Missouri men's basketball team holds free youth clinic

Saturday, November 5, 2011 | 6:20 p.m. CDT; updated 9:03 p.m. CST, Wednesday, November 16, 2011

COLUMBIA — Tim Fuller is a busy man. 

As the assistant Missouri men's basketball coach, his hours at home are few. His work days usually end around 7:30 p.m., giving him an hour with his three children before putting them to bed.

But Saturday, his sons — Timothy II, 6; Gabriel, 4; and Solomon, 2 — got to join their father at work. 

The Missouri men's basketball team hosted a youth clinic Saturday at Mizzou Arena. About 150 boys and girls in first- through sixth-grade attended.

Timothy, a first-grader, participated in the clinic. He was among one of the groups that rotated through six stations, each led by a pair of Missouri players. 

Gabriel wandered a half-step behind the other children, his focus distracted from basketball by people in the stands, his dad walking around, a loose basketball rolling away and the lights on the ceiling. Solomon stayed with his father.

Missouri coach Frank Haith said the clinic is a way for the players to learn from the community they're giving back to. The players ran the clinic from leading warmup stretches to coaching the drill stations.

"A lot of these kids look up to our players," Haith said. "I don't want our guys just standing on the sidelines. I want to give them a chance to interact, to be involved."

But for Fuller's sons, it was one of many interactions with the team, another opportunity to learn from them. 

Senior Laurence Bowers exemplifies a lesson Fuller teaches his children — that life is 10 percent what happens and 90 percent how you respond.

The night before Bowers had surgery for his season-ending ACL injury, he joined the Fullers for dinner at their home. 

"Laurence Bowers is the most upbeat and positive man," Fuller said. "He wasn't down and out, and for my kids to see that. ..."

Fuller said sophomore Phil Pressey sets an example of hard work, and Timothy said Pressey and senior Marcus Denmon are his favorite players. 

"(Pressey) is always the first to practice and the last to leave," Fuller said.

Fuller's children are often in the gym as practice ends. When the floor has cleared, Pressey is often still there shooting. Fuller points to Pressey and says to his sons, "If you want to be good, do that."

"They're around all the time," Pressey said of Fuller's sons. "And it's good that they're here."

The boys remind the players to be accountable for their behavior, and Pressey said it helps him be more aware of his actions on and off the court. 

"It's little things like encouraging your teammates and staying after practice shooting," Pressey said. 

The team practiced at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, finishing at 11 a.m. The clinic began at 11:30 a.m at Mizzou Arena and ended with an autograph session with posters given to the children in attendance. Timothy was in that line. 

"They're going to look up to somebody," Fuller said. "I want them to look up to good men."

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ELAINE FULLER November 8, 2011 | 8:32 p.m.

Great article. Hope there's a follow up article during the season.

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