Young players step up for Missouri during overseas trip

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Missouri just finished up an overseas trip to Italy where they went 3-1 before an important season for a young team that needs to win now. Head coach Kim Anderson is sitting on the hot seat entering this season and he needs a lot of the pieces he’s recruited the last few years to come through for him this season.

The Italy trip showed that this team will show some signs of life this season with a lot of talented underclass players stepping up. The question is how this translates to the upcoming 2016-17 season?

The sophomore backcourt of Terrence Phillips, Cullen VanLeer and K.J. Walton was solid with VanLeer leading the team by putting up 13.8 points per game while shooting 46 percent from three-point range. Phillips was all over the place on the trip as he averaged 11.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game while Walton put up 8.0 points and 5.0 rebounds.

A pair of freshmen, Frankie Hughes (11.5 points per game) and Willie Jackson (11.3 points, 9.5 rebounds) also both averaged double-figures on the trip while the 6-foot-6 Jackson was a force on the glass.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the type of competition some teams face during overseas trips, but the Tigers have to be thrilled that they had so many younger guys step up and also gain extra experience before an important season. Missouri still won’t have very high expectations entering the season but they’ll have a chance to be much tougher every game.

(H/t: Nate Latsch,