Kim Anderson is coming back. Whether you agree or disagree with the move, it's nice to at least know what is happening so that Coach Anderson and his staff can work on making next year much better than the last two. With a record of 19-44 over the last two seasons there was serious reason to doubt that Rhoades would retain Anderson. In the end it sounds like he either decided he needed another season to evaluate, or more likely, couldn't find traction with the kind of candidate he wanted to land.
From Mack Rhoades:
"Mizzou Basketball has a proud tradition of excellence and we have high expectations for the program and our other teams. We expect our student-athletes to compete with integrity and class and to pursue academics with vigor; we expect our coaches to act with integrity and to serve as role models for our students; and we expect our teams to compete for championships.
This men's basketball season was a difficult one for our student-athletes, our coaches and for our fans, who continue to support Mizzou through challenging times. No one is satisfied with the number of wins our team has earned in the past two seasons. However, I remain resolute in my belief Mizzou can and should be a nationally relevant basketball program which competes for SEC and NCAA Championships.
Earlier this week I met with Coach Anderson to reaffirm my vision for the program and share with him my expectations for next year. No one wants to win more than Coach Anderson. He came into a very challenging situation two years ago and he is passionate about returning his alma mater to greatness. Consistent with our normal end-of-year processes, in the coming days Coach Anderson and I will review the season in greater depth and discuss any suggested changes that could benefit the program moving forward.
As we turn our attention to next season, we remain fully committed to providing our coaches and student-athletes with the resources and support they need to win at the highest level. I look forward to working with Coach Anderson to reestablish the proud and winning tradition of Mizzou Basketball."
Anderson also released a joint statement with Rhoades:
"The University of Missouri Men’s Basketball program holds a special place in my heart and has played such a huge part in my life. Making this program great has been our goal since taking the job and obviously we’ve met a lot of adversity these first two seasons. No one is more disappointed than me, but no one is more motivated to get this program competing at a high level again.
Mack and I have met several times in recent weeks to discuss the future of the program and the direction we need to go. Mack understands the challenges we’ve faced and has been very supportive. He indicated to me from the very beginning that we’d review the year in detail once the season was complete. We started that process on Monday and will continue to work through it in the weeks ahead.
Our goal remains to compete and to win at the highest level and to do so with integrity and class. We will continue to evaluate every aspect of our program and will thoughtfully consider any options we believe can make us better. I look forward to working with Mack, our administration, our coaches, and most importantly our student-athletes to make our program one that our great fans can and should be proud of."
I don't expect any major staffing changes, unless Steve Shields and Brad Loos keep their current positions is considered "staffing changes". I doubt Loos returns to his position until his daughter is in better health, and the Tigers need Shields experience on the bench.
No matter how you feel about Kim Anderson, you have to understand that he wants to win as badly as the rest of us do. Getting year three will give us a lot more insight into whether Anderson's vision is one that can lead to success. I said this just a few days ago:
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that Kim Anderson is the guy for the job. I don't think he's proven that he can win games regularly at this level, even remotely. Are Mizzou fans patient enough for a long slow rebuild? It doesn't appear so because nobody is showing up to games. There is a vocal minority of fans who seem to support Anderson no matter what, but they aren't turning up to watch the team play. With that said, I do think Kim should get a third year. The APR situation isn't great, and bringing in a new coach could make it worse if some of the players decide or have it decided for them they won't be back. The APR issue will likely be solidified by the end of next season, you'll have a system president and a chancellor in place, and you will have given a good man an honest shake at turning things around. Year 3 of Kim Anderson would absolutely be the make or break season for him. As he would have a roster nearly full of guys he picked, and the expectations would increase because we'd see what his real vision is, and not one that involved trying to make do with what Haith left him.
I'm not one of these who think this roster was cratered by Frank Haith. There was a decent list of players in place, enough to win more games than they won. But Mike Alden knew the type of guy he was bringing in when he hired Kim Anderson, a virtual opposite of somebody like Frank Haith.
There are a few things that need to happen this offseason to renew some faith, the Tigers need to land two players who can help next year. They don't have to be All-Stars, but they need to have the potential to be All-Conference. They are recruiting Cheickna Dembele, Deshawn Corprew and Kyran Bowman, and I feel that all three could be those kinds of players.
A big offseason is ahead of the Tigers.