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January 23, 2013

2013 Tiger Mailbag: FREE Fourth Edition

Each Wednesday, PowerMizzou.com publisher Gabe DeArmond will answer questions from subscribers in our Tiger Mailbag. This feature will allow for longer, more in-depth answers than you may get on the message board on a daily basis. To have your question in next week's mailbag, send an email to Gabe at powermizzou@gmail.com. On to this week's inquiries:

mugamer asks: With the Basketball season at around the midway mark, what are 3 things that you've seen that without improvement will ensure an early exit in both end of season tournaments? How much of the lack of chemistry during the UF game wasaffected by injuries to our starters?

GD: First of all is the defense, especially on the perimeter. Missouri helps off of shooters and isn't very good at recovering. It gives teams a lot of wide open looks from three-point range. And the better teams will make most of those shots. Missouri has a hard time coming from behind against a decent team because the Tigers have a hard time stringing stops together. Second, they have to shoot the three better themselves. They have to find SOMEONE each game who can hit a few. Whether it's Brown, Pressey, Bowers or Ross, they have to have someone who is a threat to the defense. Finally, they've got to handle pressure better. Whether it's all on Pressey or not, we'll see, but when good teams press, Missouri often doesn't get to halfcourt.

As far as the chemistry question, I could buy it's worth a few points. But when you get beat by 31 (and it wasn't really even that close), there are a lot bigger problems than Laurence Bowers not being on the floor.

tigerdryer asks: Do we have any sharpshooters coming in next year's recruiting class? It doesn't appear that we have any on the team right now, aside from Jabari Brown (on his good days). Do we have any ball-handlers coming in next year's recruiting class? It doesn't appear that we have any on the team right now, aside from Phil Pressey (on his good days). GD: I can't call Brown a sharpshooter until I see him do it more than every third game or so. As far as the incoming guys, I don't know that any of them are guys you'd consider sharpshooters. The ballhandlers will be Jordan Clarkson and Wesley Clark, plus Anton Beard in the 2014 class.

mone2233 asks: What positions do you personally see all our incoming recruits that are listed as athletes playing? For basketball, have you ever seen a team move the ball and shoot it as well as Florida did Saturday? It would have helped if we showed up more but I thought Florida passed and shot like Mizzou last year. Your thoughts?

GD: I think Chase Abbington is a safety, but if he wants to play running back, that's where he'll play. Donovahn Jones will be a wide receiver and I think Aarion Penton and Anthony Sherrills are probably defensive backs, though Sherrills could line up at receiver as well. But I think there's a bigger need on the defensive side of things.

On the second question, you already answered it. Florida passed the ball like last year's Tigers. Missouri was terrible that year, but Florida is really, really good.

ZouFan27 asks: Moving forward into next years BB team. Who is the guy that will counted on to step-up and being the finisher in games (assuming that Pressey leaves). Criswell and Ross have talent but neither seems to have leadership qualities. With the Haith situation turning ugly, who are the potential replacement candidates.

GD: I think Jabari Brown has to be that guy next year. He's the best shooter and with a year under his belt, I think will be a much better player next season. As far as the Haith situation, he doesn't even have a letter telling him what the NCAA is accusing him of. Until he does, I'm not going to start talking about replacements because I don't have any idea how likely it is that the Tigers have to find a new coach.

mizzou85 asks: The conditioning that Anderson required for his system was a large part of the reason his system worked. We just out hustled the other team. Can I assume Coach Haiths's conditioning program has a different focus(i.e. strength over endurance)? Do you feel the lack of energy in the past several games can be attributed to the conditioning?

GD: I do know that a lot of players added some weight and muscle. But I don't think you can blame conditioning on the losses. I mean, they looked pretty well conditioned against UCLA and Illinois. They were a well-conditioned team last year. I think you're looking for something that isn't there.

wientraveler asks: How much contact do former Mizzou football players have with the program? Can they recruit, do they? Would it be against NCAA regulations for a group of former Mizzou football players to organize a camp for existing players and recruited players to participate in, without university participation? Would seem to be an effective recruiting tool. How effective would it be for players to be instructed by Spoon, Willie Moore, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Jeremy Maclin, and Ziggy Hood, to name a few. Also, there is a link at the top of the home page for a BLOG, but the last blog was May 2011? Is that a retired feature?

GD: The level of involvement depends on the player. Some are very involved, some leave and never look back. I don't think former players can officially recruit for the school. Just being in the NFL and being associated with Mizzou is a good advertisement. And the coaches use them as recruiting tools all the time. As far as the blog, I discontinued it. I just didn't see the value in it. Everything I could post on there, I pretty much already post on the message board or in a story.

mexicojoe asks: What sport do you anticipate giving you/us some GOOD news in the upcoming weeks and months. As we are in the SEC, spring football is considered a sport.

