Relaxed and upbeat, Missouri coach Quin Snyder took his place behind the podium for the post-game press conference Thursday.
As much as he wanted to celebrate with his team after a 63-61 win against No. 12 Gonzaga, Snyder willingly talked about the outcome with the press.
And not even Sam Fleury, Missouri’s assistant director of media relations, could stop him.
“Last one (question),” said Fleury, interrupting Snyder as he talked about the final seconds of the game.
“Are you going to keep talking, Sam?” Snyder asked. “We win the game and then you want to cut me off?”
“You can keep talking all you want,” Fleury fired back, playfully.
A reporter seized on the opportunity to ask extra questions and so did Quin.
“Quin, as a former point guard,” a reporter jumped in.
“You or me?” Snyder asked, pretending to be confused.
“You,” the reporter replied.
“Oh good,” said Snyder as laughs filled the room.
The exchange was a far cry from the Snyder who entered the post-game press conference Dec. 22 at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, obviously drained after a hard-fought defeat against No. 1 Illinois.
That night, Snyder took a seat at the table, hunched over and spoke in a low tone.
There was little joking. Little smiling.
Snyder said then he knew what the Tigers (7-5) were capable of and how close they were to achieving it. As a result he expended all of his energy trying to push his team to that level.
On the court Snyder’s zeal emerges in many forms. He can be found slapping the floor in an attempt to encourage the Tigers defensively or giving a referee an ear full.
During the Gonzaga game Thursday, Snyder once again displayed his range of emotions.
With a little more than eight minutes left in the first half, Snyder got so angry with the refs that he picked up a technical foul.
He was frustrated with a charging call on Linas Kleiza after a Jason Horton steal.
Snyder wasn’t afraid to give his players a hard time either. When freshman Kalen Grimes slowly walked into the huddle during a timeout in the second half against Gonzaga, Snyder grabbed him by the jersey and yanked him in.
Snyder’s frustrations aren’t reserved solely for the games. He said he got particularly upset with the Tigers on Wednesday after practice.
“I felt like we weren’t remembering how we prepared for Illinois,” Snyder said. “We weren’t hanging onto that tight enough. I thought we really prepared with more maturity against Illinois and our focus was really good.
“Our guys really came with that (Thursday). Talk about growing up, that’s what it is. Knowing the level they have to be on and how hard they have to play.”
An animated Snyder also tried to raise the level of the crowd late in the second half Thursday at Mizzou Arena.
Walking toward center court, Snyder waved his hands in the air in an attempt to get the 14,675 fans loud and on their feet.
“All the time he’s emotional,” Kleiza said. “That’s the way he coaches. That’s the way he is.”