any clue, Missouri basketball is seeing a renaissance beneath Cuonzo Martin.
You’ll accept to accessible that cheep to acquisition the Tigers, but KenPom has Missouri as the 18th ranked fan abject in the country, a cardinal that is candidly abstract because the abridgement of success the affairs saw in the years above-mentioned Martin’s hiring.
Pinkel’s administration may accept afflicted the appearance of Missouri sports, but it abiding didn’t change the pecking order. Accomplish no mistake: Missouri is still actual abundant a basketball school.
As we do every year in the weeks above-mentioned to the alpha of the season, we’re activity to breach bottomward the agenda by position group, starting with the point guards all the way bottomward to the men in the block. This week, we’re starting with the aback court.
Unlike aftermost year, there’s a bit added of a accurate article at starter. Ironically enough, it’s the aforementioned guy we all had questions about then. How do you see Jordan Geist administration the role of “starting point guard” for the 18-19 season?
Matt Harris, Basketball Editor: Aftermost season’s home amplitude awash me on the abstraction that Geist could pilot Missouri’s offense. Over the final 10 amateur of the approved season, he averaged 7.4 points, doled out 3.4 assists and agape in 42.3 percent of 3-point attempts — all while antic a 1.8 assist-to-turnover ratio. His avant-garde metrics additionally showed that he was one of the SEC’s bigger distributors in pick-and-rolls, hinting that he could accomplish complete reads and decisions.
We additionally charge to accumulate in apperception that Missouri’s breach isn’t isolation-based. Cuonzo Martin won’t bright out a ancillary of the attic and ask Geist to able a defense. He needs a advance bouncer who can assassinate in aerial ball-screens, handoffs and beating bottomward spot-up jumpers. If that’s still the job, and Geist has had an offseason to prepare, afresh I apprehend we’ll see added of the aforementioned from Geist.
Granted, we don’t apperceive how the appearance of the breach changes now that Jontay Porter, a adeptness clairvoyant of defenses and adroit passer, is done for the year. Porter’s absence adeptness aggrandize Geist’s portfolio of duties, and we’ll accept to see how that manifests itself on the floor. We additionally accept to accumulate in apperception the achievability that the NCAA grants allotment to Dru Smith, which adeptness bang Geist off the brawl — a abode that’s adequate a added accustomed habitat.
Josh Matejka, Editor: The tweets I ambition I could abjure about Jordan Geist could ample the pages of a (very short) book, but instead I wrote a continued acknowledgment column. Geist’s accurate cutting and able acreage ambition percentages took massive leaps aftermost year as he adapted himself into a advantageous shooter. And while his abetment and about-face ante aren’t top-notch, he was abundant bigger in the closing allotment of the SEC schedule. If he can abide on that clue and advance on his jumper already again, he’ll do added than abundant to authority things bottomward in his chief year.
Chris Bohkay, Featured Writer: I assumption this absolutely depends on how the Dru Smith abandonment goes. Because if Dru gets cleared, that’s activity to let Geist move over to his added accustomed atom in the admixture bouncer role. But if Dru doesn’t get cleared, afresh Geist goes aback to the starting atom as acclaimed in the question. He will do better, alone because he’s had a abounding year in the role, and a abounding offseason as the starter. My achievement (and that of any Mizzou fan) is that the starting role doesn’t accept the backward d meltdowns (the WVU game) or academician farts (the Florida game) the dematerialization (Ole Miss anyone) or the huh (Bragging Rights, admitting that was collective). A added counterbalanced Geist would be abundant — the guy we saw for a lot of the SEC division area Mizzou fabricated its run in February.
Jack Parodi, Basketball Analyst: I anticipate Geist accomplish up in a big way as a baton of this team. While chief Kevin Puryear is the complete articulate baton of this Missouri squad, Geist leads with his play. The chief point bouncer is an complete grinder, activity 110 percent every additional he’s on the floor. If there’s a brawl on the ground, he’s diving for it. If the opposing aggregation has a stud backcourt player, he’s in their face all game. That affectionate of activity is contagious, and I apprehend Geist to abide that akin of hustle d in and d out. I accept Geist will accept a solid scoring year as well, as he may accept to shoot the brawl from abysmal added this year than in the past. While he’s no Kassius Robertson from three, he’s absolutely advantageous from long-range, as he attempt 36.7 percent from above the arc aftermost year.
Xavier Pinson is about as “pure point guard” as you can get on the spectrum of positions. But he had a bit of a awe-inspiring summer area he spent a lot of time abroad from the team. How does that affect the appulse he’ll accomplish in his apprentice year?
Matt Harris: Pinson’s fate is additionally anchored to whether Missouri gets a abandonment acceding actual accommodation to Evansville alteration Dru Smith. Adequate account on that advanced would advance me to bang a redshirt on Pinson, who absolutely bare a summer with Nicodemus Christopher and the MU weight room. Accepting watched Pinson live, I can cautiously say he sees comedy advance a additional afore they happen, but he has a addiction to advance the envelope in transition.
It would additionally accord Missouri a accustomed progression, with Geist handing the job over to Smith and on to Pinson. Award adherence for that allotment of the agenda is crucial, but added so if Martin is able to account recruiting wins in the anatomy of Josh Christopher, Cam’Ron Fletcher or Caleb Love. Accepting a advance bouncer who is not alone able-bodied but possesses a solid on what this breach asks maximizes the calamity a ample addition circling can wreak.
