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The 2016-17 Missouri basketball season begins tonight

It’s the beginning of what could be a make or break season for Kim Anderson

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Missouri Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

With the Black and Gold game taking place later tonight we officially begin year three in the Kim Anderson era.
If what you are about to read sounds familiar, it’s because it is. After a disastrous first year at the helm of Mizzou basketball (9-23, 3-15 in conference), Mizzou looked to rebound in year two, what occurred was more of the same. Mizzou went 10-22, 3-15 in conference again and didn’t participate in the SEC Tournament due to a self imposed ban resulting from Mizzou’s Compliance Office not vetting an offseason internship program that many players participated in.
If you’ve not been paying attention, here’s what went down since Mizzou finished the 2015-2016 season.

Ryan Rosburg fulfilled his eligibility after a stellar second half of his senior season, the only player recruited by Frank Haith to do so.

Dependent upon who you believe (believe Sam), Mizzou attempted to hire away Lorenzo Romar from Washington but was unsuccessful.

Kim Anderson’s entire first recruiting class departed (Tramaine Isabell to Drexel, Jakeenan Gant to Louisiana Lafayette, Namon Wright to Colorado and D’ Angelo Allen to TBD)

Mizzou brought in a very full recruiting class consisting of freshmen Frankie Hughes, Willie Jackson, Jakoby Kemp, Reed Nikko, and Mitchell Smith.

CJ Roberts of the 2017 class committed to Mizzou! And he’s excited to be on the way!

Mizzou also brought in former Texas transfer Jordan Barnett and JUCO transfer from Ranger College, Jordan Geist.

Terrence Phillps, Kevin Puryear, Cullen VanLeer and Russell Woods didn’t go anywhere!

Corey Tate, after spending one year at Mizzou quit and took a similar gig on Travis Ford’s staff down the road at SLU.

Mizzou took advantage of the opportunity to travel overseas and spent part of their vacation in Italy gaining valuable bonding time, practice time and playing time as the roster was turned over for the second time in two years.

Mizzou hired former Loyola College assistant Emanuel Dildy to take Corey Tate’s vacant position.

Needless to say, it’s been a busy seven months for Mizzou basketball…again. As we enter year three of the Kim Anderson era, the state of Missouri Basketball continues to be troubling. Typically in year three is when you expect incumbent coaches to make their biggest jump, having solidified their vision for their program and their initial recruiting class has had two years in system and are ready to take the next step. That will not be the case this year and Mizzou will more than likely have to make a big jump and show real progress in both the win column but in the computer projections as well, whether that be KenPom or the RPI.

That all said, what should you, the fan be looking for tonight as Mizzou heads into this upcoming season, with their first official game of the season being two weeks away against Alabama A&M. Mizzou does have a closed practice with Creighton (as they did last year) and while news will leak out, we won’t be privy to the goings on directly.

Jordan Barnett, get a peak at him! He won’t be able to play in an official capacity until the end of the first semester, so this is your shot to see what he can do in game action.

Do we see Cullen VanLeer run the point? Mizzou lost two thirds of it’s back court this offseason and Terrence Phillips can’t log the same amount of minutes he did last year and still be successful. We know Geist will back up TP, but this is not his natural positon.

How does VanLeer’s stroke from the outside look at game speed? His shooting was not strong last year and for Mizzou to be successful he’s got to rebound (basketball puns are fun!) from last season and become a valuable contributor to the program.

Can the team shoot? Quite simply, for the past two years Mizzou couldn’t hit a shot and would get blown out of games early with an inability to shoot their way back into games.

Which freshman stands out? In Europe it was Frankie Hughes. Who looks the most polished and most likely to contribute this season?

How does Reed Nikko look after multiple hip surgeries? Can he be counted on to contribute this season?

Is Jakoby Kemp the next Michael Jordan or the next Wilt Chamberlin? This is mostly tongue in cheek, but some Mizzou fans expectations for the incoming freshman seem to have been sky high.

Does Kim Anderson appear to be having a good time? A happy coach is a happy team!

Have a fun Halloween and Hoops everyone, let’s hope this is the beginning of a new era of winning in Mizzou Basketball and not just more of the same.