Two of a Kind

1 decade 1 year 5 months ago Sunday, January 21 2007 Jan 21, 2007 Sunday, January 21, 2007 10:06:48 PM CST January 21, 2007 in Sports

Coach Matt Zimmerman first met coach Mike Anderson in 1986 when he tried to walk onto the Arkansas basketball team.

"I went to Arkansas with dreams of being a Razorback and Mike Anderson is one of those guys who shattered those dreams for me and told me I couldn't do it," remembers Missouri assistant coach Matt Zimmerman.

Zimmerman settled for a job as the team manager, but T.J. Cleveland didn't have a problem making the Hogs basketball team. He played for Nolan Richardson's Hogs from 1998-2002.

Missouri assistant coach T.J. Cleveland believes that there are striking similarities between Anderson and his old coach. "He's just a younger version. A lot of the things he says sometimes, his demeanor, and the way he approaches the game and coaching are a reflection of Coach Richardson."

After a 5 year tour in the army, Zimmerman saw himself coaching high school hoops.

"I coached the high school boys and girls and the junior high boys and girls. A year later I started the baseball program and Plainview. I really did it all there and drove the bus" says Zimmerman.

He only works with one team now as coach Anderson's assistant. Zimmerman joined him in 2002 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, while T.J. Cleveland started assisting Anderson 3 years later.

"I know the first game at UAB we had 12-hundred fans at Bartow Arena, by the time we left we filled that sucker up," recalls Zimmerman.

Cleveland says, "I learn from him. I just sit back like a sponge and learn from him, everything I can."

And when asked about the move to Mizzou Cleveland stated, "no, he didn't have to call me. I called him."

Zimmerman works a lot with the Tigers on their shot and has picked up the nickname Shot Doctor.

"I love shooting. My big thing is you can't beat a shooter. I tried to be a good shooter and I love guys that can shoot the basketball," said Zimmerman.

Cleveland uses his youthfulness to connect with recruits. He even gets some credit for getting Stefhon Hannah to play at Mizzou.

Cleveland said, "I just thought he fit what we do perfectly. I thought he would be able to come in and play for us right away because of what he brings to the table."

"This is a program that has had a lot of tradition with Coach Stewart in the past. We want to build on that and carry that on. We want to get to that first final four, the one Missouri hasn't been to yet and there's no reason why we can't," says Zimmerman.

The Tigers other assistant coach is a familiar face. Melvin Watkins became the interim head coach last season after Quinn Snyder's departure.

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