Frank Haith Unveils Largely Remade Roster for Basketball Opener

5 years 5 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
JEFFERSON CITY - Friday was the anniversary of the Columbine shooting, and on Saturday, members of the Jefferson City community... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 10:03:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R- Harrisonville announced the winner of her annual congressional art competition Saturday afternoon. ... More >>
9 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 4:29:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Community members took laps around the MizzouRec Saturday to raise money for Relay For Life of Mizzou’s main event,... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 3:14:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - For the past five years, Osage Heritage Elementary has hosted a Color Run to raise funds for... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 1:29:00 PM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A former St. Louis-area teacher will be on five years of probation for having sex with a... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:43:59 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
UNIVERSITY CITY (AP) — A former St. Louis-area day care teaching assistant has been found guilty of molesting a 5-year-old... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:40:09 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY -- Firefighters responded to a structure fire in the 100 block of E. Ashley St. at 11:08 p.m.... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 6:27:00 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri legislators approved numerous changes Thursday to local elections, including allowing voters to request absentee ballots... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, April 21 2018 Apr 21, 2018 Saturday, April 21, 2018 5:27:13 AM CDT April 21, 2018 in News
MILLER COUNTY - Casey Shoemate, a 26-year-old Miller County sheriff's deputy, died Friday night after colliding head-on with another vehicle... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 10:05:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Retailer Sears will close its Columbia Mall store this summer because the location has become unprofitable. Sears Director... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 8:46:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- A local non-profit organization, Columbia Access Television, hosted a 24-hour film contest that started Friday at 5:30 pm. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 7:13:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - Community members are coming together to help a family who lost their children in a fire get... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 7:10:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – As more and more fraternities face misconduct charges across the nation, the Greek community of MU is looking... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 6:13:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Eric Greitens is remaining defiant in the face of a new felony charge. On... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 5:45:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Children filled school gymnasiums across Columbia for the second day of the Unbound Book Festival. The festival showcases... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:42:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - April 20 marks the day of the Columbine school shooting, which claimed 13 lives. The Columbia Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:26:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - A potential fire station project on an annexed lot in southwest Columbia could lead to quicker response times... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:21:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - After the deadly fire in Lake Ozark, officials from the Division of Fire Safety are working to... More >>
1 day ago Friday, April 20 2018 Apr 20, 2018 Friday, April 20, 2018 3:01:00 PM CDT April 20, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 57°
2am 55°
3am 53°
4am 53°
5am 52°