TIGER TIPOFF: Friends work around Missouri-Kansas basketball rivalry

Friday, March 4, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Kim English said it will seem as if he is playing against his brother when the Missouri men's basketball team plays Kansas and Jayhawks freshman guard Josh Selby on Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

Selby and English, a junior guard for Missouri, are both from Baltimore, and they talk at least once a week.

Saturday's game

No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks (28-2, 13-2 Big 12)
at No. 22 Missouri Tigers (22-8, 8-7 Big 12)

WHEN: 11 a.m.
Mizzou Arena
KTGR 100.5 FM/1580 AM
KRCG/Channel 13

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“Kim is like my big brother,” said Selby, who is two years younger than English. “Back home in Baltimore, we would always work out together. We’d go eat together and stuff like that.”

English and Selby met when English was in high school, and they played pickup games with other talented players from the Baltimore area. English told the Baltimore Sun in 2009 that he hopes Selby, as well as Memphis freshman guard Will Barton, who is also from Baltimore, will help carry on the tradition of Baltimore players having success at the college level.

English and Selby will step onto the court against each other in a competitive setting for the first time Saturday. When Missouri traveled to Kansas on Feb. 7, Selby sat out because of an injured right foot. Despite missing its starting guard, Kansas still dominated, defeating the Tigers 103-86.

Before the game started, English and Selby saw each other during warm-ups. English was on the Missouri bench tying his shoes when Selby walked over. English stood up, reached out his hand, gave Selby a handshake and brought him in for a hug.

English said it's likely they will talk again before this Saturday's game, but after tipoff, they will be opponents, not friends.

“He’s one of my best friends and practically like my little brother,” English said. “Josh is a tough kid, he’s fearless, and he won’t back down at all. I told him that Kansas would be a good fit for him, and I’m happy he decided to go there.

"But our friendship won’t hamper the rivalry at all. I still want to beat them just as bad.”

English's teammates found out about the friendship at the beginning of the season.

“They text message all the time, and have a good friendship with each other,” Missouri forward Laurence Bowers said. "But Saturday, it won’t be a friendship anymore. He can’t take it easy on Josh just because he’s friends with him, but I’m not worried about that. They can be cool off the court, but Kim’s all about business when he’s on the court.”

Kansas senior guard Brady Morningstar agreed.

“Kim goes to Missouri, Josh goes to Kansas, and when you’re out on the court, you’re not enemies, but you do what you got to do to win the ballgame,” he said. “Afterwards, you can go back to being friends and what not.”

When the two talk every week, English said that basketball rarely gets brought into the conversation. If it does, than it’s usually about other teams in the Big 12, not about Missouri and Kansas.

But after English made only one of his six shots in the Tigers' loss this season at Kansas, Selby checked in with his friend on Twitter.

Selby: Are you good bro?

English: Yea. I'm Ight. Can't dwell. OU on Saturday.

Selby: Yeah I feel you baby bro.

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Ellis Smith March 5, 2011 | 10:43 a.m.

My aunt received her bachelor's degree in music at KU many years ago. When I was settling her estate I ran across two KU year books and paged through them. In the section on athletics I noted that when KU bested MU at some event the following wording appeared: "Another knot in the Tiger's tail!"

Using that analogy literally it occurs to me that by this point in time the Tiger's tail must be growing rather short - but also that Jayhawk doesn't have a lot of feathers on it.

[This rivalry is no doubt very important. Maybe by the 22nd Century folks at UMKC, UMSL and MS&T will get enthused about it. It's difficult to say.]

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