For Missouri men's basketball team, next season brings more questions

Sunday, March 24, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:30 p.m. CDT, Monday, April 1, 2013
Missouri forward Laurence Bowers exits the court after the men's basketball team lost to Colorado State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Colorado State won 84-72.

COLUMBIA — The season started with many questions and it ended with even more.

At the beginning, it was unclear how the the Missouri men's basketball team's talented transfers and veteran leaders would mesh.

The Tigers' 84-72 loss to No. 9 Colorado State on Thursday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament showed the team's potential wasn't as great as many imagined.

"You know, obviously I didn't end it (the season) the way I wanted to, but I definitely wouldn't change anything," Tigers forward Alex Oriakhi said. "It gave me so much confidence. Really felt like a family. I'm extremely happy I came to Missouri."

Now, Missouri is left to wonder what will happen next year.

Oriakhi, fellow forward Laurence Bowers and guard Keion Bell are all graduating and have a chance to be chosen in June 27's NBA Draft. Some analysts have Oriakhi being drafted as high as the second round.

"All three men, it was just a pleasure to coach them," Missouri coach Frank Haith said after Thursday night's loss.

Junior point guard Phil Pressey has until April 28 to decide if he wants to declare for the draft and has not made a decision yet. Mock drafts have Pressey going in the second round if he makes himself eligible. Pressey led Missouri this season in assists with 240 and is the school's all-time assist record holder with 580.

Their departures would leave a different looking Missouri team.

Guard Earnest Ross, who will be a senior next year, will help provide veteran leadership. Ross averaged 10.2 points this year and made 43.3 percent of his shots.

Guard Jabari Brown, who became one of the focal points of Missouri's offense this season, will be a junior next year and will look to keep improving. Brown averaged the second-most points for the Tigers this season with 13.7 per game.

Then there is guard Jordan Clarkson, who transferred from Tulsa last year and sat out this season because of NCAA transfer guidelines. As a sophomore Clarkson led Tulsa in scoring, averaging 16.5 points.

Freshmen guard Negus Webster-Chan and forwards Stefan Jankovic and Ryan Rosburg will provide experience from their limited playing time this season.

The Tigers will also be adding new recruits Wesley Clark, a point guard, and Jonathan Williams III and Torren Jones, a pair of forwards.

There is also the looming off-the-court issue Missouri has to face in the near future.

Haith has a chance of receiving sanctions from the NCAA for a failure to promote an atmosphere for compliance violation during his time as coach at Miami. Those sanctions, if there are any, could be announced some time in the coming months depending on how long the appeals process takes.

Another issue Missouri will be facing is the maturing Southeastern Conference.

The SEC will be a tougher division next year, and young but talented teams like Kentucky (21-11 overall, 12-6 SEC), Alabama (21-12, 12-6), Arkansas (19-13, 10-8) will all have another offseason to develop its returning players.

"We're a young league," Haith said. "We saw Georgia, Alabama and even Tennessee ... young teams. They're going to get better."

Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.