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Matt and Phil Pressey accustomed to change

Thursday, February 2, 2012 | 11:07 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — When former Missouri men's basketball coach Mike Anderson left for Arkansas, Matt Pressey understood.

For Pressey's entire life, his father, Paul Pressey, has been in the NBA as either a player or coach as part of eight different teams.

Many speculated that he and his brother, sophomore Phil Pressey, would follow when Anderson left. Anderson, who Matt and Phil Pressey call Uncle Mike, was Paul Pressey's college roommate.

But their nomadic childhood has toughened them, making them more understanding of difficult situations.

"I understand the nature of the business. Coaches are going to make the best decisions for their family," Matt Pressey said. "So I can't get mad at coach for leaving when it was the best decision for his family. It was tough, but I understood and I got through it."

Matt Pressey said his dad didn't know Haith as a coach very well, but he had clear instructions for his sons. 

"He just told us to give him a chance, that things would work themselves out."

So far, they have. 

The No. 4 Tigers enter Saturday's game against Kansas at 20-2 for the season and 7-2 in Big 12 Conference play. Together, Matt and Phil Pressey have started every game for the Tigers this season.

Phil Pressey is leading the Big 12 Conference in assists, with six a game, and steals, with 2.41 per game. On defense, Haith has given Matt Pressey the responsibility of shutting down their opponents' greatest offensive threat.

Haith has done "a phenomenal job," Matt Pressey said. "Everything kind of worked itself out."

Matt and Phil Pressey spent their childhood moving from city to city with their family. They moved to Oakland, Calif., in 1992 and to San Antonio in 1994. In 2000, Matt Pressey started the sixth grade in Orlando, Fla., and finished middle school there before moving to Boston in 2004. 

"I had to struggle with him moving all the time, going team to team," Matt Pressey said. "You know, as I grew up, I kind of got used to it. We knew that's what we had to do."

Massachusetts was the Presseys' last stop on the NBA train. When Paul Pressey was hired as an assistant for Bryon Scott of the New Orleans Hornets, Matt Pressey had one year of high school left.

Matt Pressey's recruiting process had been hindered because he had relocated so many times. Colleges were sending his letters to his previous schools. 

"They didn't know where I was," Matt Pressey said. 

He chose to spend an extra year at Cushing Academy, a college prep boarding school in Ashburnham, Mass. Phil Pressey decided to join him. 

"My brother just followed along. It was more for me than it was for him," Matt Pressey said.

When Matt Pressey graduated from Cushing Academy in 2008, Phil Pressey moved to Dallas to be with their mother, Liz Pressey, and graduated from Dallas Episcopal in 2010. 

"Phil finished his two years in Dallas because Mom didn't want to leave him in Boston alone," Matt Pressey said.

Because of the demands of his job, Paul Pressey was only be able to see his sons play an occasional Amateur Athletic Union game in the summer.

"I kind of got over it," Matt Pressey said. "I'm big enough to where I understand. It doesn't bother me as much."

Paul Pressey is now an assistant on Byron Scott's staff for the Cleveland Cavaliers. This year, the NBA lockout provided a special opportunity for Paul Pressey to watch his sons' games. 

"He hadn't seen me play since I was in middle school, maybe a freshman in high school," Matt Pressey said. "That was a big plus. And those help fade out the negatives."


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