Missouri Tigers

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Porter, Jr. will ask for Washington release

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There may be an overwhelming assumption on where Michael Porter, Jr. – and his father – will ultimately end up, but the five-star recruit is said publicly that he see his re-recruitment process through.

Porter, Jr. said in a teleconference Wednesday that he will ask for his release from Washington, and his father, a former Huskies assistant, has been offered a job at Missouri by new Tigers coach Cuonzo Martin.

“Right now I’m just trying to take it slow with my family and weigh my options,” Porter Jr. said, according to the Kansas City Star. “I plan to get my (national letter of intent) from Washington back and just go from there, not saying that I’m not going to Washington anymore, but I just want to get it back and weigh my options.”

The prevailing thought has been that the Porters will ultimately land in Columbia, where they have significant history.

Still, it would appear at least publicly that Porter, Jr., a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, will weigh his options in at least the short-term.

Report: The Porters are headed back to Missouri

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The coaching carousel looks certain to change the fate of a potential 2018 No. 1 NBA Draft pick, and, perhaps, that of a downtrodden program and a coach starting his fourth job in six years.

When you have the talent of Michael Porter, Jr., you can change a lot of lives.

The dominos are falling fast, so to recap on how the coaching, recruiting and draft landscape is shifting here’s what’s gone down.

First, came news that Missouri had offered its head coaching position to Cal’s Cuonzo Martin. Later that afternoon, Cal announced that Martin had resigned from his position, and a little later the Tigers made it official it was to join them in Columbia.

Then, not long after, Washington ended the Lorenzo Romar era in Seattle, putting his assistant, Michael Porter, Sr., – and his son – presumably on the market.

Within minutes of Romar’s firing going official, ESPN’s Paul Biancardi reported that Porter, Sr. would would be joining Martin’s staff at Mizzou. From there, it’s not hard to connect the dots that his son, an elite recruit and serious option atop the 2018 draft, won’t be far behind.

It’s a lot, but it’s not exactly surprising to see how it unfolded once things spun into motion, first with Martin’s decision and then with Washington’s.

You see, the Porter family has extensive roots in Columbia, as NBC Sports’ Rob Dauster documented this summer in a profile about the family.

The family lived there for seven years. It’s where Porter, Jr. grew up. His two sisters play on the Mizzou women’s team, which is coached by his aunt.

This move makes sense for everyone involved.

Yes, it may feel a little dubious that Porter, Sr. has seemingly parlayed his son’s talents into a pair of job opportunities, but Porter, Jr. is a program changer. Martin is counting on it.

The situation that the new coach is inheriting is a pretty poor one. The three-year Kim Anderson era was an abject failure with a total of 27 wins to show for itself. The program is also not far removed from NCAA penalties stemming from an impermissible benefits case.

If there’s one way to jump-start a program and a new tenure, it is to add one of the best players in the country. It gives Martin and Missouri some cache on the court and on the recruiting trail, should Porter, Jr.’s presumed one-year tenure end with his name among the first called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver in June of 2018.

VIDEO: Mizzou beats Auburn with OT buzzer beater

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The Kim Anderson era lives on.

Missouri extended its season and its coach’s tenure Wednesday by beating Auburn, 86-83, on an overtime buzzer-beater from Kevin Puryear.

The shot keeps Anderson at the helm of Mizzou for at least one more game. He was “asked to resign” once this season, his third with the program, concludes. The Tigers are 27-67 during his tenure.

No. 11 Kentucky struggles before putting away Missouri

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Kentucky won. That’s probably all the Wildcats need to take away from their time in Columbia, Mo.

Eleventh-ranked Kentucky defeated Missouri, 72-62, in a game that was an absolute slog for the Wildcats until the final minutes offered them some separation and reprieve from the feisty but undermanned Tigers.

