One of the big questions surrounding new Missouri head coach Kim Anderson is whether the 58-year-old, first-time Division I head coach can recruit at the highest level of college basketball.
Anderson has answered every question imaginable about his ability to coach by taking Central Missouri to three Division II Final Fours and winning the Division II national title in 2014, but can he go from recruiting fringe D-I players to top 100 blue-chip recruits?
That’s the major question surrounding Anderson, and while he’s experienced recruiting at the highest level as an 11-year assistant at Mizzou — among two stints — and seven years at Baylor, Anderson has spent the last 12 seasons in the Division II ranks.
But one thing that will significantly aid Anderson’s recruiting efforts are his deep ties to his home state of Missouri. Unlike previous head coaches Quin Snyder, Mike Anderson and Frank Haith, Kim Anderson is deeply committed to the Missouri basketball scene and has spent most of his coaching life within the state.
As a Missouri native, a Mizzou alum and a respected coach among the high school coaches in the state of Missouri, Anderson should be able to get local talent to at least consider staying home and building up the local Tigers.
In an interesting read from John Walljasper of the Columbia Tribune, it mentions how Haith used transfers and junior college players to quickly get players on campus instead of developing local relationships. Haith declined to speak at the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association fall clinic during his first season at Missouri and Walljasper’s story paints a picture of a Missouri staff under Haith that just didn’t take the time to make many local connections.
With Anderson, the local approach will definitely change.
“(Anderson) has ties with high school coaches around the state and I think values the talent in the state as well as the high school coaches who work with that talent,” Lee’s Summit West Coach Michael Schieber said to Walljasper. “If he can get the top-tier talent that has left the state over the past 15-plus years to stay and play for Missouri, he will most definitely have success.”
Missouri and Anderson will have their work cut out for them recruiting talented local players like Jimmy Whitt in the 2015 class or top-5 prospect Jayson Tatum in the 2016 class, but by retaining a valuable recruiting asset in assistant coach Tim Fuller and also focusing his efforts on local players, Anderson could win at Missouri by keeping local players home.