I couldn't find a picture of Missouri men's basketball coach Mike Anderson smiling or looking happy.
Couldn't do it.
But if he signs a couple of enormously talented recruits that he's rumored to be close to, that could change. The man might turn into a Stride commercial. If CMA signs Tony Mitchell and Bradley Beal (2011) , this guy's pearly whites may NEVER go away.
Mizzou has signed one five-star recruit since sites like Rivals started paying attention to this sort of thing nearly ten years ago. That was Linas Kleiza, who left after only two years of ball to be a first round draft pick and double-digit scorer in the NBA before landing a lucrative contract in Europe.
They also landed in the Elite Eight last year with a team full of hard-working, smart players who bought into Anderson's hard working system known as "40 Minutes of Hell".
To imagine how that system would work if Anderson had top-flight talenta and athleticism is truly mindboggling.
Mitchell's top two are Georgetown and Missouri, and he has been quoted as saying that he wants to visit Columbia before the early signing period ends. If that happens, I'd bet on him being a Tiger. A former Kansas State commit, his mom is taking the driver's seat in his recruiting, and she supposedly loves CMA, well-known as a people person. I'd be sort of surprised if he isn't a Tiger by Thanksgiving.
Mitchell is absolutely perfect for 40 Minutes. He's a 6'7'' wing from Dallas that has good ball skills and unbelievable athleticism, but might be a little raw around the edges. Perfect. Getting him out onto the open floor at Mizzou Arena sounds like a dream come true while Anderson and staff hone his skills and technique.
DeMarre Carroll is the perfect example of a guy that bought into CMA's system and made it to the NBA as a first rounder based on technique and hardwork alone. Combine that with Mitchell's skills and you have a star.
Beal will be a much tougher sign, but the Tigers have made up a lot of ground. A few months ago the shooting guard out of Chaminade Prep in St. Louis was supposedly only thinking about UNC, Duke, and Kansas.
Now? He cancelled his latest trip to KU to watch his little brother's football game, and his home state school is looking a whole lot more appealing. He's currently the seventh overall recruit in the country for 2011.
As a Tiger basketball fan, I literally can barely contain my glee at the thought of these players in the 40 Minutes system. Sign these players and combine them with the young talent in Columbia and you're looking at a lineup of three top 60 national recruits (Phil Pressey rounds out the three) and a major scorer in English.
Back in the day, Missouri was pulling big time recruits left and right. Travon Bryant, Kalen Grimes, Marshall Brown, and Jason Horton are all high-quality recruits that didn't pan out. But if Anderson, who has been successful with less than marquee talent, can start to reel in some big fish, look for Tiger hoops to be able to play with the best of them for a long time coming.