Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mizzou adds three transfers under new coach Haith

In this April 28 file photo, Missouri coach Frank Haith talks to supporters at an event in Mendon, Mo. Haith added three transfers to the Tigers’ roster on Tuesday.

In this April 28 file photo, Missouri coach Frank Haith talks to supporters at an event in Mendon, Mo. Haith added three transfers to the Tigers’ roster on Tuesday.


— For new Missouri coach Frank Haith, freshmen can wait.

With four available scholarships next season and 10 returning players, Haith has recruited three Div. I transfers to fill out the roster he inherited after Mike Anderson left for Arkansas.

The latest recruit is former Pepperdine guard Keion Bell, who led the West Coast Conference team in scoring each of his three seasons. The 6-foot-3 guard from Los Angeles will sit out a year and has one year of eligibility remaining.

MU has also signed 6-foot-5 guard Earnest Ross, who was Auburn’s leading scorer as a sophomore. He too will sit out this coming season but has two years of eligibility.

The Tigers’ third recruit can play immediately. Forward George Goode, a 6-foot-8 Kansas City native, will graduate from Louisville this summer but has one year of eligibility left and will compete as a graduate student. He averaged 2.9 points and 1.4 rebounds last year as a reserve at Louisville, where Missouri assistant coach Tim Fuller was an assistant for one season.

With all but one of last season’s top nine players returning, Haith is recruiting not just for the 2011-12 season but for 2012-13. That’s when the Tigers will lose six of those players, along with Goode.

Missouri initially had three scholarships to fill when Haith was hired in April after seven seasons at Miami. A fourth roster spot opened this month when freshman reserve Ricky Kreklow, a hometown prep star at Rock Bridge High whose parents coach Missouri’s volleyball team, decided to transfer.

“Ricky’s a wonderful young man. I would have loved to coach him,” Haith said in an Associated Press interview. “But I totally understand his feelings, wanting to get away from home a little bit.”

NCAA rules prohibit Haith from talking publicly about recruits, but his track record suggests that Missouri’s final roster addition will also come from the transfer ranks. In his first year at Miami, Haith said, he had three available scholarships but initially didn’t sign any newcomers.

“We’re going to get freshmen,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it. But right now, I don’t want our roster to be so bare next season, losing seven guys with only three returning.”

With many of the top high school players already committed by the time he arrived in Columbia, Haith had no interest in signing a younger player just for appearance’s sake.

“I saw those high school kids out there,” he said. “There just wasn’t a good fit for us.”

Ross, who was recruited by Haith out of high school, averaged 13.1 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds a game for Auburn.

Bell was an even more prolific scorer at Pepperdine, averaging 18.9 points before he was sidelined by injuries and a season-ending suspension after 20 games.

For Haith, recruiting battle-tested players allows him to both mold the team in his image but also build upon the foundation left by Anderson, who led Missouri to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and a school record 31 wins in 2009.


actorman 8 years, 8 months ago

Certainly no one at the Final Four knew.

jayhwkr77 8 years, 8 months ago

i'll be very curious to see how haith does given the beating that the athletic department took upon hiring him. it definitely benefits KU for them to be highly competitive but it certainly is tough to root for.

waywardJay 8 years, 8 months ago

I think he will actually do pretty well.....

Mizzou wasn't lacking players last year, they were lacking leadership... If haith Can bring some... Mizzou won't fall too far off. It can be said though, that Adding more Road Games will be a real test for them since they won what... 1 road game last year......

Jeremy Bolinger 8 years, 8 months ago

Haith has no leadership. Mizzou will flounder just as they have always done. Haith will be gone in less than 4 years. Bet on it!

jgkojak 8 years, 8 months ago

I always thought that if the group of guys at MU had a REAL coach (i.e. someone not locked into a system) they'd be a lot more dangerous.

Mike Kendall 8 years, 8 months ago

@ Ralster----

Kruger at OU will be interesting. I thing Kruger will have the Sooners playing tougher defense. I wonder how he feels facing the Wildkitties twice. I will make my annual trip to Norman to watch the Jayhawks play the Sooners (note---hopefully, there will be plenty of tickets available). Gillispie at Tech---again, they will be tougher on defense than in the past. To get any legit recruit out to Lubbock is a challenge in itself (no offense, BCRaven). The new B12 basketball season will bring a fair amount of surprises and interesting matchups----can't wait! Rock Chalk!

Geekinout 8 years, 8 months ago

FOOTBALL! All I care about is that we beat them in football...

ChicagoJHawk 8 years, 8 months ago

I used to also say who cares but considering they are our biggest rival, it is good to know what's going on with their team, partly so that we know how to prepare against them. Not that I'm really worried about Haith or any of these recruits but you know what I mean.


I know! Thank god Self didn't sign with Mizzou back then!

actorman 8 years, 8 months ago

Has there been any evidence of Kruger dropping off? From my admittedly small amount of knowledge on the subject, it seems like he's done very well everywhere he's been. I don't see why he couldn't do a great job at OU as well.

okiedave 8 years, 8 months ago

Kruger is going to be the best coach OU has had since Tubbs. But don't look for OU to be a force in the Big XII for about three years. He was left without any real talent to work with and will need to recruit well -- which he will do well since he has some Charisma and personality. However, OU is a football school and will only shine in basketball about the same number years that KU shines in football. OU simply does not receive the same fan support in basketball as KU.

Mike Kendall 8 years, 8 months ago

@ okiedave---well put and, so true. My thoughts exactly. Even when OU had good teams, it was a struggle to sell out Noble. Kind of like the Longhorns, too, down in Austin. Totally, a football school.

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