On Wednesday, the Missouri Tigers men’s basketball team found its new head coach, Cuonzo Martin, and in the process also might have landed the most talented player the Tigers have seen in years.
Days after firing head coach Kim Anderson, the Missouri Tigers have hired former University of California coach Cuonzo Martin to run the program. The deal was for seven years and $21 million dollars. Many think his recruitment ability could be what turns Mizzou basketball around. Who Martin potentially brings along with him is the real story here, though.
Earlier today, the University of Washington cleaned house in its basketball program, leaving a close friend of Martin, Michael Porter Sr., without a job. It didn’t take long for Martin to reach out to the elder Porter and give him a job as an assistant coach with the Tigers. Porter is a familiar face around Mizzou, as he was a part of the women’s team’s coaching staff for three years before leaving for Washington. The most interesting part of all this is the fact that Porter Sr.’s son, Michael Porter Jr., a commit to Washington, will likely get the option to play elsewhere next season due to the firing of his former coaching staff.
Michael Porter Jr. had Mizzou high atop his choice of schools before deciding to join his father at Washington. With the Tigers’ signing of Dad to the coaching staff, college basketball analysts around the country believe that Columbia, Missouri is his likeliest destination. What better scenario is there for this struggling program?
Hiring a coach with tons of upside and recruiting talent AND landing the best player in the country all within a few days of each other? The possibility of it has Missouri basketball fans anxious with anticipation. A side note to all this is that Porter Jr.’s brother, Jontay, also a top 50 recruit, is planning on attending whatever school his brother chooses in order to play alongside him. That would make for a grand total of four Porter basketball players at Mizzou, as sisters Cierra and Bri are members of the women’s program.
Landing a talent like Michael Porter Jr. would instantly improve Mizzou’s chances in the SEC next year and almost certainly get them back to the NCAA tournament. Now Tiger Nation has to play the waiting game as the 18-year-old kid from Columbia decides the fate of his basketball career, and potentially Mizzou’s program as a whole.