Missouri Basketball Prepares for the Season
COLUMBIA - It's been a long offseason. Last year Missouri underwhelmed in the NCAA tournament with a first round loss to sixth seeded Cincinnati.
So with the same general core of players returning, the past seven months have been about improving for the Tigers. "Be meticulous in my approach of working out. Don't just get out here and put up a million shots," Senior Kim English said.
The rest of the team has been working hard as well. Senior Marcus Denmon is working on his spacing and footwork. Junior Michael Dixon is working on ball-handling, strength and decision making. "Nobody's a perfect shooter, so working on my shot as much as I can," Dixon said.
"I started trying to eat a lot better because coach TP is really big on what we eat," Senior Ricardo Ratliff said, "My number one personal goal is to lead the Big 12 in rebounding."
Some players were able to get some professional help as well. "I went to Stephen Curry's skills academy," English said, "I just kind of was a sponge talking to Steph, talking to Shaka Smart in Colorado Springs a lot. I talked to Brad Stephens a lot in Colorado Springs because I wasn't playing well so I was sitting on the bench talking to those guys the whole time."
Denmon got help from NBA all-star Chris Paul. "Being able to go down there and kind of get under his wing and learn some things to help better my game," Denmon said.
One guy on the bench for the season is Laurence Bowers who tore his ACL about a week ago. But even though five of the Mizzou's eight remaining scholarship players are guards, Bowers' size might not be what his teammates miss the most.
"He's the guy I've gotten the closest to since I've been here so I mean, we do everything together. Going out to eat and sometimes I go out to eat with him and his girlfriend. It's kind of awkward for me, but he still invites me so I just go," Ratliff said.
"We were never the all-airport team, you know, the big guys you see walking around the airport. We were never that. We kind of blend in at airports," English said.
Even with Bowers being out for the year, team expectations have not changed. "I expect nothing short of what we could have done with me on the court, which is have a great season," Bowers said.
"Win a national championship. That's it. That's the only goal, only thing I care about" English said.