COLUMBIA — As a child, Kim English wanted to be a Georgetown Hoya.
Now, English and the rest of the No. 9 Missouri men's basketball team are preparing to play No. 16 Georgetown on Tuesday night at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. English, who is a junior guard for Missouri, grew up in Baltimore, which is just 39 miles from Georgetown.
No. 9 Missouri Tigers (5-0)
vs. No. 16 Georgetown Hoyas (6-0)
WHEN: 8 p.m.
WHERE: Sprint Center, Kansas City
RADIO: KTGR/100.5 FM & 1580 AM
Missouri is trying to improve to 6-0 under Mike Anderson for the second time during his tenure in Columbia. Missouri started 9-0 in 2006-07.
“Growing up, they were one of my favorite teams,” English said. “A lot of guys from Baltimore go and play there. I loved them growing up.”
This past summer, English returned to Baltimore, and while he was there, he got an early look at Georgetown when he played a game of pick-up basketball against a couple of the Hoyas' senior guards, Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. English, Wright and Freeman knew about the Georgetown-Missouri matchup, but it was, at the time, what English called “hush-hush.”
“Chris (Wright) got right in my face one time as I was tying my shoes (during the pickup game) and started clapping and was like ‘Yeah!’ ” English said. “We’re friends, and I played him and Austin growing up, so it’s going to be a fun game.”
Six games into the season, Freeman is leading the Hoyas in scoring with 20.2 points per game, while Wright is third with 12.7 points per game.
Georgetown has had many elite basketball players, but some of them played at the same recreation center that English did when he lived in Baltimore. Among them are Reggie Williams, who played for Georgetown from 1983 to 1987 and, as a freshman, scored 19 points in its 1984 national championship victory over the University of Houston. In addition to Williams, David Wingate ('82-'86) and Kevin Braswell ('98-'02) also grew up playing at the Madison Square Recreation Center in East Baltimore.
The game against Georgetown comes as the first in a three-game stretch that pits the Tigers against opponents from the Big East, Pac-10 and SEC.
“As players you always want to play,” English said. "You want to play against good, quality opponents from the Pac-10 and the Big East, those good solid leagues. It’s a lot more fun than two-a-days.”
Georgetown comes into Tuesday night’s game with a 6-0 record and, like Missouri, has already claimed a tournament title this season. Missouri won the Cancun Challenge with a victory over La Salle, and the Hoyas won the Charleston Classic by defeating North Carolina State in the final.
Big 12 honors
Missouri junior forward Ricardo Ratliffe was named the Big 12 Conference Rookie of the Week on Monday after leading the Tigers to three wins and the title of the Cancun Challenge tournament.
Ratliffe, a junior college transfer from Central Florida Community College, averaged a double-double for the Tigers last week, with 10.7 points and a team-leading 12.0 rebounds in wins against Wyoming, La Salle and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward also held La Salle star Aaric Murray to a season-low nine points in the championship game in Mexico.