As the rumors started to trickle out Wednesday afternoon that Missouri had extended an offer to Califorinia head coach Cuonzo Martin, the Mizzou fan base began to voice its three year dormant opinion.
After suffering through the worst three-year stretch in program history, Tiger faithful can now look to the future as it appears eminent that Martin will sign a 7-year deal at Mizzou worth 3 million per year. Some believed it to be a “ho hum” type hire, while others are able to see exactly what Missouri AD Jim Sterk has up his sleeve.
A tweet sent out by Paul Finebaum Wednesday afternoon suggested that Mizzou was able to outbid cross-conference rival Illinois for Martin’s services which could be a small “braggin right” for Missouri going forward as many believed Illinois to be the better job of the two.
SOURCE: Cuonzo Martin turned down an $18 million dollar contract from Illinois
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) March 15, 2017
The truth is, Jim Sterk knew he had to re-invigorate a once great Mizzou basketball fan base with this hire, and while hiring Cuonzo Martin is not necessarily a home run, it’s certainly a tremendous opportunity to turn fertile Missouri recruiting grounds into success for a basketball program that has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2013. Martin’s detractors will look at the fact he’s already been at three programs in nine years and that he’s coy with the media and doesn’t have a great sense of humor. It’s not out of line to think that, perhaps, Mizzou over-payed for Martin at 3 million a year, but clearly Sterk identified Martin early in the process and looks to have had this deal brokered by the time Martin got back to the locker room following Cal’s NIT loss to Bakersfield Tuesday night.
It’s clear to see that Martin always wanted to be back in the midwest coaching basketball. He played at Purdue and cut his teeth at Missouri State. He has won 60% of his games at the Division 1 level and is (far and away) the most accomplished coach Missouri has ever hired. He was able to recruit at Cal which is not easy to do considering a lack of fan interest in sports and rising academic standards. He should be able to help restore Mizzou’s long-broken St. Louis recruiting pipeline and help the Tigers compete in the SEC sooner than later.
Important Chips Could Be Falling
As Missouri appears settled on it’s next head coach, some very interesting news has developed which could make things even more exciting for Tiger fans. It’s been reported that Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar has been fired. Romar was able to land the nation’s #1 recruit in Columbia native Michael Porter JR, although Romar’s firing would release Porter from that commitment. The Porter family (which includes Michael Porter senior, a staff member of Romar’s) has been rumored to miss Columbia, MO which could see the talented forward enroll at Mizzou. It’s already been reported by Paul Bincardi that Porter Sr. will be added to Cuonzo Martin’s coaching staff which would make it likely that Porter Jr. (and his little brother) could become Tigers in the near future.
Cuonzo Martin will add Michael Porter Sr as an assistant, per sources. Michael Porter Jr did not sign an NLI.
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) March 15, 2017