It was just 19 days ago that Missouri announced that they had asked then head coach Kim Anderson to resign following the worst three-year stretch in program history. In what can only be described as an astounding reversal of fortune, Mizzou has now landed Michael Porter Jr., the nation’s top basketball recruit in the 2017 class.
Of course this all comes on the tails of Missouri hiring head coach Cuonzo Martin, which was announced publicly just four short days ago in Columbia. The fact that this has all come together in such a short time may suggest that this plan has been orchestrated by Athletic Director Jim Sterk for some time now as Porter’s father was officially announced as one of Martin’s assistant coaches on Thursday afternoon.
— Michael Porter Jr. (@TheMPJ1) March 24, 2017
Porter Jr. was originally committed to the University of Washington but decided to re-open his recruitment after Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar was fired following the season. The McDonald’s All-American made his intentions known on Friday afternoon that he was, indeed, coming home.
“I am very comfortable with the Mizzou program because I have been around it for so long,” Porter Jr. told Rivals.com. “Coach Cuonzo is a great guy who I’m proud to call my coach, and can’t wait to restore the atmosphere to Mizzou Arena alongside him, the coaching staff, and my new teammates.”
The Tigers may not be a viable Final 4 type team just yet, even with the services of Porter, but Mizzou Arena will most certainly be rocking with anticipation through the 2017/2018 season. A mere return to the NCAA Tournament would go a long way towards stabilizing the program while Martin tries to continue his recruiting wizardry while also becoming a coach that wins at a higher level (Martin has only been to two NCAA Tournaments in 9 years as a Divison 1 head coach).
Returning Tigers Must Step Up
To think that even a once-in-a-lifetime recruit like Michael Porter Jr. will be enough to return Mizzou to deep tournament runs is naive at best. Luckily, Kim Anderson did not leave the cupboard completely bare in Columbia and the Tigers’ success next season could well be predicated on the development of players that are already wearing black and gold.
Kevin Puryear. Has been a double-digit scorer during his two year at Mizzou. Could be a very important key to the cog in 2017 and beyond.
Jordan Barnett. Was Mizzou’s best offensive threat this past season. The Texas transfer could be poised for a big senior season especially with Porter in the fold to help on the offensive end.
Terrence Phillips. Can return to being more of a pass-first point guard next year and will likely be the blargest benefactor of Porter’s arrival.
Frankie Hughes/K.J. Walton. Each have shown flashes early in their respective careers. Their continued development will be very important if Missouri is going to make the NCAA’s in 2018.