English Embraces Past to Excel in the Future
COLUMBIA - From Stormin' Norman to Coach Anderson, from the Hearnes Center to Mizzou Arena, Tiger basketball has gone through a lot changes. One member of the current Missouri basketball team is making a connection to the past to help excel in the future.
Mizzou's Kim English led the Tigers in scoring last season with 14 points per game.
He comes into this year as preseason candidate for the Wooden Award, an award given to the national player of the year.
He credits some of his future success to his attachment with the past.
If you need to know one thing about Kimmie English, he's a student of the game.
"I stay here for hours trying to perfect my craft. I'm really intuitive. I'm a listener. I try to be a sponge," explained English.
Before he ever stepped onto Norm Stewart court, he knew about the coach, and he had a favorite former Tiger player.
Despite the fact that Derrick Chievous played at Mizzou before English was even born.
"I knew about him when I came out here. Just from watching old games with my dad. Just old VHS's," said English.
"That's why I named him "The Science" because he's always in the lab working on his craft," explained Chievous.
And now English has replaced old tapes with a real face.
"We'll go out to lunch and we'll just talk hoops and stuff and he'll show me moves every once in awhile whenever he comes up here," said English.
They're both from the same part of the country: East coast transplants in the Midwest.
Said English, "New York and Baltimore aren't that close a friends, but when you're in Mid-Missouri I guess we're kind of linked together in that case."
Added Chievous, "The East coast players that came here to Missouri, they never really lasted that long. So, he's in a great class right now."
Location isn't all that connects them, English says he's heard people compare their game.
"We've both got hard heads on the court. Gritty on the court, play hard. I take it as a compliment to be compared to the leading scorer and in my opinion the best player in Missouri history," said English.
Chievous isn't alone. English has met and friended some of the other Tiger all-time greats.
"I talk to Doug Smith a lot. I talk to Doc Hardy. I talk to Jon Sundvold before every game. Every little thing those guys offer up, I take heed to and try to incorporate it into my game," explained English.
And the Missouri basketball family tree continues to grow new branches connecting current Tigers with the past.
"Once we talk and sit down and share stories about stuff around town and playing different teams, it's like we're all on the same team and that's definitely a good feeling. Has a feel like they've embraced us into the family," said English.
Chievous added, "That's an amazing thing, and the funny thing about it is, when I came here I did the same. When his opportunity comes, he'll do the same and so the cycle will never break with this thing called the game of basketball. The love of basketball."
English says Chievous taught him a new move in the offseason. It's called the "L-move" and he'll break it out this season.
Derrick Chievous lives with his wife Tami and their kids in Columbia. He works with disabled adults.
He also has a son, Quinton, playing basketball in the Chicago area.
Just like dad, Quinton is expected to play division one basketball.