MU basketball team eager for real competition

Thursday, November 1, 2007 | 11:44 p.m. CDT; updated 9:53 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

COLUMBIA — DeMarre Carroll knows the Missouri men’s basketball team.

Since transferring from Vanderbilt in 2006, the Tigers are the only team he has played against, and even that has only been in practice and two Black and Gold scrimmages.

But now, after putting up 21 points and 11 rebounds in Tuesday’s Black and Gold game, the Big 12 Conference’s preseason Newcomer of the Year says he is ready.

Carroll makes his competitive debut on Saturday, when the Tigers take on Missouri-St. Louis in an exhibition at Mizzou Arena.

He sounds ready.

“I’m just hungry, and I ain’t talking about food,” Carroll said. “I’m really hungry. When I get on the court, I just want to eat, because I haven’t ate in a long time.”

The game probably won’t be too exciting. The Tigers outscored opponents 195-111 in two exhibition games last season. But after losing to No. 11-seeded Baylor in the first round of the Big 12 tournament last March, it was a long offseason.

The Tigers have been practicing since Oct. 12, including nearly two weeks of two-a-day practices, but they have been together since the end of last season.

Most of the players stayed in town working on their games over the summer, and from the beginning of school until the start of official practice, the players have been attending daily conditioning sessions starting at 6 a.m.

“I think everybody is tired of seeing each other pretty much twice a day,” senior Marshall Brown said. “I think everybody is really excited.”

After the basketball game, fans are invited to stay and watch the No. 9 Missouri football team take on Colorado on the Mizzou Arena video boards.

Kickoff for the football game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. and concession stands will remain open.

SUSPENSIONS: As of Thursday, seniors Stephon Hannah and Darryl Butterfield will be in street clothes for Saturday’s basketball game. Team spokesman Dave Reiter said they will remain suspended until coach Mike Anderson decides otherwise.

“Whenever coach makes that decision we’ll go with it,” Reiter said.

Both players missed Tuesday’s Black and Gold game.

Anderson said Hannah, Missouri’s leading scorer last year and the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year, violated team rules. Butterfield returned to practice on Monday but remains suspended from games after pleading guilty to misdemeanor peace disturbance charges.

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