Since the sudden departure of former head basketball coach and life long nomad Frank Haith for Tulsa on April 18th, Mizzou basketball has had a wild 6 months.
Kim Anderson returned home, and there was a mild freak out, could he coach, could he recruit, was this all just a play to a certain sector of the alumni base, could he keep his players and incoming commits?
For all but one of these questions we do have our answers:
- Kim Anderson can recruit, not only retaining Jakeenan Gant and Namon Wright, but bringing in new recruits Keith Shamburger,Tramaine Isabell, D'Angelo Allen and Montaque "Teki" Gill-Caeser.
- Kim Anderson can clearly also recruit coaching talent, retaining the services of former Frank Haith and Rick Pitino assistant Tim Fuller, while also pulling in former Prep School Coach and recruiting guru Rob Fulford.
- Kim Anderson can also bring the hammer down if necessary when a player fails to live up to the ideals that he has set for a Missouri student athlete, dismissing Torren Jones and disciplining Jakeenan Gant and D'Angelo Allen after an off campus dust up that landed both players arrested but never charged.
The one question that remains unanswered (and for some the least important based on his history) is can he coach at the Division 1 level? Now, tonight's Black and Gold exhibition between the entire roster won't be able to give us that answer fully, but after six months of talk, it's time to lace up those shoes and see what these Tigers have been learning under their new mentor. So what should we be looking for in tonight's game? The following are the key elements to keep your eye on to give us an idea on not only the progress of last year's squad but what we can expect going forward as we enter the non conference side of our schedule.
- What does the defense look like? For the past six months, we've heard that the team ate breakfast together and practiced defense, and that's it. Let's see what style the team plays and if there is any semblance of a plan consider it a victory after the past three years.
- How does Wes Clark look leading the offense as a full blown starter? Last year Clark got minutes leading the point but was invariably replaced by shooting guard turned point guard and current Laker, Jordan Clarkson. Kim Anderson did bring in senior transfer Keith Shamburger from Hawaii and freshman Tramaine Isabell, but Clark needs to take that next step if this team is to succeed down the road.
- Can Deuce Bello be the lock down defender this team has been lacking since the end of J.T. Tiller's eligibility? Pay attention to who he's on and what kind of production they have. Bello has been touted as the next shutdown defender that Mizzou has been lacking, let's see if that's the case.
- Has Keanau Post truly found his game and his aggression? Word around the campfire is that Post has surpassed Ryan Rosburg, so check out his game to see if he's truly stepped it up a notch. This is even more important with the news that JW3 is out until at least the William Jewell game.
- How good a shooter is Gill-Caeser? With Cam Biedscheid leaving the program, the incoming freshman has been mentioned as a potential leading scorer for the Tigers. How is he at creating his own shot, and how dominant does he look?
- Will Kim Anderson enter the dunk contest and throw down?
Don't miss the Black and Gold game tomorrow night. Doors open at 530. Lots of hoops AND a big time dunk contest. See you there! #hooptime— Kim Anderson (@CoachAndersonMU) October 14, 2014
It's time to stop all the talk and get down to the business of basketball, so if you're able head on out to Mizzou Arena at 5:30 pm CT and cheer on this year's Tigers squad, who knows, perhaps we'll see the return of the beautiful game and maybe, just maybe our new head coach with a windmill dunk to blow the roof off the arena!