Kim Anderson (Nate Latsch-Scout.com)

Missouri's Kim Anderson on Opening SEC Play, Hot Seat, LSU And More

Missouri coach Kim Anderson spoke with reporters on Monday morning during the Southeastern Conference basketball coaches teleconference.

Missouri basketball coach Kim Anderson addressed a number of topics when he spoke with reporters on Monday morning as part of the Southeastern Conference weekly teleconference.

Here is what Anderson said going into Wednesday’s SEC opener against LSU

Opening statement…

“Obviously our non-conference performance hasn’t been to our expectations but I really think our guys are looking forward to kind of the start of a new season. Throughout the whole non-conference and over the break and everything, they’ve done a great job in practice. We just haven’t been able to carry over to a game, I think, for a full 40 minutes. I know we’re all excited to get started. We’re playing a really good basketball team in LSU and I hope we come out and we play well.”

On whether Frankie Hughes will play against LSU…

“Frankie will play. Yes. Frankie Hughes will play on Wednesday.”

On Anderson’s mindset going into SEC play and what they need to get accomplished…

“I think the No. 1 thing for us is to make some shots. I think we have at times, the majority of times, we’ve played fairly well defensively but we’ve struggled to score points offensively. I’m hopeful that our guys relax and come out and shoot the basketball the way they can. I don’t think we’re the greatest shooting team in the world, but I know we’re better than we have been. So for me, what do I hope to get accomplished? I hope to play well on Wednesday against LSU and then after we play LSU I think we play Georgia after that. So kind of one game at a time. I hate to use that cliche but that’s the one I’m going to use.”

On the speculation he is on the hot seat…

“Maybe not all coaches are like this, but I think a lot of them are, I think coaches are always concerned about their jobs. I’ve been concerned about my job every day since I walked onto the campus of the University of Central Missouri. The only day I wasn’t worried about my job was the day after we won the national championship. I felt pretty solid that day. But I don’t really let that consume me. I’ve got a great group of young men here and we’re going to coach them and they’ve been working hard and we’ll see where that takes us.”

On whether he’s had discussions with athletic director Jim Sterk about the direction of the program moving forward…

“Jim and I talk on a fairly regular basis. I deal a lot with Brian White. We haven’t had any specific conversations about any particular goals that I have to meet or the team has to meet. The one thing that has impressed me about Jim Sterk is that he lets coaches do their jobs. I’m sure there’s an ongoing evaluation process as there is with every coach in the country. So for me he’s been great. I’ve enjoyed working with him and Brian. We’re just looking forward to playing LSU on Wednesday night.”

On his message to players going into SEC play…

“I’ve used the clean slate, 0-0 — we’ve talked about that. I know people probably don’t want to hear this but as you look back at the non-conference certainly we didn’t accomplish what we would have liked to, but I think you could realistically say it wasn’t like we got blown out by 35 points every game. I mean I think we competed. Certainly we had some games where we didn’t play well and there were certainly some teams on our schedule that on paper we should have beaten and we didn’t. There’s nothing I can do about that now. I’ve talked to our guys about, hey, this is an opportunity for kind of a new start and I’m sure a lot of coaches are saying the same thing today. We just are going to move forward and do the best we can.”

On whether Frankie Hughes will have the same kind of role vs. LSU and going forward as he’s had…

“I don’t know that he’ll have the same role. We’ve experimented with some different combinations this past week. We’ve had a little bit of time, since we haven’t played since Thursday. I think he’ll have a significant role, the same as the other eight or nine or 10 guys that are gonna play. I’m looking forward to having him back. He’s had some good practices and seems to be ready to go.”

On key matchups against LSU…

“I’m not going to give away all my trade secrets but I will tell you this, that we better figure out a way to control — because I don’t think you’re going to stop him — but control Antonio Blakeney. I think he’s a young man who’s very, very talented. He can obviously score the basketball in a variety of different ways. (Duop) Reath is a big-bodied guy that certainly those guys have given us some problems, so I think we have to do a good job of inside-outside defense combinations. Then they’ve shot the ball really, really well. They shot it unbelievably well the other night against Vanderbilt and that’s a universal concern from the the top of the roster down to the bottom because they have a lot of guys who shot it so well the other night. I think that’s something that we have to be alert for and whether we play man or whether we play zone I think we’ve got to know where the shooters are. But I think they are a very talented basketball team and I think they have a lot of weapons and I know they just got (Branden) Jenkins back, I think the last game, so that just gives them another piece to their puzzle.”

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