Missouri led throughout much of the first half, but never held an advantage after halftime. Still, the Tigers were there lurking closely for much of the final frame, something their 7-20 record would suggest they were incapable of, even at home against Kentucky on a night where the Wildcats were about as sharp as the shape of basketball itself. Which is to say, not sharp at all.

Bam Adebayo was an absolute force on the interior for Kentucky. The freshman big had 22 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the floor and a 10 of 13 mark from the free-throw line. He also had 15 rebounds and three blocks. Missouri, like plenty of other teams before them, had no answer.

The question, though, for Kentucky this night was what kept De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk from being productive? The pair struggled from start to finish, combining to go 8 of 22 overall and 2 of 7 from deep along with five turnovers. Making matters even worse was Isaiah Briscoe’s night. He shot it fine (4 of 6) but had six turnovers in 23 minutes.

It just wasn’t pretty for the Wildcats.

Overall, Kentucky went 5 of 18 from deep and had 17 turnovers, allowing one of the SEC’s cellar dwellers to make things interesting until the Wildcats were able to put the Tigers at arm’s length in the final few minutes.

It’s certainly not an inspiring performance from Kentucky, but against Missouri on the road, it’s not exactly surprising to seem them come with something less than their best. It can probably be excused to circumstance rather than anything more serious.

For Missouri, it was a missed opportunity to add some sort of silver lining to yet another dismal season under Kim Anderson. The third-year coach probably wouldn’t have improved his job prospects much with a win over Kentucky – things have been too bad for too long for one game to move the needle – but it still would have been nice for Missouri after so much misery, you know? But, alas, the game ended like most of them have for the Tigers in recent years, with a loss.

Now, Kentucky heads into Saturday’s matchup against No. 13 Florida with the regular-season SEC title – and some pride – on the line. The Gators whipped the Wildcats by 22 in Gainesville earlier this month, and both teams will enter Rupp Arena with matching 13-2 SEC records.

Both teams will have two games remaining after Saturday, but it would appear to mere formalities for both. Whoever wins Saturday almost certainly will win the conference outright.

NCAA finds Mizzou failed to monitor program

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The NCAA’s investigation of Missouri has come to a close with little in the way of new sanctions on the Tigers’ program.

It was found that Missouri “failed to monitor its men’s basketball program” and two boosters provided “impermissible inducements and extra benefits” to the tune of $11,402 dating back to former coach Frank Haith’s tenure. The school will spend the next year under probation, but no further sanctions past previously self-imposed ones will be levied.

The NCAA found that one Missouri booster employed three players and one prospect as interns and paid them despite work not being performed while also providing them housing, iPads, meals and use of the booster’s car.

Another booster was found to have given 11 players discounted lodging rates while also providing impermissible benefits to three family members of a player.

The Tigers already imposed a postseason ban on themselves for last season along with recruiting days reductions, disassociations from the boosters in question, a reduction in scholarships and the vacation of wins in the 2013-14 season.

Haith left the Tigers for Tulsa four days after the NCAA sent Missouri its letter of inquiry in 2014. Kim Anderson has gone 19-44 as the Tigers’ head coach the past two seasons.

Mizzou gets late 2016 commit

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Missouri has nabbed a late-rising prospect in the 2016 class.

Jakoby Kemp, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Utah, committed to the Tigers and coach Kim Anderson on Tuesday night.

“Humbled to further my education and love for the game of basketball at the University of Missouri,” Kemp tweeted.

Kemp had recently begun to draw significant interest from a number of programs as the calendar continued deeper into the summer, and more and more programs looked to add final pieces to their rosters for the upcoming season. Southern Miss, Memphis, TCU and VCU, among others, had reportedly just entered into the picture.

The Tigers’ scholarship offer to Kemp was reported just hours before his commitment to Mizzou.

Kemp’s decision gives Anderson additional frontcourt depth heading into a season he’ll enter on the hot seat after winning just 19 games in his first two seasons in Columbia since getting hired from the Division II ranks. Options in late-June are always thin, but it appears Mizzou was able to grab a player that many were starting to covet.