A Quarterback On The Court

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri basketball teams starts four seniors and a sophomore this season, but the young one in the group, guard Phil Pressey, might have the most impact on the success of the veterans.

Pressey's game has improved since last season and is a different overall player saying.

"Last year was a lot of flash transitioning from high school because high school was so easy I could do all that," Pressey said, "Now that I've learned that it's not that easy I got to tighten up my game a little and learn when to do it and when not to."

When Mike Anderson left Mizzou for Arkansas, fans and friends feared Pressey might follow. Jarrett Sutton, a graduate student who played for the Tigers from 2008-2011 was one of them.

"I sent him a couple of text messages asking, he said he didn't know. I was confident he would stay.  He likes his teammates, he likes Columbia and he likes playing for Mizzou" Sutton said. 

Sutton knew what he was talking about because Pressey felt the same way.

"I was connected to him, but I was also connected to my teammates," said Pressey. "That was a big part of it. I didn't want to leave my teammates cause we went through a whole year and some of the guys I became real close with."

Now fans are focused on Phil's moves on the court where he leads the Tigers in assists this season.

"He's pass first. He's always trying to get guys open. They always say the point guard is like the quarterback of a basketball team and he runs the show and he's a highlight reel waiting to happen" Sutton added. 

His biggest play on the highlight reel came earlier this season against Binghamton when Pressey turned a steal into a play he'll never forget.

"I saw some of the guys running so I just figured I would throw it down that way and luckily Ricardo was running and caught it in perfect situation to score. That's the top play in my time of playing," said Pressey.

Pressey's no-look passes aren't flash either, that's just Phil playing his game.

"I wouldn't call it flash. I do it because I've got to keep the defense off their feet," said Pressey. "It helps me out to trick them out sometimes."

Pressey has fulfilled the "quarterback" spot on the team and has started taking control as Sutton has noticed.

"Last year he was trying to make plays to stay in the game and now he's comfortable knowing he's in control," Sutton said, "he's in charge."

Pressey averages a game just under nine points, under six assists, and three steals.