GD: It's never as bad as you think it is. There will be some good times in basketball. Softball will be strong in the SEC. And National Signing Day is two weeks away. There always seem to be some surprises.

MoDude21 asks: Have you heard anything about the new WR coach and whether he's recruiting anyone for this class? It seems to have been pretty quiet with his hire and I am wondering if there are any recruits he might have an inside track on that are not on our radar yet.

GD: Honestly, I'm surprised Missouri hasn't announced the hiring of Pat Washington at this point. I don't really know what the holdup is. Maybe they're waiting until after National Signing Day. Maybe if he's not officially hired, he can do a little recruiting without restrictions. I don't know. But I haven't heard any specific names associated with him yet.

mexicojoe asks: Will Pinkel and/or Haith still be Head Coaches for Mizzou?

GD: I really hate answering this question. Instead of telling you what I think will happen, I'll just tell you what HAS to happen. To guarantee he is back, I think Pinkel needs to win eight games. He might be back with fewer than that, but eight would guarantee it. As far as Haith, he'll be back if Missouri won't suffer sanctions based on keeping him I think. Because, obviously, what he's done on the court warrants he returns. Like I said above, before I know what the Notice of Allegations says, I'm not even comfortable hazarding a guess.

MUMOFO asks: If this goes down bad with CFH. How far back does this set the team with the current signed recruits and the Juco in waiting? And the Future of Tiger basketball.

GD: Let's say the worst case scenario happens, Haith gets the show-cause and he's not at Mizzou anymore. IF that happens, Missouri's only real chance to keep recruiting going the way it is would be to turn it over to Tim Fuller. Because if they hire outside, they're looking at a whole new staff. If that happens, Keanau Post is back on the market if he wants to be and the other three could probably get out of their LOIs without much trouble. You're losing Bowers, Oriakhi and Bell for sure, maybe Pressey. If you lose all of those guys and even a couple of the current recruits, I don't know how you field a decent team next year. And it puts you way behind on 2014 kids as well. There is a risk for sure with Fuller, but honestly, to avoid two to three really tough years, I almost think that's the direction they'd have to go. And, yes, I think Fuller would take it.

trobone asks: Would you rather be the reporter who got duped by Manti and put out a false story about a fake internet girlfriend that never existed, or be forced to moderate this board after a loss?

GD: No.

cardstl143 asks: How many times do you get kicked in the junk until it doesn't hurt anymore?

GD: I don't have any desire to put this theory to the test, but I'm going to assume it never stops hurting.

triggercut asks: Didn't Frank Haith already get sort of caught in a lie to Mizzou with regards to his time at Miami once before? I might be remembering wrong, but didn't Frank Haith tell Mike Alden and Dave Reiter that he didn't know Nevin Shapiro, leading to Reiter putting that into a statement from the Mizzou athletic department....which led to Yahoo Sports immediately releasing those two photos of Frank and Shapiro gladhanding one another like old pals? If that's how that went down, as much as I have grown fond of Frank Haith, why the heck would I believe him about anything else regarding his time at Miami?

GD: It's a fair question, but one to which I don't really know the answer. Only the people involved know exactly what Haith said. But you hit on the key question: Has Haith been truthful with Missouri throughout his time in Columbia? If so, his chances to save his job go up drastically.

mugamer asks: On a scale of 1-100, with 1 being Basketball at Alabama and 100 being basketball at Duke, where was this program at before CFH showed up and if he makesan exit at the end of this season, where has he brought this program to? After MA left, I felt that Mizzou might have been considered less of a destination job, but it seems CFH has made it more attractive with his success the past 2 years.

GD: I'd say it was about a 75 or 80. It's not Duke and it's never going to be. It's not a top ten job. But I think it's a top 25 job. I've long said that eventually Missouri fans will appreciate Mike Anderson's tenure here. Nobody with any sanity can possibly make the argument that Anderson left Missouri in worse shape than he found it. The Tigers had gone to three straight NCAA Tournaments, had a 31-win season and had won the Big 12 tournament. They had a damn talented roster last year and their two best players this year are still Anderson's guys. Haith has done a very good job here, but we need to quit acting like he took over Kansas State football circa 1989.

jncatch asks: If you had to fill up the four coaching spots on MU's bench with former players today, who would be your headcoach and the three assistants?What role would each play (i.e. who would be the head recruiter, who would coach the bigs, guards, etc..., who would be your Xs and Os guy)?

GD: Tough question and not one I am probably qualified to answer, but Corey Tate and John Burns are head coaches now in junior college, so they'd be two of my assistants. I'd bring Jon Sundvold on as the third assistant, the X's and O's type guy. The head coach? Hell if I know. I really don't even have a legitimate candidate off the top of my head.

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