Mizzou Links, 6-30-08

Quite a bit of good Mizzou news over the weekend to offset the bad taste of Keon Lawrence's impending transfer. First up...Chase Daniel: Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year.

Next, as The Beef mentioned Saturday...Christian Cantwell: Olympian. From The Trib:

Hoffa, Cantwell and Nelson were the favorites to qualify, but Cantwell was under the most pressure because four years ago he entered the trials ranked No. 1 in the world and failed to make the U.S. team. This time, the Eldon native was in fourth place after four rounds before coming through with his two best throws.

"The pressure is only what you do to yourself," Cantwell said. "I really don’t care what everyone else says, because everything is internalized within yourself. Today felt pretty good, though."

Now Cantwell will turn his attention to the Games, which will be held in August.

"This meet is only a qualifier. It’s only the beginning," he said. "I don’t plan to go to Beijing to get second."

Today's football recruiting links: 4-star Miami WR Rodney Smith is still into Mizzou, but...it's really far away; meanwhile, a number of Mizzou targets (Marlon Brown, Jheranie Boyd, Terry Hawthorne) find themselves on Rivals' WR category rankings. And switching to basketball, apparently 4-star KC guard Mike Dixon enjoyed himself in Columbia this weekend. If you believe what the guys at PM tell you, Dixon is the linchpin to a successful 2009 class...a class that has an extra scholarship to give away now.

Speaking of which, fine...let's talk about Keon's transfer. Joe Walljasper talks about the perpetual funk in which the Mizzou Basketball program resides...and has resided since this year's incoming freshman class at Mizzou was in 7th grade.

After a promising first year, not much has gone right for the coach - a player crime wave, a lousy season and now the out-of-the-blue departure of one of his team’s best players. Friday’s news that Keon Lawrence is transferring adds to my growing concern that we’re no closer to the end of this dark age of Missouri basketball than the beginning.

The word "when" has been replaced by "if" in discussions about Anderson eventually leading the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament. Mind you, a lot of this - including Lawrence’s transfer - can’t be blamed on Anderson. He inherited a dilapidated program.

But aside from outfoxing Bob Huggins for Stefhon Hannah, which seemed like a good idea at the time, Anderson hasn’t landed the sort of recruits who can fast-forward the rebuilding process. The Tigers will enter next season with enough experienced players to put together a decent starting five - Zaire Taylor, J.T. Tiller, Matt Lawrence, Leo Lyons and DeMarre Carroll - but beyond that, it’s mostly 18-year-olds you couldn’t pick out of a lineup.

Those 18-year-olds are where hope resides...especially after the togetherness they showed this weekend at the Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation All-Star Game.

The five recruits quickly bonded after arriving in Columbia for summer school earlier this month. "If you find one of the freshmen, you're going to find all of them," said speedy point guard Miguel Paul of Lakeland, Fla.

Each followed his prescribed role. Guard and scorer Marcus Denmon (Kansas City Hogan Prep) dominated early, scoring 12 of team's first 19 points in the first quarter. He finished with 21. Paul penetrated the lane, scoring layups and feeding teammates such as slashing, rangy forward Laurence Bowers of Memphis, Tenn. Guard and 3-point specialist Kim English (Fitchburg, Mass.) struggled with his shot, hitting one of nine 3-point attempts. Center Steve Moore (Independence Truman) patrolled the lane.

They carry their camaraderie off the court as well. They devoured wings while watching the NBA Finals and NBA draft at a restaurant in Columbia. All five walk around campus together. Some have even slept at Mizzou Arena.
Now...Keon Lawrence and JT Tiller were heroes of the DJ game as well (as Steve Walentik mentions), but...this was still a nice thing to see/read.

While we're in Debbie Downer mode, The Trib takes a look at Max Scherzer and his recovery from shoulder fatigue. Of course, I guess the Debbie Downer version would have been "the fatigue was actually a torn labrum" or something, so...hooray! Only shoulder fatigue!

Finally, back to football...SI's Stewart Mandel talks about what could end up being the next big trend among the major conferences--individual networks for individual conferences. If the SEC could be next...would the Big 12 follow? An interesting thought...

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