Missouri Basketball: Newfound respect in talented athletes

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: Jordan Clarkson
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 13: Jordan Clarkson /

Missouri basketball has transformed since March. Jeremiah Tilmon and Michael Porter, Jr. show promise to change the culture at Mizzou.

The moment Michael Porter, Jr. followed his father from Washington to Columbia, I was in a state of shock at just how quickly the face of the basketball program changed.

I don’t think anybody could have imagined, when the Tigers hired Cuonzo Martin to be Missouri’s next basketball coach, that he would change the face and direction of the program, within days.

I can’t say that I even imagined that the number one recruit in the nation would flip his commitment to Missouri, following his father to Columbia. We have to wonder, when Martin offered an assistant’s job to Michael Porter, Sr., if it was a stroke of luck that he accepted.

Missouri Tigers Basketball
Missouri Tigers Basketball /

Missouri Tigers Basketball

Offering the elder Porter the job was a brilliant move, following on the coattails of Lorenzo Romar’s dismissal from the Washington program.

Suffice to say, Michael Porter, Jr. also came to Columbia, and the rest, as they say, is history. Shortly after Porter’s news broke, Jeremiah TIlmon requested his release from Illinois, which came a while later.

While Michael Porter, Jr.’s decision to return to Missouri may come as a surprise to some, anyone who is familiar with the family’s history, wouldn’t be as surprised.

Since that time, Missouri’s successfully drawn interest and commitments from very talented recruits. To say the least, it is very likely that not only will Missouri’s win totals increase, but the culture will evolve, as well.

Missouri, historically a basketball school, could be returning to its glory days. In recent interviews, both Tilmon and Michael Porter, Jr. had much to offer.

TIlmon spoke about his recent brush with the law, and told Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I took it as a learning lesson. It’s in the past. We’re moving forward.”

There’s no reason to think that Timon isn’t genuine in his sentiment. However, he is a teenager, and prone to making mistakes. Hopefully, this will have been his worst.

Last year’s returning Tigers are also taking notice of this year’s talented recruiting class. Junior forward, Kevin Puryear, is impressed with Michael Porter, Jr.’s talent, but was also been amused by the freshman’s excitement over a yearly, $1,400.00, stipend.

"He’s very excited about the $1,400 stipend during the school year. He’s extremely excited about that, and I’m like, ‘Dude, c’mon, a year from now things may be a little bit different.’ But he’s a good kid to be around, and I really enjoy him.He’s well ahead of his years as far as his skill set. His skill set is second to none. Just watching his footwork and the way he shoots the ball, even though he’s only 18 years old, he’s just a program-changing talent and I’m glad to have him here."

Right now, the incoming freshman seem comfortable in their new surroundings, but their skills and mental toughness will be tested come November. Fortunately, the Tigers return a few veteran players who will guide these young men through their first season at Missouri.

Next: Jontay Porter reclassifying means big changes for Missouri

In the meantime, Martin will continue adding talent to Missouri’s roster, and there’s still a pending decision of “now or later” to come from Jontay Porter.