When coaches leave a school for another job, it’s not unusual for one or two of their players to follow. And when that coach is a longtime friend? It’s a sure thing, right?
That’s why Phil Pressey staying at Missouri was a surprise when the news emerged in May. Not transferring to Arkansas to continue playing for Mike Anderson (who roomed with Pressey’s dad in college)? Why not?
The Columbia (Mo.) Tribune finally got an answer last week. Turns out it was a straightforward solution.
“I didn’t know who was going to be the coach,” he told the paper. “I didn’t know where I was going to be in that situation or what I was going to do at the end of the year, but after talking to my parents, we just thought for me the best thing to do was to stay.”
He also said the prospect of sitting out a season to accommodate transfer rules and the prospect of playing more with his older brother, Matt, were big factors.
The uber-quick Pressey, who averaged 6.5 points and 3.9 assists as a freshman, also says he’s developed a bond with new coach Frank Haith, who promises to put the ball in the point guard’s hands more frequently in half-court sets. That’ll be a departure from Anderson’s motion offense the Tigers ran last year.
“He told me from Day 1 that he’s a guard coach and he’s going to put a lot of faith in me,” Pressey told the paper. “I like that in a coach, that they take time to get to know me and figure out what I like to do and how I like to play other than a coach just coming in and telling me what they’re going to do. … I talk to him pretty much every other day or every day, so I’m building a connection. I like that.”
Still, it’s not like Pressey’s the only option Missouri has at guard. With Michael Dixon and Marcus Denmon both back in Columbia next season, it’s unclear just how much more Pressey will be handling the ball. He’s not their primary scorer and split time with Dixon at the point last season.
But when a team’s vying for the conference title, that’s a nice problem to have.
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