What should Mizzou fans expect from Dennis Gates’ first year?

If there’s one thing Mizzou Hoops has been able to solve over the past decade, it’s the first year in the new coach’s tenure.

Obviously, the term “screw” is effective in this case. After all, Kim Anderson’s first season at Mizzou opened with a loss to UMKC and included a miserable streak of 13 consecutive losses. But what other coaches have shone at the Meizu Arena in the last decade? They did well for themselves in the first Tiger campaign.

Frank Heath entered Columbia as a second fiddle, a Power Five coach with a shallow reputation and poor resume on accomplishments. He finished his first season with 30 wins, the Big XII Tournament title and AP’s College Basketball Coach of the Year award. Aside from the disastrous ending, the first season was relentlessly successful.

Konzo Martin couldn’t outsmart Heath, but his first year at Columbia wasn’t too bad either. After earning a consensus in the top five recruiting category—including two five-star Porter brothers—Martin was able to steer the Tigers through a disastrous injury to Michael Porter Jr., fine-tuning his game plan on the fly and leading Missouri to the NCAA Championship. The first time in five years. Judging from the Kim Anderson era, it felt like a breath of fresh air.

To expect Dennis Gates to follow in Heath and Martin’s footsteps would be unfair. If anything, Missouri fans must want things to go a little differently. Heath was able to maximize talent on his heavy veteran roster but couldn’t build one of his own. Martin was able to muster a group of trusted rotation players, talented freshmen, and transfer a big one, but he couldn’t convince this kind of talent to stay committed. Gates’ path must be different – anything that prioritizes sustainability over quick fixes.

However, reform in this program appears to be moving very quickly. Aidan Shaw is in the barn, the top two JUCO recruits in the country too and have you heard of that guy Isiaih Mosley? He’s back in town for next year. It would be easy to look at the pieces kept from last year’s roster alongside the exciting new faces and wonder how far Gates – a famous coach in his own right – could take them.

It’s good to remember, however, that these are not the normal conditions we’re looking at here. Sure, Gates has put together a compelling group of players, but they’re also a group without any sense of harmony. As Konzo Martin taught us last season, it is easier to build a cohesive team on paper than it is on the field. The 2011-2012 Heath Team should be all the evidence you need Team It can only be built over time. If you need more, read this article on Gray Mizzou List by Matt Harris in May.

But what about Martin’s first year, you might ask. His first team was a jumble of pieces, right? Yes and no. And aside from the fact that Martin carried six players from Kim Anderson’s final year at the helm – Gates has only three – it’s impossible to overlook the Cassius Robertson factor. A certified dynamo in his only season as the tiger, Robertson was a meteor that lit the sky for a brief moment before heading out to Europe’s greenest pastures.

It was also more than a little weird. Transfers like Robertson rarely happen, especially at a school like Mizu. While upward transfers generally see a decline in usage, efficiency, minutes, or any combination of the three, Cash bucked the trend in all three. He played more minutes, had more possessions and played more efficiently than any of his four seasons in college basketball. The result was an All SEC First team selection that defied all conventional logic. Expecting another outcome like this from someone like D’Moi Hodge, Sean East or DeAndre Gholston would be reckless.

So what should Mizzou fans expect from Dennis Gates’ first year? It might be somewhere between Martin’s freshman year and Anderson’s year. The arrival of Isiaih Mosley sure helps matters, and the Tigers might jump the NCAA Tournament bubble.

However, since Nate Edwards is never shy about reminding us, it’s always a good idea to eat your veggies for the long haul. The Tigers might be good enough to entertain the idea of ​​a March berth, but it will take a strong guard, some serious team bonding and more than a few lucky bounces to continue improving their odds.

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