For new Tiger English, Mizzou a Family Affair

As he boarded a plane from New Hampshire Friday morning, Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) wing guard Kim English had his plan in place: if his official visit to Missouri this weekend went well, if he liked Columbia and felt comfortable with the coaching staff and the players, he would verbally commit to be a Tiger on the spot. But he never could have expected everything would fall into place so naturally.

After a day of checking out the academics and athletics offered by MU's program, including shooting hoops into the wee hours of the morning with a couple of Mizzou players, English set his plan into motion.

He told head coach Mike Anderson he'd like to accept his scholarship offer, and Anderson smiled and congratulated him. Then, the 6-foot-6 Baltimore native walked into a room full of MU players and assistant coaches and announced his decision to a round of applause.

"I got a lot of handshakes and hugs," said English, the fifth member of the high school Class of 2008 to verbally commit to Mizzou. "The whole time, it felt like I had known these guys for a long time."

English also was being recruited by Tennessee, Cincinnati, Rhode Island and St. Bonaventure, among others. He visited Cincy last weekend, but it was a tad too much like his hometown.

"I didn't want to be in a city like Baltimore … I wanted to get away from that and be in a college town," said English, who called first thing Sunday morning to relay the big news. "It was [close enough to] St. Louis and Kansas City but still had a small-town atmosphere and was comfortable."

English, who is attending prep school this year to tidy up his transcript a bit, was impressed by a power point presentation from MU's a member of academic support staff. He was planning on majoring in business management, but came away from his trip thinking about journalism after hearing of how highly respected Missouri's J-school is.

His commitment means Anderson has secured the 3-point sharpshooter he's been seeking. English averaged 17 points, seven rebounds and four steals per game as a senior at Randallstown (Md.) High, which he helped lead to three consecutive state titles. He's prized for his sweet jumpshot, though he can also get to the hoop and has the potential to be a very good defensive player.

Anderson told English he will fill the void left by sharpshooter Matt Lawrence's graduation after English's freshman year and will add some slashing ability to the position.

"He wants me to shoot," English said. "he said I'll go well with [point guard recruit Miguel] Paul, because he loves to slash and he loves to pass, and that all of us have that killer instinct."

As soon as he committed, English sent a text message to a few of his teammates at Notre Dame sharing the news. Their response: now it's time to work ten times harder. That doesn't seem likely to be a problem for English, who has gone from little-known suburban standout to high-Division I recruit in a span of months.

And while some players prefer to check out the party scene while on recruiting trips, English spent his first night in town played one-on-one and shoot around with Keon Lawrence and Zaire Taylor until 2:30 a.m.

It won't be the last time.

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