Anderson Can't Reel in Juco Star

Luke ThompsonContributor IApril 23, 2009

BOISE, ID - MARCH 20:  Head Coach Mike Anderson of the Missouri Tigers adjusts his team during their game against the Cornell Big Red during the first round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Taco Bell Arena on March 20, 2009 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
(must….resist…..making…..bad…..pun…..) Westchester Community College star Jarrid Famous has decided where he’ll be playing basketball next season.

Though speculation had been made the 6-foot-11 forward who averaged 25.2 points and 13.7 rebounds per game last season would either go to Missouri or tradition-rich Arizona, he decided he would rather go to South Florida, who finished 14 out of 16 teams in the Big East last season.


Famous came to Columbia to watch the Tigers beat Oklahoma and seemed like a good fit for Coach Anderson's system. Just a couple of weeks ago, Anderson went to go visit the forward and his family in New York. Apparently that didn't work.

The decision to play for former Arkansas coach Stan Heath is an interesting one for the player widely regarded as the best in the junior college ranks this season. Until someone from the famous family talks, there will be plenty of speculation.

Some say Famous wanted the warm weather (although that doesn’t explain why he’d spurn Arizona), while others pointed out he’ll be closer to his grandfather and two uncles. Maybe he wanted the challenge of playing in the Big East and trying to lead the Bulls out of the cellar.

At this point, though, Mike Anderson and his staff have too much work to do to worry about why Famous didn’t want to come to Columbia. With prep school forward Keith Dewitt facing eligibility issues, Missouri may not have any replacements for their top two scorers, DeMarre Carroll and Leo Ly0ns.

Missouri’s only significant loss in the backcourt was Matt Lawrence, and improvement from freshmen Kim English and Marcus Denmon, along with the addition of Kansas City point guard Mike Dixon, should more than make up for the loss of the team’s third-leading scorer who finally became more than just a three-point shooter this season.

But the frontcourt may have some serious issues. Justin Safford, Keith Ramsey, Laurence Bowers, and Steve Moore all return for the Tigers. But even if Safford and Bowers start playing more consistently up to their potential, they’re not going to be close to what Carroll and Lyons were this season.

Ramsey can’t provide a whole lot other than an occasional offensive spurt and great defense, while Moore still has a lot of developing to do. Depth and consistency figure to be the biggest issues.

Of course, there’s still time for Anderson and his staff to find someone else to play in the post for next season, although the chances of a top recruit are highly unlikely. Then again, none of this year’s influential newcomers were exactly top-flight.

It’s still early, but the lack of a star player like Famous probably means we’ll get a chance to see if this season really came about because of great coaching, or if it was just one magical season  of everything falling into place that can’t be duplicated.

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