With the team starting summer practice, Missouri basketball head coach Cuonzo Martin met with the media Thursday and shared his thoughts on a variety of subjects.
With the success Missouri had with graduate transfer Kassius Robertson during Martin’s first year with the program, some were calling for the Tigers to add another grad transfer for the upcoming season. While the Tigers hosted former-Duquesne forward Eric Williams Jr. for a visit, he opted to transfer to Oregon.
After signing former-Texas A&M commit Kobe Brown in May, Missouri has filled 12 of their 13 scholarship positions for the 2019-20 season. Martin doesn’t anticipate the Tigers filling that last spot, largely because he expects to only use a nine-man rotation next season.
“I try to stay away from stockpiling,” Martin said. “Especially in today’s game, a guy will transfer on the dime.”
Here is how the Tigers depth chart stands heading into the season:
Likely starter: Dru Smith
Competition: Xavier Pinson
Likely starter: Mark Smith
Competition: Mario McKinney
Likely starter: Toss up between Torrence Watson and Javon Pickett
Competition: Kobe Brown
Likely starter: Tray Jackson
Competition: Mitchell Smith, Parker Braun and Kobe Brown
Likely starter: Jeremiah Tilmon
Competition: Reed Nikko
Martin weighed in on the ongoing FBI investigation involving corruption in college basketball recruiting.
“You want the right thing to be done,” Martin said. “That’s the most important thing. Rules are being broken and those universities should be accountable for their actions.”
Martin noted that outside of former Louisville coach Rick Pitino, head coaches have avoided punishment so far. He also mentioned that the four assistant coaches who have been punished so far are all African-American.
Martin pointed out that he doesn’t buy the excuse that head coaches did not know what their assistant coaches were up to. He believes it is the head coach’s responsibility to know if there is something “fishy” going on in the program, and he also extended that responsibility to school presidents and athletic directors .
When it comes to his own program, Martin smiled.
“When they let me go, it will be because (I) didn’t win enough,” he said. “It won’t be because of that stuff. It’s already hard enough to sleep.”
Missouri’s schedule for the upcoming season is almost finalized, with the exception of the Utah game. Martin said that he thinks Missouri will be on the road for the Big 12/SEC challenge and thinks the Tigers will know their opponent within the next few weeks.
Mark Smith has been out of a walking boot for three weeks after undergoing season-ending surgery on his left foot in March. He is able to shoot and participate in ball handling drills but is still unable to run. The injury isn’t expected to limit Smith next season.
The NCAA announced yesterday that the 3-point line will move back to the international length — 22 feet, 1 ¾ inches — for the upcoming season. Martin says that he doesn’t expect this change to affect his team’s offensive approach but noted it could help open up space for dribble penetration.