Frank Haith Unveils Largely Remade Roster for Basketball Opener

4 years 11 months 1 week ago Friday, November 09 2012 Nov 9, 2012 Friday, November 09, 2012 2:16:00 PM CST November 09, 2012 in Tiger Talk
By: Associated Press

COLUMBIA (AP) -- Alex Oriakhi celebrated a national championship with UConn in 2011. Now, the forward is ready to do his part for No. 15 Missouri.

The Tigers were a 30-win team and No. 2 NCAA regional seed in coach Frank Haith's first season. Hopes are high for the second season that begins Saturday against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, despite a radically remade roster.

Oriakhi is among a group of heralded additions to a team that has just one returning starter, preseason SEC player of the year Phil Pressey, but also has dynamic forward Laurence Bowers back after missing last season with a knee injury. Missouri opens the season without guard Michael Dixon, perhaps the nation's top sixth man last season, for violating team rules.

"There's definitely a lot of excitement," Oriakhi said. "I remember in the summertime we were just talking about 'We can't wait for the season.' That's all we talked about, 'the season, the season.'

"And now it's finally here."

In the early going, Pressey confesses that he's driven partly by fear of failure.

"When the games count, that really opens my eyes because you lose, you're 0-1 and you're on SportsCenter," Pressey said. "If you win, nobody knows about it, so you've just got to take it one game at a time and win them all."

For Haith, there's no second-guessing the debut season that fizzled in the NCAA tournament opener when the Tigers were upset by 15th seed Norfolk State. The coach points out the team overcame adversity, winning the Big 12 tournament title with just seven scholarship players.

"I thought we had an outstanding year last year," Haith said. "Man, you couldn't have done no better than that."

Haith said the Tigers, who became just the fifth No. 2 seed to get upset by a No. 15 challenger, just ran into a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

"We didn't play bad, go back and look at the stats," Haith said. "We shot 56 percent from the floor, 50 percent from 3. So, that team didn't lay an egg."

That team lost Marcus Denmon and Kim English to the NBA draft, plus center Ricardo Ratliffe. Haith's response is what one publication rated the best transfer class in history, with Oriakhi and guards Keion Bell and Earnest Ross starting in the exhibitions.

"We're a lot bigger team. We have a lot more dunkers, athleticism," Pressey said. "Last year, we just had a lot of shooters. It's going to take time for us to really get a good feel for each other in game time."

Bell, who transferred from Pepperdine, is healthy after missing the second exhibition game due to pneumonia, watching from home while saddled with a high fever. He's from Los Angeles and is adjusting to Midwestern weather.

"Can't really wear tank tops when it's snowing," Bell said. "But I'm feeling good."

The same goes for Bowers, who watched the 30-win season from the bench while rehabbing from surgery. He cannot deny the enthusiasm.

"It's exciting," Bowers said. "I wouldn't say it means a little bit more. But deep down inside, we know that it does."

Haith preaches defensive intensity that'll lead to the flashy moments on the other end of the court. Players seem to be listening.

"Coach thinks we have potential to be a great defensive team, and I honestly believe him," Oriakhi said. "We have pretty good athletes on this team.

"We're quick, we're athletic, so we've got to use that to our advantage."

Haith said Dixon "still needs time to clear up some stuff off the court," but noted there was plenty of backcourt depth. He's happy with the overall play in the exhibitions, and the chance those games provided to dip deep into the roster.

"That's their showtime," Pressey said. "The freshmen, their first game. It was just a good thing they could get out there and produce."

Haith noted that going back to the team's European trip in August, somebody's always been missing.

"Obviously, we got a lot of playing time for our guys," Haith said. "The biggest thing, because we have so many guys who haven't played, is those guys just being able to play with the lights on."

 

More News

Grid
List
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis Community College professor was grabbed from behind by an officer, pulled to the... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 1:33:18 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
MOBERLY - The Missouri Association of Student Financial Aid Personnel (MASFAP) is celebrating 50 years of providing greater access to... More >>
1 hour ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 1:09:00 PM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City's efforts to obtain $40 million in federal funding to replace an important bridge are... More >>
4 hours ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 10:43:44 AM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The Center Project, mid-Missouri's LGBTQ community center, will provide free health care and behavioral health services Saturday to... More >>
7 hours ago Saturday, October 21 2017 Oct 21, 2017 Saturday, October 21, 2017 7:20:00 AM CDT October 21, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Boone and Callaway County has a new circuit judge. Judge J. Hasbrouck “Brouck” Jacobs will preside over... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 8:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri high school football teams are kicking off the final week of Friday Night Fever. In our FNF... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:51:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri kicked off its 106th Homecoming game day early Saturday morning with a parade full... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:38:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Fight for the First documentary was shown at the Missouri theatre for donors and students Friday. The film... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Below are scores from the last week of the high school football season. Final scores will be in... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:27:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis has been sentenced to six and a half years... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 6:01:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - #MeToo started as a tweet and turned into an international discussion on sexual harassment. Columbia resident Macy... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia is attracting attention for its innovation in collegiate eSports. From having the first varsity collegiate all-woman eSports... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:45:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says the state no longer will make children in foster care pay... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:22:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
MEXICO – A former teacher pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of sexual contact with a student. Robert Cortez,... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 3:04:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
ASHLAND - Namaste Health Care alerted 1,600 patients to a security breach that happened the weekend of Aug. 12-13. A... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:44:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin announced that October 20 th would be recognized every year as Buckle... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:42:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The city of Columbia received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, city officials... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 2:10:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Volunteers from the city and community spent the day picking up litter, clearing branches and cleaning sidewalks in... More >>
1 day ago Friday, October 20 2017 Oct 20, 2017 Friday, October 20, 2017 1:55:00 PM CDT October 20, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 78°
3pm 79°
4pm 77°
5pm 76°
6pm 74°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

2:00p
NASCAR Xfinity Series
5:00p
Jeopardy!
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
2:00p
Rookie Blue
3:00p
Elementary
4:00p
Elementary

Tonight's Schedule

6:30p
College Football
7:00p
Family Guy
7:30p
Family Guy
8:00p
Bob's Burgers
8:30p
Bob's Burgers
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld