"I’ve been given no ultimatum that you have to win so many games," Anderson said. "From our standpoint, I don’t think it changes in that every year, you try to improve."
"I think we’ll probably do things a little bit differently. I think the summer will be a little bit tougher. I think we still need to create a culture of Missouri basketball, and I’m not sure we’ve done that completely in the last year or so. But again, I go back to I think we have guys who are a) tired of losing, b) used to winning and c) want to win. I’m hoping that will create the type of leadership and the type of work ethic that we need."
Missouri is also headed to Italy this Summer
• The foreign tour Anderson mentioned will take the team to Italy for a series of exhibition games in August. The coach said the team will start preparing for the trip in late July and can hold up to 10 practices as they get ready to leave. The team is scheduled to be gone from Aug. 5-15.
"Foreign trip’s going to be fun," Barnett said. "That’s going to be very fun. That’ll definitely be sort of a team-building experience for sure. It’s not very often that you get to experience something like that, and to experience it together will only help the chemistry, and it’ll be very fun, as well. I’m sure that’ll be a memory that we’ll all share together for a long time."
Chemistry and Culture
The subject of Missouri basketball's team chemistry has been raised by more than a few fans, so I decided to see what had been said about it by coaches and players over the past year.
From April 8, 2015, when Anderson spoke at length after the end of last season:
The next thing I’d written down here was chemistry — team chemistry. I’m not sure it was the best. Again, I think we didn’t have that true leader, and I’m not knocking anybody. I’m just saying we just didn’t have that true leadership guy that maybe we needed as a team. I’m hopeful with younger guys getting older we’ll be able to develop that, and maybe we as a coaching staff will do a better job of helping develop leaders or helping develop better chemistry.
In a later part of that press conference, Anderson was asked specifically about the subject:
Q: On your current roster, is there an obvious candidate to be a leader that would help your chemistry?
A: I can only say I hope so. I hope so. I think there is, but I think everybody sometimes stands back and waits for that person to step up, and that’s kind of what we did this year. I think we kind of waited like, "Well, who’s going to step up?" It’s hard. It’s hard when you’re young. It is hard. We have to do a better job as a coaching staff, I think.
"The important thing for this team is going to be to play well together, to have good chemistry," Anderson said.
"That’s no breaking news," Anderson said. "Nothing against the guys, there just wasn’t great chemistry. This team’s been better, so far, but we haven’t had any adversity either."
Anderson sounds like he was hedging about how far the team had come during the preseason, but what about the players?
"I really believe everybody’s on the same page," Phillips said. "Everybody went through that last year, and I don’t think we really want to go back to that. So I think the chemistry, I think that’s a big part of the chemistry, why we’re so good right now and why we’re all on the same page."
• Wright said the chemistry among players isn’t the only thing that’s been better this season, when compared to a year ago. He said so too is the connection the players have with their coach.
Okay enough about "chemistry" what about "culture"?
From February 2, 2015, when Anderson had this to say about changing Mizzou's culture:
Our guys have been pretty good for the most part. Again, we have a lot of young guys who have never had probably had these demands made on their time as far as we’re trying to work out with our guys not only practice and strength but also some individual skill stuff to help them improve plus they have their academic work to take care of, so we are putting a lot of demands on their time, and I said this, and you’ve been in all of my press conferences, we’re probably like a couple other teams in our league, we need something good to happen. Hopefully, this week we can put together a good game and maybe come away with a win."
After seeing not only the early season statistics but also observing Missouri players looking like "deer in headlights" at times on the offensive end, Anderson has found himself wishing he would have made some changes to the work he did with the Tigers in the offseason.
"At some point, one of you are going to ask me, ‘Well, if there’s something you could do over, what would you do different from when you first got here?’ " Anderson said. "I spent a lot of time on defense because I wanted to change their culture of the way we played. I think I would have spent more time offensively, not necessarily putting in plays and stuff but maybe just getting a better read on guys and their abilities and what they need to get better at. I think we spent an awful lot of time on defense and probably we should have spent more time on offense."
From June 23, 2014, more from Missouri's freshmen, specifically D'Angelo Allen:
"They’re great guys. Like, when I came on my visit, they were telling me that we’re not going to just talk to me just to get me here. They said they were going to get me great. They want to get me to where I want to go, and everything like that. Coach Anderson’s a real good man. I want to see if he’s going to be a good coach, but I really think he is. He’s going to change this whole culture. We’re going to be a different team because he’s all about D. That’s what he did in D2—all defense, and look what he got, a D2 national championship."
Sam should have more on this later, but a big target for Mizzou looks like he'll stay out East.
Eron Gordon appears headed for the Big East or sun belt to play college basketball.
"It’s either Big East or warm weather," the Cathedral High School senior said Tuesday.
In what could be a shift toward a more European-focus for Mizzou recruiting, it sounds like Spanish forward Eric Villa intends to visit Missouri
Vila arrived in College Station to visit Texas A&M on Monday. His visit ran through Tuesday and is slated to visit Missouri on Wednesday and Thursday. Vila's last scheduled visit for Wake Forest. The 2016 prospect will be in Winston-Salem on Friday and Saturday.