Gates tackles crucial to-do list at Mizzou | Mizzou Sports News

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COLUMBIA, Mo. – Less than two weeks on the job, new Missouri men’s basketball coach Dennis Gates faces a long and critical to-do list if he plans to put a more competitive team on the court next next season.

But first, he’ll coach at NABC Reese’s Division I College All-Star Game on Friday in New Orleans as part of the weekend’s Final Four festivities. Gates coaches the West team – Liberty’s Ritchie McKay will coach the East – and coincidentally one of his players is former Mizzou guard and Edwardsville native Mark Smith, who played last season at Kansas State.

After Friday’s game, Gates will quickly return to the job that earns him $16.5 million over the next six years. Here’s a look at five challenges that await Gates as he resumes a Mizzou schedule after a 12-21 season, only the sixth 20-game losing season in team history:

Complete his staff

There’s no apparent rush to assemble his coaching staff, but Gates could be closer to finalizing his assistant team after the Final Four, which is usually the biggest networking event in sports.

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Gates has $915,000 to spend on his three assistants and said he’s been inundated with calls from interested coaches across the country. A few of Gates’ assistants at Cleveland State could be in line to succeed him — or could follow him to Mizzou.

Gates believes some staff will be hired by April 7, which marks the start of the NCAA’s recruiting period when coaches can make in-person off-campus contact with prospects.

Sort current list

Four Missouri players who finished the season on the roster are in the transfer portal and uncommitted as of Thursday. On Wednesday, freshman forward Trevon Brazile, the team’s most promising underclassman from last season, signed for Arkansas. Among the other United players on the portal, Javon Pickett, the main manager of the 2021-22 team, could be a valuable addition to any roster. He is not a superstar but a capable goalscorer and defender who is coming off his most prolific season. Freshman point guard Anton Brookshire, sophomore center Jordan Wilmore and junior guard DaJuan Gordon also entered the portal.

Future senior Kobe Brown, the team’s top scorer and rebounder this season, would attract particular attention on the Portal if he were considering exploring the market, but as of Thursday he is one of six players still on the list. Brown was an inconsistent offensive player as a junior and went through bouts of fouls, but finished the year averaging a career-high 12.5 points and 7.6 rebounds, good for All-SEC honors. of the second team.

Others still on the list who haven’t dipped into the portal yet: Brown’s younger brother, freshman guard Kaleb Brown, freshman forward Yaya Keita, sophomore forward Ronnie DeGray III and junior guards Boogie Coleman and Amari Davis.

Recruitment priorities

Regardless of who returns from last season’s team, the Tigers have obvious needs on the perimeter. Mizzou shot just 28.1 percent from 3-point range, the worst in team history and 354th out of 358 Division I teams. ‘East St. Louis Christian Jones. Four-star striker Aidan Shaw asked for his letter of intent when Mizzou fired Cuonzo Martin, but was in touch with Gates over a possible new signing.

Otherwise, Gates will be knocking on every door from coast to coast and beyond to harvest talent. He has already landed two transfers with Garden City Community College forward Mohamed Diarra and Milwaukee transfer guard DeAndre Gholston. At Cleveland State, Gates relied heavily on junior college recruiting. Last year’s CSU team included eight players who arrived via junior colleges, from Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and one via South Sudan.

Leader(s)

When it comes to targeting specific positions, which Coleman and Kaleb Brown return next season, the Tigers absolutely need a more proficient game at point guard – and could need more of a ball handler to do so. reach. Gates has already been connected to several of the top point guards at Portal through multiple reports and recruiting spots. Gates has already welcomed Sean East, an outstanding college student, from John A. Logan College. Another hot target is Bradley’s Terry Roberts, a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference pick this year.

There’s also a potential wild card in the market: former Mizzou guard Xavier Pinson, who left the program after the 2021 NCAA Tournament and spent last season at Louisiana State. Pinson had well-documented issues with MU’s latest coaching staff, but he hinted on Instagram that he would consider returning for another run at Mizzou.

Embrace Nothingness

There are prominent Mizzou donors pooling their resources to form what is called a name, image and likeness collective to initiate sponsorship deals for MU athletes. Coaches cannot directly arrange NIL deals or negotiate contracts for their players or rookies, but until the NCAA or conferences build stronger safeguards, the savviest coaches will orchestrate NIL opportunities into benefits. recruitment. Gates is on board.

NIL, he said, “evened the college game.”


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