My mother told me something that I’ll always hold with me: Two great people don’t make always make one great relationship. Sometimes the timing just isn’t right, the chemistry isn’t there, or their strengthens and weaknesses just don’t match up with yours. Whatever the reason may be, it’s just not going to work no matter how hard you try to fit the square peg into the round hole.
Missouri has reached that point with Kim Anderson. You could actually say that time was reached after the third straight home loss to North Carolina Central, Eastern Illinois, and Lispcomb, but we’ve definitely reached it.
Like most relationships, you enter into it with an open mind and remain optimistic. The first conversation I ever had with Kim Anderson, I told him that I wanted Missouri to hire Ben Howland, but I was willing to give him a chance because he loved and wanted Missouri to succeed the same way that I do. He understands and appreciates the hardships that have been involved with being a Tigers fan.
What he lacked in experience at the Division I level as a head coach, I was willing to overlook my skepticism to give him a fair shake because of his love for the university and his commitment to the job at hand.
Entering any relationship, there’s always some baggage with the ex. There was something about Frank Haith after that first season that was nearly impossible to fully embrace. Something always felt off about Haith, and it included a roster could never lived up to its promise. Remember the time we debated if Missouri had the best transfer class ever?
I was willing to embrace Kim Anderson because they were going to back to building a traditional roster. No more loading up on parts that didn’t really fit and mesh together. As a Tigers fan, you understood there were going to be some hardships, and the road wasn’t going to be easy, but given time you would see fruits. Well, folks, after three years, that tree is barren.
Missouri is a good job. It’s the only Power 5 school in a state with two major metropolitan areas that produces quality Division I talent and consistently puts guys into the League. The list of Missouri-born athletes that rejected Missouri and went on to D1 success and pro success could make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. There’s no reason Missouri should be this bad at basketball. None.
Kim Anderson is a great guy. I think anyone that has come into contact with him for any amount of time will tell you the same. It’s not media rhetoric. He’s a good dude. I think he’s a standup individual, he’s honest, and he’s a good basketball coach. I don’t think you can have the success that he had at the Division II level and be a bad coach.
I think Kim Anderson was ill prepared for what it was going to take to win at Missouri. No, he wasn’t handed a good situation. Yes, things happened at Missouri that were out of his control. That doesn’t excuse the product we see on the court.
Watching Missouri basketball isn’t fun. It’s not enjoyable. It’s a chore. It’s something you do out of responsibility because “that’s what real fans do.” At this moment, Missouri basketball has the two things you never want for your program: a lack of hope and optimism surrounding it coupled with an apathetic fanbase.
Kim Anderson will either retire to the great life that basketball has provided him or coach again at a lower level. I wish him the best. He got the opportunity that many people don’t get — he got a shot at his dream job.
Life isn’t a Disney movie though. This Missouri team certainly isn’t the Mighty Ducks. The good guys don’t always win, no matter how hard you try or want them to.
Missouri will hopefully move on and find a coach who can get the Tigers out of this mess. One thing is for certain, though: That person isn’t Kim Anderson.