“I feel bad for Kim Anderson. I really want this to work for him. I want him to win big at Missouri.”
That or some variation of if has been posted on Twitter, Facebook and message boards across the Internet. If you’re a Missouri fan, you want Anderson succeed.
It’s not happening.
If back-to-back 20-loss seasons weren’t enough to prove that, Saturday’s embarrassing home loss to another directional school, Eastern Illinois, should be plenty of evidence.
Two-and-a-half years into his tenure, Anderson is 24-49. Twenty-four and forty-nine. He’s winning less than one-third of his games, and he’s doing it in front of some of the smallest crowds in school history.
Anderson inherited a mess. Former director Mike Alden lit the atomic bomb by meddling with a successful coach (Mike Anderson) and hiring a career con man (Frank Haith). The latter nuked the program in just three years, leaving behind a slew of NCAA infractions and a depleted roster.
Alden ended up settling for Anderson, a True Son, national champion at the University of Central Missouri and a great man. Unfortunately, despite those enviable qualities, it was the worst hire Alden could have made.
It was obvious early on that Anderson was in over his head. In his first game, he lost to UMKC 69-61 at home. In less than three years, Anderson has lost to several mid-majors, including two this season in North Carolina Central and Eastern Illinois. Against power conference opponents, he is 6-44. Six and forty-four.
After two miserable seasons in which he went a combined 19-44, Anderson finally did what he should have in his first season with a complete overhaul, resulting in a roster that consists of 11 freshmen and sophomores.
With one of the youngest teams in the country, growing pains were and are expected. But Missouri should not lose to MEAC and Ohio Valley Conference teams at home. That points to a lack of talent and a lack of coaching said talent.
Anderson can no longer say he isn’t coaching his players. This roster is his. It’s also one of the reasons he needs to be replaced. If he can’t recruit high-major talent, he shouldn’t be coaching in a major conference.
At the very least, after two years, the program should show signs of progress. The most depressing thing about Missouri basketball is that the players are regressing. Whatever confidence they had after pushing national power Xavier a month ago is long gone.
Anderson came to Missouri needing a backhoe to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, he brought a spoon.