Where did Konzo Martin go wrong?

If you were to timeline Mizzou Basketball events from the moment Cuonzo Martin was hired to the moment he was fired, what are the moments that stand out the most?

I ask this from readers in general because we all look at things from a different perspective. Over the course of five seasons, Martin and his staff made many decisions regarding their basketball roster, and those decisions influenced the program’s success and subsequent failure. At least enough to justify the change last March.

Because of the benefit of hindsight we can look at the list’s moves in a different way, and there are several key moments that don’t require much discussion on the site, as we spent more time and attention looking at things that ended up having little or no impact on the course of the program. The spring of 2017 felt like a potential sea change, and the addition of Michael Porter Jr. and his later enlistment of high-ranking players made things look like it might have been Miso’s opportunity to change the narrative.

But what followed was Martin pulling a batch of (mostly) misfits Kim Anderson along with some young seniors for the NCAA competition. Where a respected roster was easily displayed by a rising band in Florida. Where I felt that MPJ was perhaps the most important player to sign Mizzou in the past 10-20 years, the transfer guard from Canisius turned out to be a more important signing than that off-season.

So what have been the successful or failed moments over the past five years?

We’ll pick one to start with, because it’s easy to point out to missing persons recruiting, right? Just point to guys like Courtney Ramey, E.J. Liddell, Caleb Love and others as examples of “if…” Just pick Miso for different things. And while yes, it is true that if you enlist and sign your higher goals, you will probably be better off than if you don’t. For a program that has been in the middle or bottom of the SEC for the better part of a decade like Missouri, it’s not entirely realistic to think that every recruiting battle will go your way.

Sometimes it’s about whether your plan B or plan C is good, not if you missed plan A or not.

Which brings me to what I think was one of the most pivotal moments, when Isiaih Mosley committed to Missouri.

David Banks USA Today Sports

The date was March 17, 2019. Missouri was exiting its second season under Martin, having just lost the SEC Championship despite the valiant efforts of senior Jordan Guest. With Geist and Kevin Puryear graduating, as well as Jontay Porter potentially heading into the NBA draft despite an injured ACL, Mizzou had two scholarships available. The winger probably wasn’t a huge priority for them because Javon Pickett was coming off a solid debuting season, and Torrence Watson was starting to look at the bottom of his first year. But Moussalli was flying under the radar. He hadn’t played well in the summer prior to his freshman year and his stock dropped a bit, but he led his high school team to the state championship and looked good at doing so. Missouri was getting around to recruiting but he didn’t pull the trigger fully. Minnesota was interested, and Mosley quietly committed to Missouri.

At the time it didn’t seem like a huge loss. Few of the fans were in the arms. But Mizzou ended the spring by chasing the move of Eric Williams (who would land in Oregon), signing Kobe Brown to join Mario McKinney and Tray Jackson in the 2019 recruiting class. KJ Santos would move from the program and Mizzou would eventually add Axel Okongo to knock out Jeremiah Tilmon in practice. Okongo earned his last thirteenth scholarship, and while fans were on the go, it made sense from a strategic standpoint of having a big spare guy who could offend Reed Nikko and Tilmon so much in practice. However, the flexibility of the roster was there and Mosley was the only thing Missouri needed in later seasons…and an outdoor shooter.

Mosley went on to star in Missouri State as a freshman, while the Missouri winger suffered from inconsistency and a lack of filming. Watson struggled to find the groove he had when he was a freshman, and Beckett played it big but it wasn’t a floor breaker. Any attempts to fix the problem came through with an empty transfer gate.

All of those wing shooting issues might have been resolved had Martin and his staff taken a wing flyer from Rock Bridge.

So this is the start of an off-season where there won’t be much to talk about. But I’m curious about your opinion here. I think most people were enthusiastic about Martin at first, and until near the end there were still believers. But what would be enough, within that timeline, to do more than just keep Martin in business, but also propel Mizu out of the middle class into the top half of the SEC?

Mark Smith and Jeremiah Telmon may have been in good health in their third year. Maybe shooting is better in one game or another. Either way, there are a lot of different moments and movements that led to the change of training. I’m curious what are your top picks?

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