#19 Missouri: 2010-11 Basketball Preview

    
November 14th, 2010

Overall Rank: #19

Conference Rank: #3 Big 12 Conference

 

2009-10: 23-11, 10-6

2009-10 postseason: NCAA

Coach: Mike Anderson (88-46 at Missouri, 177-87 overall)

 

Coach Mike Anderson always gets the job done whether it was at UAB or now at Missouri. His postseason success has been extremely impressive and a stellar recruiting class will give him the depth he needs to run his fastest 40 minutes in basketball. In the past that system has allowed Coach Anderson to neutralize more talented teams. Now it is Missouri who has the talent and that should be very scary for the rest of the Big 12.

 

Key Losses: G Miguel Paul, F Keith Ramsey, F Tyler Stone, G Zaire Taylor, G J.T. Tiller

 

Key Newcomers:

The Tigers return some talent, but they need to find depth out of this top notch class to run Coach Anderson’s system. Phil Pressey may do more than just provide depth. The 5-10 point guard could be starting from day one. Pressey is an unselfish point guard who will find all of the other scoring threats on this team, but he does not lack the ability to score himself. His older brother, Matt Pressey, is also headed to Columbia from the junior college ranks. The elder Pressey is a consistent all-around scorer and should provide some experienced depth to the backcourt along with sharp shooter Ricky Kreklow. Tony Mitchell is the big name in this class, but the small forward is ineligible for the first semester and will remain a question until he can get his academics in order by January. If he is eligible, he will make a huge impact. Arguably the best junior college recruit in the nation is not getting as much attention as he should. Ricardo Ratliffe will give this team a much needed boost of talent and depth in the frontcourt and may end up being the most important newcomer, even including Mitchell. Another forward, Kadeem Green, is coming off of a torn ACL and how quickly he can recover will determine how many minutes he can play.

 

Backcourt:

The group on the perimeter lost defensive stalwarts J.T. Tiller and Zaire Taylor. What returns is a trio of experienced players led by Kim English. English is on the shortlist for Big 12 Player of the Year accolades after averaging 14.0 points and 3.4 rebounds last year. English may not be the most consistent long range shooter on the team, but he still connected on 37.0 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. With his 6-6 frame, English can easily shoot over most opponents or drive the lane and finish above the rim. Marcus Denmon is the pure shooter on the team and was second on Missouri in scoring despite starting just four contests. The former sixth man is ready to be more than a shooter off of the bench and step into a starting role and a leadership role. Coach Anderson needs to have a couple ball handlers on the floor at the same time and it remains to be seen if Denmon can be one of those guys. Mike Dixon can. The 6-1 sophomore started eight games last year and was a very important player replacing Tiller or Taylor and did so without as much of a drop off in production as most would expect. He will only be better with a year of experience under his belt.

 

Frontcourt:

Laurence Bowers, a 6-8 junior, really came into his own last season. He ended the year averaging 10.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks. He is now the go-to-guy under the basket, but he can also stretch out the defense with his mid-range jumper. Justin Safford missed some time with a knee injury last year and that was when the lack of frontcourt depth really hurt the Tigers. However, Safford should be ready to go and add to his 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds he averaged last season. As the lone senior on the roster, Safford will be asked to be a leader again as well.

 

Who to Watch:

Much of the depth up front will have to be handled by the newcomers and Steve Moore. Moore, a 6-9 junior, had to play more minutes when Safford was hurt and did a decent job on the glass and defensively. Yet, even with Ratliffe on the team, Moore needs to play more minutes this year and be more productive, especially in the scoring department. The other option is sophomore John Underwood who has a ton of potential, but rarely got the chance to show it off last season.

 

Final Projection:

The offense is in great shape and this team has enough depth to go at least 11 deep once again. That will allow Coach Anderson to rotate players in and out as necessary and there is really nobody who will have to play more than 25 minutes per contest. The big intangible for this group is replacing the defense left behind by Tiller and Taylor. Last season some of the returning guards let those two handle a lot of the tough defending and now they have to step it up on that end of the floor.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Phil Pressey, Freshman, Guard, DNP last season

Marcus Denmon, Junior, Guard, 10.4 ppg

Kim English, Junior, Guard, 14.0 ppg

Laurence Bowers, Junior, Forward, 10.2 ppg

Justin Safford, Senior, Forward, 8.6 ppg

 

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