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February 2, 2012Off to the best start since the 1981-82 season the University of Missouri's basketball team is garnering national attention. That fast start is also garnering the attention of the members of Missouri's 2012 basketball recruiting class. Five players, Negus Webster-Chan, Ryan Rosburg, Tony Criswell, Domonique Bull, and Stefan Jankovic, signed with Missouri earlier this year before the Tigers played a game in the 2011-12 season. Each player committed to Missouri with the idea that this type of season was a possibility.
"Going into this season I knew with this staff, Coach Haith and them would put together a great year, but now that it is actually showing it is pretty incredible. Now everyone is seeing what I knew all along," Rosburg said.
"I knew the plan Coach Haith had, about how he wanted this team to be would work, but I didn't really know it would work this fast. I'm just proud to be a part of this program," said Criswell.
"I'm not surprised with the success of the team and all that they have accomplished so far this season," said Webster-Chan. "They play as one and they work hard everyday on getting better individually in practice. I believe we have one of the best coaching staffs in the country."
"Obviously I'm really excited, we all are, all the recruits have been talking," Jankovic said. "I know I'm speaking for all of us when I say we're really excited. Just seeing Missouri succeed this year, in Coach Haith's first year, proving everyone wrong kind of. A lot of people didn't expect this so there is a lot of excitement to come in. It's also motivation to come in next year and keep up the success they've been having."
The idea of maintaining the current level of success Missouri is having was a common one with each player. It's an idea, they say, that motivates them to be the best players they can when they arrive in August.
"Now that Missouri is in the spotlight and with the guys coming back being used to success they expect to be great so we're going to have to come in with that same attitude," said Rosburg. "Also, to prove to everyone that Mizzou basketball is here now and it wasn't just a one year thing. We hope to make this a tradition"
"Watching them play and seeing that they're ranked that high, since they haven't been that high in a while, it's good to see," Bull said. "Coming in to a team that is already up there (in the rankings) is good. We definitely want to keep the train going and make sure we keep a nice winning streak going to let people know that we can be just as good as this team."
With all the signed players seasons winding down in the next month-and-a-half the excitement is starting to build in anticipation of each of their moves to Columbia. In their minds this is the start of something special at Mizzou Arena.