SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON - Josh D. Weiss-US PRESSWIRE
Time to focus on CURRENT Mizzou basketball players, time to say goodbye to Mizzou football seniors, and ... SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON (and Willy Mo).
Mizzou Basketball Links
The Missourian: Missouri guard Michael Dixon Jr. announces transfer from school
PowerMizzou: Dixon, Mizzou part ways
ESPN.com (CBB blog): Missouri-Dixon fallout
CBS Sports: Former UConn big man Alex Oriakhi regains swagger, game returns with Mizzou
But now Oriakhi is allowed to play though his blunders. He doesn't get yanked in the first minute, as was the case with Calhoun. Shortly after the final buzzer sounded and he sat in the locker room, Oriakhi sent Missouri point guard and his former summer teammate Phil Pressey a text message, inquiring about the possibility of playing in Columbia for his final season. Both of Oriakhi's parents were 100 percent behind his decision to transfer, his father being vocal with the local media and on message boards regarding his dislike for Calhoun. Oriakhi flirted with Kentucky, but he knew where he wanted to be -- with Pressey, arguably the top pass-first guy in the country.
"He always made everything easy for me," Oriakhi said. "It's easy, so easy. You can average eight points a game just off Phil's passes. He's the best point guard in the country."
Now Oriakhi can't stop smiling, laughing and beaming -- and not just because he's playing with Pressey. He's quickly become a leader for Mizzou, which is ironic since it's exactly what Calhoun and the Huskies were lacking a year ago.
"Alex is our emotional leader," senior teammate Laurence Bowers said. "He can be having a terrible game, but he's always smiling. He understands the importance of being a great teammate and that rubs off on the guys on the bench."
Oriakhi wants to turn the page on his UConn career, but isn't exactly hesitant to mince words when the topic of his former coach is broached. His reasoning for him receiving decreased playing time a year ago, behind Drummond and Tyler Olander, is that Calhoun needed him to stick around another year because it was clear Drummond was a virtual lock to leave for the NBA.
"He's a Hall of Fame coach and I'm not taking anything away from him, but what he did was wrong in my opinion," Oriakhi said. "If you helped win a national title and then were on the bench, how would you feel? In my three years, I never, ever talked back to him. I kept quiet and did exactly what he told me. I got good grades, played hard and never got in trouble."
"My role is the energy guy," Criswell said, and he seems to be embracing it. "Coach just tells us to go out there and be tough, play our tails off, so that's what I try to do."
Saturday's 68-65 victory over Virginia Commonwealth in the third-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis showed just how big a lift he can give Missouri when he's doing all those little things.
Criswell played 16 minutes in the game played in Paradise Island, Bahamas, but he still got his hands on seven rebounds. He was on the court in crunch time and stood his ground to take a charge from Rams point guard Darius Theus, giving the Tigers a much-needed defensive stop while clinging to a one-point lead with 57 seconds remaining. He also helped MU keep possession seconds later when he dived on the floor after the ball got knocked loose from Pressey.
"Those are effort plays," Coach Frank Haith said after the game. "Those are team-winning plays, and we saw that tonight."
Haith had to be particularly proud of the charge because he's been harping on his team's need to develop that skill and add it to its defensive repertoire after it became such an important tactic for members of last season's team, particularly guard-turned-forward Kim English, while protecting the rim with an undersized roster.
And From The 'Everybody Does It (In Every Sport)' Department, I guess...
The Trib: MU penalized for minor violations
Mizzou Football Links
SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOON (And Willy Mo)...
Shutdown Corner: Drew Brees has first five-pick game in loss to Falcons
NFL.com: William Moore picks off Brees
NFL.com: Sean Weatherspoon interception
SB Nation (Andrew Sharp): Thursday Night Football is everything that's wrong with the NFL
PowerMizzou: 2014 Fla. WR talks Mizzou offer
PowerMizzou: 2012 Class Review
MUtigers.com: Tiger Senior Class to Be Honored at Football Banquet
We Are Mizzou: 2012 Mizzou Football Seniors
Other Football Links
SI.com: College football playoff mock selection committee
NY Times: Firing College Football Coaches, With Little Evidence It Pays Off
Mizzou Diamond Sports Links
MUtigers.com: Mizzou Baseball Announces 2013 Schedule
SimmonsField.com: Official 2013 Mizzou Baseball Schedule has been released
Other Mizzou Links
Mizzou Women's Basketball
MUtigers.com: Crafton, Eye Carry Tigers to 80-51 Win
MUtigers.com: Missouri vs. SEMO Post Game Notes
MUtigers.com: Missouri vs. SEMO Post Game Quotes
The Trib: Missouri women down SEMO with treys
The Missourian: Three-point shooting propels Missouri for win over SEMO
KBIA Sports: Mizzou women outpace Southeast Missouri in 80-51 win
- Mizzou Swimming & Diving
MUtigers.com: Tiger Men First After Day One of Mizzou Invite
MUtigers.com: Tiger Women First After Day One of Mizzou Invite
The Missourian: School records fall for Missouri swimmers at Mizzou Invite
MUtigers.com: Hu Earns Capital One Academic All-America Honors