Posted on: October 4, 2011 4:39 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2011 5:31 pm
By Jeff Goodman
UPDATED with quotes from Frank Haith below
Missouri could ill-afford to lose Laurence Bowers.
New Tigers coach Frank Haith has an abundance of perimeter players from Marcus Denmon, Kim English, Michael Dixon, Phil Pressey and Matt Pressey.
What he didn't inherit was much size up front - and now he'll be without the 6-foot-8, 220-pound Bowers, who is done for the season after tearing his ACL.
Eric Blumberg of KOMU-TV broke the news on Tuesday afternoon and CBSSports.com has confirmed the injury.
Bowers was second on the team in scoring (11.6) last season, first in rebounding (6.1) and also second in the Big 12 in blocks.
Now Haith will have to go with a four-guard lineup at times in an effort to get his most talented players on the court.
That may result in senior Kim English having to defend power forwards.
“This is just difficult news for an outstanding young man and representative of our athletics department,” Frank Haith said in a statement. “I have had a chance to talk with Laurence a few times and he is doing well. I know he is anxious to get started on his rehabilitation and he will continue to be a big part of the 2011-12 team. It’s obviously a tough loss for us as a basketball team. He’s an All-Big 12 type player. He’s one of our best defenders and he brings a great deal of versatility, but our primary concern is to help Laurence through the recovery process.”
The lone big man with legitimate experience now is that of post player Ricardo Ratliffe, who averaged 10.6 points and 6 boards per game last season.
If Haith opts to go with a traditional lineup, he'll be forced to use either 6-9 senior Steve Moore - who averaged just two points per game last season - or redshirt freshman Kadeem Green, who missed last year while recovering from a torn Achilles.
This is a significant blow to a Missouri team that some believe had the talent to compete for a Big 12 title.
Posted on: April 29, 2011 2:13 pm
Posted by Eric Angevine
The hiring of Frank Haith to run the University of Missouri basketball program next season was baffling for many reasons. His record at Miami is not exactly sterling. He doesn't project a super-charismatic personality. He's not a star.
Perhaps the most difficult part of the transition will be the abrupt change in playing style that Mike Anderson's guys will have to embrace. A running, gunning team under Anderson - one that didn't rebound or play inside particularly well - the Tigers must now learn to grind a bit more. Learning the offensive sets and positioning will take some time throughout the season, but the transformation of the team has begun already - in the weight room.
Haith hired strength and conditioning coach Todor Pandov to put the wiry Tigers through the wringer this spring and summer. The son of a Bulgarian heavyweight boxer, Pandov learned his trade while recovering from a basketball injury, suffered during his stint as a forward with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers between 1999-2004. The Columbia Tribune reports that Pandov has Mizzou's greyhounds working out three times a week as they seek to add a little bulldog to the mix.
Given the drastic change in culture in Columbia, it's rather surprising that none of the Tigers have announced an intention to transfer yet. It's quite possible that Haith knows what he's doing, and will find a way to marry that innate speed with new bulk, but the transition has to be jarring for players who spent more time doing wind sprints than heaving barbells around in the past.
According to kenpom.com, Missouri had the nation's 14th-highest adjusted tempo last season, with 72 possessions per contest. Miami's final season under Haith was played at a pace of 65.5 possessions per game, good for 236th. Not sure how easy it's going to be to put the brakes on these guys.
This will be an interesting team to watch next season. Anderson left plenty of talent on the team, but the Big 12 will look very different next season, with only the league's top ten teams around now that Nebraska and Colorado have defected. Perhaps its as good a time as any to try something new with the Tigers. The good news, according to Pandov, is that the holdovers from the previous regime "(have) great attitudes and have been willing to learn."
Everyone buying in is the first step. If Haith has accomplished that already, we may be in for a surprise at Mizzou somewhere down the road.
Photo: US Presswire