Josh Matejka: The time abroad apparently won’t accumulate Pinson off the attic as abundant as it will accomplish him beneath able aback he’s on it. A lot of Pinson’s abhorrent contributions at this point will appear from him accepting to the rim and the line. But with his slight frame, defenders should be able to force him abroad from the rim, creating tougher shots and attached his chargeless bandy opportunities. His athleticism will accomplish up for some of it, but we’ll accept to delay and see if he can be adroit abundant to acquisition account means to the aperture — or at the actual atomic acquisition his teammates aback he’s befuddled off course.
Chris Bohkay: A PG has to be adequate with his teammates; he’s got to apperceive their strengths and weaknesses and has to accept an apprehension for area they will be aback active the offense. That’s what fabricated what Pressey and Ricardo Ratliffe so abundant to watch, Pressey about knew area Ricardo would be afore he alike fabricated his move. This came from time arena calm and practicing already on campus. Pinson not actuality on campus all summer is activity to apathetic his development, admitting if we attending aback to this summer, Drillmaster Mann had the accomplished of acclaim for his abilities adage he was as adequate a amateur as he’s anytime apparent in 20 years, so conceivably he’ll abruptness us. Either way, Pinson’s a apprentice PG and apprentice PGs accomplish mistakes — they abhorrent a lot and tend to try to do too abundant aback they accept the brawl in their hands. So while I’m aflame to see what he can do already on the floor, I’m assured some wow moments and a lot of acquirements during the season, so he’s hopefully confined as a reliable amateur appear SEC time.
Jack Parodi: It’s difficult award your canal with a new team. Pinson is new to this band and will accept to acclimatize bound to accomplish a nice appulse off the bench. With how his d relies heavily on casual and ball-handling, award that accustomed allure with your teammates is capital to succeed. Luckily, Pinson seems to accept a accustomed adeptness of award the accessible man, but acquirements all the accessible holes, cuts, etc. of a absolutely new breach will be a claiming in itself. I anticipate Pinson will be a solid advancement to Geist this division and advice advance an able Missouri bench
Until we apprehend a audible acknowledgment on Dru and Mark Smith, there’s still a abridgement of abyss at PG. How will Cuonzo Martin adverse that aperture in the roster?
Matt Harris: We haven’t apparent Javon Pickett in able-bodied over 18 months, but he showed at Belleville (Ill.) East that he could clamber into the lane. While he won’t be asked to do that anniversary control at point guard, history suggests he’s adequate with the brawl in his hands. We saw aftermost year that Missouri fabricated due aback Kassius Robertson, a addition by trade, served as the advance ball-handler: lots of brawl screens in the average of the floor. While Robertson was added apt to coursing for pull-up 3-pointers, conceivably Pickett’s adeptness as a disciplinarian could angle those plays adjoin beeline pick-and-rolls with Jeremiah Tilmon. If letters prove accurate that Pickett’s bulked up and apparent improvement, I anguish beneath about projections that said he’d accept agitation finishing through acquaintance — acceptation the blackmail of him advancing bottomward acropolis afterwards a Tilmon awning is legitimate. The big catechism is whether Pickett possesses the adeptness to accomplish the appropriate apprehend in those situations. Still, it’s an access MU could explore.
Josh Matejka: I was actual accessible to allocution about Jontay Porter’s role in bringing the brawl up here… but, uh, yeah.
Obviously, the accident of Jontay Porter puts the ball-handling catalyst absolutely aback on the amateur of the guards as there aren’t any added assiduously as able as Jontay. Torrence Watson has some acquaintance actuality a primary guy from his Whitfield days, but he’ll be bare in added areas — is, “I don’t know,” an adequate acknowledgment here?
Chris Bohkay: Is it too accessible to say “recruiting?” With Smith absolutely actuality in the bend aing season, and Pinson accepting a year beneath his belt, the 2019 – 2020 division seems added set, with the abeyant of Caleb Love advancing in the year after, things attending added solid. But the abrasion at this position has been boxy for Cuonzo. Advancing into his additional year, I’m abiding he was assured to accept Blake Harris this division accepted at the point, and Phillips as a reliable aback up. Mizzou hasn’t had a competent accurate PG active the attic back Phil left, so this is annihilation new for Mizzou fans.
If there’s one affair that Cuonzo has shown, he can acclimatize to changes on a dime. The actuality that Cuonzo got the aggregation that concluded the division vs. the accumulation that was on the bank adjoin Iowa State to the NCAA clash is a attestation to his adeptness as a coach. While the accepted bearings is not ideal, I accept acceptance that Cuonzo and his agents will accomplish it work.
Jack Parodi: Brawl movement, brawl movement, brawl movement. Martin will accept to deliver that to his aggregation this season. It sounds so simple, yet the hardest affair to do in basketball is affective the brawl about with purpose. The pre-Kevin Durant Golden State Warriors won their aboriginal appellation by arrive this, and it’s accepted to be the ultimate aberration amid adequate and abundant teams. This’ll be difficult after Jontay Porter — one of the best-passing big men in the country — but casual the brawl about will booty the amount off the Tigers’ abridgement of a accurate point guard.
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