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R.I.P Mizzou Basketball 2016-17

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The run came to an end at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, ending the Kim Anderson era at Missouri.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Mississippi vs Missouri Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

A heartfelt come from behind win over Auburn prolonged it, but ultimately facing a hot shooting Ole Miss team playing with confidence was too much for the spirited Tigers to overcome.

The joyous memories of Kevin Puryear’s game winning three to extend Kim Anderson’s tenure for at least another night have faded enough to be confronted with the cold reality of it’s end. The season is over, and Kim Anderson has officially resigned as head coach at the request of the Athletic Director, we move forward.

Soon a new coach will be announced, new players will be recruited, perhaps some existing players will leave. There will be turnover with assistant coaches and graduate assistants, things will change and hopefully for the better. When Jim Sterk spoke with reporters in Nashville, he hinted that he hoped the change would be quick. At this point, I think the quicker the better.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Mississippi vs Missouri Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In three years, Kim Anderson won 27 games, and lost 68. It’s been three long and very difficult years to be a Missouri basketball fan. And for a moment I think you can appreciate the effort and energy this young group brought on a nearly nightly basis, despite being confronted with losses at nearly every turn.

There is enough of a core group of players for the next coach to build upon, but the talent still certainly needs to be upgraded if Missouri expects to contend for an NCAA tournament berth, much less an SEC or National title. With Kevin Puryear, Jordan Barnett, Terrence Phillips and K.J. Walton on board for another season you can envision things getting better with a few more pieces added.

In the coming days and weeks we’ll do our best to cover the changes, see who is getting recruited and watch the formation of a new generation of Missouri basketball.

Reasons for Optimism

Whenever you change the head coach, there is reason to be optimistic. Each coaching hire brings a new perspective, and we can be positive their vision for the University of Missouri men’s basketball program holds conference and national titles in its future.

Whoever is hired is going to breathe life into the program and hopefully renew confidence in guys that has been shaken.

Reasons for Pessimism

I guess you can question if Missouri will make the right hire. What if they don’t get the guys they’re targeting and end up with the next in a line of disappointing hires? Truth is, we won’t know that for a few years. It’s possible for the wrong guy to be hired, but at this point I think Sterk knows who he can target and land and I believe he’ll bring somebody in who will change the program for the better.

But I don’t know, you do you I guess.

Where I stand

I’ve written a lot of stuff over the last three years and I’m happy to be moving on. I like and respect Kim Anderson. I’ve enjoyed my conversations with Rob Fulford and Brad Loos. The few players I’ve talked to have been enjoyable young men to visit with. I’m saddened for the good people who played hard and worked hard and didn’t get to enjoy success at the level most Missouri players and coaches have enjoyed.

That’s what made last night so sweet and fun to watch.

Joy.

To watch good people celebrate was fun. If only for one last time an very unexpected and dramatic fashion. But it wasn’t meant to last, it never was. I don’t take joy in Kim Anderson losing his job, or his assistants looking for new homes next year. We wanted these men to succeed because we knew it mattered to them. It wasn’t enough.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Auburn vs Missouri Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So we turn the page, after three years of carnage, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to Kim Anderson, Brad Loos, Steve Shields, Rob Fulford, Emanuel Dildy and Paul Rorvig. Thanks to Russell Woods who takes his uniform off for the last time tonight. Thanks to Jordan Barnett, Kevin Puryear, K.J. Walton, Terrence Phillips, Cullen Vanleer, Jordan Geist, Frankie Hughes, Reed Nikko, Mitchell Smith and Jakoby Kemp. Thanks to Adam Wolf, Brett Rau, and Trevor Glassman. Thanks guys. It didn’t go as planned, but thank you nonetheless.

A friend on twitter recommended this poem tonight. It felt fitting.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bloomington to be born?

-William Butler Yeats

Ok, I changed the last line. There is reason for hope in the future.