Here are the highlights from our weekly chat with Post-Dispatch readers.
Q: Dave, is Gates perhaps doing Horizon League transfer-overload? After all, that obviously didn’t work out too well for MU basketball last year with all the transfers from mid-major conferences, including two guys I think we got from the Horizon League last season? It might be a silly question to ask, but still, I’d be more encouraged if he were able to land a transfer or two from a Power 6 League.
A: So far he’s added two Horizon League players in Tre Gomillion (Cleveland State) and DeAndre Gholston (Milwaukee). D’Moi Hodge (Cleveland State) would be a third if he commits.
Last year Mizzou added three mid-major guys in Amari Davis (Green Bay), Boogie Coleman (Ball State) and Ronnie DeGray (UMass).
Here’s the difference — and it’s a big one: Gates coached Gomillion and Hodge and coached against Gholston in five games. I think you get the benefit of the doubt if you’re bringing in a player who knows your program, knows your system, knows your language and, most importantly, the coach knows the players’ strengths and weaknesses.
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There’s much less risk at play here because these are players Gates has seen up close every day for several years in the case of Gomillion and Hodge. Maybe in years three and four you shouldn’t be adding Horizon League players, but in year one, which will very much be a transition year as Gates installs his system and instills a culture, I think there’s a lot of value in adding players he knows well. I see the current additions as more of a stopgap strategy.
Q: I am having a problem keeping up with how many remaining scholarships the Mizzou basketball team has. Three? Additionally, what’s your insight into who’s on the shortlist for these last few openings? Names/positions? Is Coach getting close to locking up these remaining players?
A: If everyone on the current roster returns — and they have until May 1 to enter the transfer portal — and East St. Louis guard Christian Jones follows through on his letter of intent and ends up at Missouri, then Gates has only one more scholarship for the 2022-23 team. Here’s the breakdown:
Ronnie DeGray III, forward
Yaya Keita forward/center
Signed high school recruits
Christian Jones, guard/wing
Tre Gomillion, guard/wing
DeAndre Gholston, guard/wing
Noah Carter, wing/forward
Mo Diarra, forward/center
That’s 12 names with room for one more. Obviously, for every player you lose, you have another place to add a player.
As for other targets, keep your eye on Cleveland State transfer D’Moi Hodge. He’s a 6-4 guard, was the Horizon League defensive player of the year and led Gates’ team in scoring with 15.4 points per game and 2.2 steals. Also, Jason Roche from The Citadel. He’s the 3-point shooter this team lacks. He shot 39% from deep as a freshman.
Q: I read an article that led me to believe that JT Daniels chose West Virginia over Missouri because he must have felt more comfortable with the WVU offensive coordinator when both were at USC. I thought maybe the prospect of playing with Luther Burden might convince him to come to Mizzou, but it didn’t happen.
Given Daniels’ injury history over the last several years, IMO it is just as well that he chose WVU. Maybe Drinkwitz thinks Daniels is an upgrade from Brady Cook and Tyler Macon, but personally, I am looking forward to seeing what both of these guys can do. It is hard to evaluate either of them due to the very limited playing time in the time they have been in COMO.
A: Drinkwitz was the first coach to contact Daniels when he entered the transfer portal and stayed on him heavily throughout the process. That tells me he strongly wanted him as his 2022 quarterback. Drinkwitz spent the spring saying how badly he wanted to add a quarterback to the mix for this summer. He was incredibly transparent about that desire. And in the case of Daniels, Mizzou wasn’t going to bring him here to serve as a backup. Drinkwitz clearly wanted Daniels as the starting quarterback. That doesn’t mean Brady Cook or Tyler Macon or Sam Horn can’t do good things this fall, but if Drinkwtiz was content with the group he has, he wouldn’t have so aggressively pursued the two Daniels transfers, Jayden and JT. Now, we’ll see if there’s a backup plan. If not, how does he manage the situation?
Q: How do you feel about JT Daniels picking West Virginia over Mizzou? I’m not upset about it. While I know JT is an elite passer, I think Cook offers more in terms of his legs and durability. I still don’t understand why Cook doesn’t get more credit as a QB.
A: Daniels can sling it when healthy. I watched him pick apart Mizzou’s defense in 2020 — a defense with an NFL starter at linebacker and two draft picks in the secondary. But you’re right, he’s not a running threat by any means — or at least hasn’t been healthy enough to show off that part of his game in college. Again, if Drinkwitz was content with the QBs he has on the roster, he wouldn’t have pursued the portal so heavily. I’d like to see what Cook can do in the role full-time. He’s a better athlete than most realize. He’s been very accurate every chance he’s been given in games and scrimmages. He’s an incredible competitor and has shown some impressive leadership qualities.
Q: Dave, are there any 2023 quarterbacks in the pipeline that Mizzou is pursuing?
A: Several four-star QBs have offers for the 2023 class:
Avery Johnson from Kansas; Gabarri Johnson from Washington. Mizzou QBs coach Bush Hamdan spent some time in Seattle as Washington’s OC, so he knows the area. JJ Kohl from Iowa has visited Mizzou a few times. Iowa State is probably the favorite here. Brock Glenn is a three-star target from Memphis. He recently told Rivals.com he’s been impressed with visits to Mizzou and Mississippi State. Oklahoma State is also a contender.
Q: How does the Mizzou basketball team look to you in relation to their competitors? Can they bring anyone else still that will have a major impact?
A: Assuming they add a transfer point guard and that’s it for additions, this team should be more competent, but they’re not competing for the SEC championship in 2023. You stack up the rosters in the SEC, which is difficult to do in April with so many transfers still in the market and many players exploring their NBA stock, and Mizzou doesn’t have a top-seven SEC roster yet. Mo Diarra could deliver some much-needed size inside, but there’s no guarantee that a juco transfer produces right away. Still need some shooters.
How do you split minutes between Kobe Brown, Ronnie DeGray and Noah Carter, who all play a similar position? This roster, as it stands now, strikes me more as one that will help you get through the first year with a competitive record while the staff builds recruiting relationships for 2023 to put a much more complete team on the floor in year two.
Nutt served as head coach at Arkansas State, SEMO worked with Gates at Florida State, Cleveland State.
The Tigers will host Louisiana Tech on Sept. 1 on ESPNU.