Kim Anderson

Can Kim Anderson win at Missouri by keeping local players home?


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.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.