Usually in sports, especially in college athletics, older players provide guidance and leadership to the younger players.
But that’s not the case with this year’s Missouri basketball team, coach Kim Anderson said Monday on an SEC conference call with reporters.
“These guys have really brought a new energy level,” Anderson said. “They’re guys that are in the gym all the time. It’s a good mix of guys.
“I think our younger guys have had a good, positive influence on our other guys and I think the older guys have responded well to that.”
This season, eight out of Missouri’s 12 players on the roster are either freshmen or sophomores.
Out of that group, Anderson said he is pleased to have Wes Clark back at full health by the time the season starts. Clark, a 6-foot guard, was Mizzou’s second-leading scorer (10.1 ppg) behind Johnathan Williams III, who transferred to Gonzaga last month.
Clark’s season ended Feb. 12 because of an elbow injury that caused him to miss the final eight games, in which the Tigers went 2-6 and lost in the first round of the SEC tournament.
Anderson said all players are on campus preparing for summer workouts, with the exception of Montaque Gill-Caesar and Russell Woods. Woods will be completing a junior-college course and is expected to arrive in August, while Gill-Caesar is nursing a bad back in Canada, where he was preparing to compete for a spot on the U-19 national team.
Previewing the upcoming season, Anderson said he expects the team to drive the ball to the basket better than it did a year ago. He also said his team’s lack of height will mean the Tigers will have to adjust to playing smaller.
“We’re not gonna be real big,” Anderson said. “We’ll probably play a bit more of a spread offense.”