Mike Anderson has been rumored to be in the running for the vacant head coaching job at Arkansas. (Photo by Karen Mitchell)
KBIA Sports Extra held a group chat Monday to review what happened this season in Missouri Tigers men’s basketball. The first post in this series deals with the rumors circulating regarding the future of head coach Mike Anderson. Will he go to Arkansas? Will he remain at Missouri? The guys discussed the rumors and broke down the situation.
Darren Hellwege: I talked some guys in Fayetteville this weekend, and I talked quite a bit with (KOMU’s Chris) Gervino about this last night. I really don’t think right now Mike is their number-one target. Buzz Williams at Marquette is going to really be a hot commodity, and I think that he is perfect for Arkansas. The only problem is he’s also perfect for Oklahoma. He’s a guy from Dallas, he recruits very well in Texas. He’s got three or four kids from Texas up to Milwaukee to play for Marquette. That’ll tell you how well this guy can recruit in Texas. I think that’s probably their number-one shot, and I think Turgeon from Texas A&M is a possible target. I think Arkansas likes the idea of Turgeon. Arkansas has a lot of money, they’ve got good facilities, that’s a program that should be doing more than it does. They have made mistakes in the past with this hire a couple of times with sort of this attitude – and I’ve watched it forever because Oklahoma State has done this for as long as I can remember. They like bringing in people from the family. And they’re looking now from trying to get away from that.
And because of that and because they’ve got this connotation with Mike Anderson of “yes, it was a time when they won a national championship,” but there’s also still some negative vibes about the way things ended with Nolan (Richardson). I know there are some people – how many, you can never tell – but there are definitely some people within this fan base that aren’t loving the idea of bringing a Nolan Richardson assistant back. So, I’m not sure Mike is as hot in Arkansas as the people here (in Columbia) want to think. And even if he did get to that point, I’m not sure how excited Mike would be about the idea of leaving.
If for no other reason than what that does to Paul Pressey. I mean, that’s his best friend basically. And, bringing in his two sons to play basketball for this dear friend at Mizzou, and then a year later he packs up and splits for more money. I really think that’s going to be a hard thing for Mike. Seven seniors on this team, I think this is the year he’s been building to be really great in, 2011-12, and I have a hard time seeing him just getting up and leaving.
JJ Stankevitz: I think the point on the Pressey brothers (is valid). I hear a lot of people saying, “well they can just transfer.” But I think, “they have to take a year off of basketball.” For Matt Pressey it may not be as big of a deal. He doesn’t have the kind of pro aspirations as maybe Phil (Pressey) does, even though Phil is undersized. But, I mean, taking a year off for Phil Pressey? I’m not sure that’s good for him developmentally. And, he would have to do that if Anderson left and he wanted to follow him to Arkansas. I think the whole Pressey connection, and then having seven seniors. Mike Anderson does not seem like the cold-blooded guy to leave seven guys who he’s been with – to bring up one of his favorite sayings – who he’s “been through the wars” with through the last three years. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would pack up and leave for $500,000 more a year.
It seems like another Jimmy Sexton ploy – that’s his agent, Mike Anderson’s agent. This has been talked about a lot online. Sexton’s probably been the one that’s been floating these rumors and speculation about because he wants his client to get more money from Mizzou. Quite frankly, Anderson deserves a little bit more. I think Brian Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a good column that said that if Mizzou wants to stop these rumors from happening just give Anderson $500,000 more a year, get him up to $2 million on his salary. Him and Pinkel will both be above $2 million, they’ll both be getting paid about at the level of performance they usually go to. If Mizzou can do that – and that’s a pretty tall order for a university that doesn’t have a lot of money right now – I don’t think we’ll be dealing with these Anderson rumors like we have the last three years now.
Vinnie Duber: Isn’t this situation different, though, because it’s not about the money? Isn’t this Anderson’s dream job? Isn’t that the reason Bill Self left Illinois to go coach Kansas? He (Anderson) was an assistant (at Arkansas) for 17 years. I’d have to figure that this is where, when he said “I want to be a head basketball coach,” this is where he wanted to be. That was the dream.
Nick Gerhardt: He was kicked to the curb, too, when he was an assistant. It was a really nasty, nasty divorce between Nolan Richardson, Mike Anderson and the University of Arkansas.
JJ: With Bill Self, we’re talking about Kansas, one of the top four basketball schools in the country. Sure, Arkansas won a national championship in 1994, but Arkansas is not Kentucky, they’re not UCLA, they’re not Duke, they’re not North Carolina, they’re not Kansas.
Arkansas is firmly in that second tier. It would be at best a lateral move for Anderson. It would be another whole rebuilding project, and if he were to leave, he might not get back to the tournament for another three or four years. Is that really something he wants? Does he really want to go through another rebuilding process? Maybe it is his dream job, but the timing of it now just doesn’t seem right. Had this been maybe two years ago, and Arkansas was coming off a halfway decent year with some good players returning, maybe. But right now Arkansas is a pretty good rebuilding project, and it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to take it right now.
Darren: I don’t think it fits either direction. I don’t think it’s what Arkansas wants. I don’t think it’s what Mike wants.
JJ: Just the level of freak-out that I witnessed Saturday on Twitter thanks to the one guy in Tulsa. That shows this Missouri fan base does not want to lose Mike Anderson. Look at everybody losing it over this report that came out Saturday that turned out to be bogus. Missouri wants to keep Mike Anderson. The fan base wants to keep Mike Anderson, and I don’t think there’s a much better spot for him right now. He’s got a university that appreciates him – maybe not to the money level that his agent wants. But, he’s got a fan base that loves him. He’s got a bunch of returning seniors. He’s got two of his, essentially, nephews on his team. I really think it just doesn’t make any sense for him to leave.
Darren: It was kind of funny to watch this whole deal this weekend on Twitter. It was like watching a bunch of 16-year-old girls in 1966 falling for the “Paul McCartney is dead” rumors.
More posts in this series are to come, including a season in review for each player on the Mizzou roster. Keep checking back as more and more of our chat gets posted.