As I said in the Musings, I wanted to keep this separate, and likely over here on the diary side. Part of that was that I think the Musings are more news than personal thoughts (though at times not too much more), and this is likely to be a stance that some disagree with. Anyway, this has been kicking around in my head since the news broke yesterday, let's see what a night's sleep did to it. But a word of warning....if you have an inkling for where I am going with it and do not agree...you may not want to read it :-)
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In the interest of full disclosure:
I WANTED Mike Anderson.
The Boy can back me up on this. When the coaching search went on (which brought about the original Mizzou Sanity if I recall correctly), his was a name I wanted in the conversation. Not saying I was against the Altman's and Dixon's and whoever else (save Huggins), but I liked what I saw from afar. I thought he was a stand-up guy who got a lot out of his players, which to me said motivator and coach.
As has been noted here, I have my reservations about the "system" he chooses to run. I do not believe (still, and the past couple of weeks have only cemented it more to me) that the system is going to work here. I think the level of athlete in the Big XII is such their ability to break the pressure we put in the back court has been on display. In the front court, I dont see enough to make me believe that we are either going to be able to stop a jump shot inside the arc or not foul you on your way to the hoop because we tend to be out of position, and it has gotten worse as the year has gone on.
But a more worrisome trend is starting to develop. In truth, it had developed already, but this is going to very much bring it to the forefront over the next couple of days, especially as more facts about this incident come out. All we know is this. Stefhon Hannah was at a nightclub where trouble had already occurred many previous times, and he had his jaw broken in a fight. Whether he was in the fight or breaking it up as some report is really irrelevant to me, and I will tell you why. This is the FIFTH person on this team to get into trouble with the law since Anderson came on the scene. This is the SECOND person to be physcially harmed (in the exact same way evidently) off the court.
Now, when watching the KSDK Sports Show last night, someone from the Sporting News made something close to this statement.
"Well, these guys getting into trouble are not all his guys."
I am tired of this reasoning/excuse, whether it pertains to game play or off the court issues.
Four people from this team are specifically not his (Lyons, M. Lawrence, Brown and Horton). With everyone else, Coach Anderson had the final say as to whether or not they came aboard. And yes, our scholarship situation was strange and necessitated our taking a big class in his first year, but that was still his class. This means that 8 of 12 (not counting Berardini or Taylor) are his....two-thirds.
Of the five which have been in trouble, ONE was a holdover from the previous coach (Grimes). And while this will make some of you cringe, more people who have been in trouble are in fact related to Coach Anderson than were brought in by Coach Snyder (Grimes vs. Anderson Jr./Carroll). That is not to say I have an issue with the man's family, but just to make the point. But through all of this, the most troubling thing is this.
This past summer, these players "witnessed" (not literally I do not believe) one of their own getting shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. As documented, a fraction of an inch in a different direction, and we do not even know if Demarre is able to walk right now. And sure, the blow was softened by the fact that he was not only going to be able to come back, but that he seemed to be a part of the altercation with benevolent intentions. And maybe Hannah was as well. But here is what really irks me about this.
#1 - The Coach instituted a "no tolerance" policy about this sort of behavior...as has been grumbled from CoMo for much of the year, it sounded like this was not being followed by at least some of the players. Clearly, this not only clinched it, but in a VERY public way. The players are not listetning to their coach.
#2 - More importantly, these players experienced one of their own being SHOT. I cannot imagine that this statement was not made in some version of this. "Do not put yourself in a position where this could happen to you." Guess what...our point guard, the one we count on to make good decisions on the court (no comment on that), did not heed this and made the ultimate bad decision.
Folks, we are very quickly reaching critical mass here. The play on the court is certainly one thing. It is turning people away more and more of late. Added to that, people continue to hold Snyder and/or Alden against this program and are not showing up either. But even worse to me now is how we are being (again) embarassed in the media for what happens off the court.
I want to continue to believe that Coach Anderson is the right man for this job, and I still believe he is the stand-up guy I thought he was when we hired him. But now I have to not only question his on-court coaching and why our team does not seem to be getting any better or making adjustments to correct some big problems, but also question how much HIS players are listening to him and respecting him.
The latter is of FAR greater concern to me, because I believe it is the latter that will lead to his dismissal far quicker than the former at whatever point down the road.