COLUMBIA — Missouri played Nebraska on Wednesday night without five of its regular players. Guards Stefhon Hannah and Jason Horton and forwards Marshall Brown, Darryl Butterfield and Leo Lyons were suspended for the game for violating team rules.
Hannah had his jaw broken in an altercation outside of the Athena Night Club early Sunday morning.
There was emotion flowing all over the court and stands at Mizzou Arena while the Tigers were playing the Cornhuskers. Missouri tried to win a game with only eight available players — just six of them on scholarships.
Guard Matt Lawrence and forward DeMarre Carroll were teary-eyed as they addressed the media in a postgame press conference. It was apparent that the two were physically and emotionally drained from what had taken place off the court over the past few days and on the court Wednesday night.
Then, Anderson stepped to the podium, and addressed many of the concerns and questions that have been circling the Missouri program in the past four days.
“My job is more than just to coach,” Anderson said. “I also want those kids to come here and get degrees. I also want to teach them, too. I’m trying to teach them about life.”
Anderson said multiple times that the players are just kids, and when a kid makes a mistake, he feels that it is necessary to discipline him to correct the problem so that he can become a productive citizen.
“They’re kids and they make mistakes,” Anderson said. “We’re grown-ups and we make mistakes. I know that. But I think the most important thing is, can we learn from it? The easiest thing to do is to throw somebody under the bus, and you’ll ruin that kid’s life.”
Anderson also said that he thinks of himself as a father to each of his players. In accordance with that philosophy, Anderson said he must fill a father’s role of administering discipline.
As far as the length of the players’ suspensions, Anderson said it would be something he would evaluate before MU’s next game against Kansas State, which is on Saturday.
“Those guys have a suspension and it will be evaluated, and there is a possibility that they will be back for the Kansas State game,” Anderson said.
Hannah would not be included in that discussion because in addition to being suspended, he has a broken jaw that will keep him from playing for four to six weeks.
There are still a lot of questions surrounding what exactly happened to Hannah outside of Athena Night Club, and Columbia police are trying to figure out that mystery. Sgt. Ken Hammond of the Columbia Police Department said that police have not yet spoken with Brown, Butterfield, Horton or Lyons, but hope to do so Thursday.
“We can’t force them to talk with us,” Hammond said. But he said he is hoping that the players will cooperate with the investigation.
“We want to see if they can identify a suspect,” Hammond said.