On Friday evening (7:00 P.M., ESPNU & ESPN3), Missouri Basketball will kick off its 2012-2013 pre-season practice schedule by hosting Mizzou Madness.
Earlier this week, Head Coach Frank Haith talked about the event, and getting started in his second season at the helm for the Tigers.
"We're excited about Friday, and kicking things off," said Coach Haith. "We've had a great summer of being able to work with our guys, and taking that (European) tour, and being around our players. And, the NCAA has allowed us to have special time with our players, which I think has been really good. This event, Mizzou Madness, gives us a chance to really give something back to our fans. I'm typically not a hoopla guy. But this gives us a chance to give something back to our fans, but also the new guys, to see what Mizzou Basketball is all about. It's going to be a fun evening…………………………………… And, I think it'll be fun for our fans."
Coach Haith said that he'd "rather be practicing", but he acknowledged that the national exposure would be good for the program (recruiting).
Coach Haith went on to talk about his back court, which features pre-season All-Americans, Phil Presser and Mike Dixon.
"I think (our back court) is pretty good," said Coach Haith. "People across the country think they're pretty good. But, those guys have got work to do on the court. I think both guys have gotten better. This summer was great for both of them ………………………………………… Both of those guys had good summers, and even last year. Guards are such an important part of college basketball and winning basketball games. And, we're very fortunate and blessed to have two really good guards."
Coach Haith said that a major emphasis over the next few weeks will be to establish team chemistry, and for guys to identify, accept, and mesh into their roles on the team.
A bigger, stronger Laurence Bowers is expected to take the court on Friday, and to begin to knock off some of the dust from a season spent on the sidelines. Coach Haith called Bowers a "stat sheet stuffer".
"I'm excited about Laurence Bowers, and what he's going to bring to this team," said Coach Haith.
The Mizzou Madness event will feature among other things, a scrimmage, and a slam dunk contest.
It will also serve as something of an introduction for a pair of new Missouri assistant coaches, Dave Leitao and Rick Carter.
Coach Haith said that in watching film on the SEC basketball teams, that the league is "extremely underrated".
"There's some talent in that league, and some very good coaches," explained Coach Haith, who went on to say that he thinks that SEC football somewhat overshadows the quality of the basketball.
Coach Haith talked about the upcoming early season tournament, the Battle 4 Atlantis, which concludes in the Bahamas over the Thanksgiving Holidays.
"That tournament, everybody you talk to, says it's the best pre-season tournament in the country," said Coach Haith, talking about the Battle 4 Atlantis. "We've just got to be ready to play!"
He went on to talk about what he's looking for from his team on Friday night.
"I want the guys just to compete and play hard, and utilize that scrimmage time to really get something out of it," explained Coach Haith, talking about the scrimmage on Friday night. "It's not going to be like a pick-up game. They're going to run offense. They're going to be coached………………………………………… It's going to be a competitive setting, and I want those guys to use it like that. It's a chance to play in front of people."