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Crucial stretch in Kim Anderson era at MU starts this week

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI)- It’s been a few weeks since University of Missouri Athletic Director Mack Rhoades officially declared that Kim Anderson would come back for a third season at the helm of the men’s basketball team, but you may be able to point to this week as the time Anderson really becomes judged for the decisions that may or may not lead to a fourth season on the bench.

April 13 marks the opening of the late signing period for high school recruits. With last month’s announced transfers of guards Namon Wright and Tramaine Isabell, along with D’Angelo Allen, who decided to leave the program in February, the team has 3 scholarships available for the 2016-17 roster.  It’s expected that the team will sign at least 2 players. Mizzou will dock itself one scholarship either this year or next as part of self-imposed punishment for NCAA violations under the Frank Haith regime.

One of those spots will go to Frankie Hughes, a combo guard from the Cleveland area who is a high school teammate of fellow incoming Tiger Willie Jackson. Hughes announced his verbal pledge after a weekend recruiting visit in Columbia.  Missouri is still believed to be in the mix for DeShawn Corprew, a 6-5 forward from Virginia who may be down to the Tigers and Texas A&M.

Whoever signs, Anderson’s tenure likely depends on them all making significant contributions immediately The rising sophomore class, along with incoming Texas transfer, Junior Jordan Barnett, will be the nucleus of this team. Rising junior Jakeenan Gant will be fresh of off-season shoulder surgery.  There is one senior (Russell Woods).

The era of seemingly constant transfers in and out that Missouri fans saw and largely bemoaned under the Haith administration is now more par for the course than outlier these days. Optimism on signing day can quickly turn to homesickness or dissatisfaction with playing time or a run-in with the law before a single college semester is in the books.  After all that Anderson’s staff has had put up on it in 2 years–much of it through no fault of its own–to now ask it to hit home runs on the recruiting trail and buck the transfer trend with important players seems unfair. But that’s where the program finds itself, and the work of showing results won’t wait until the games count this fall. It starts this week with proof coming off the recruiting trail.

 

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