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Bernie: Anderson will turn critics into believers
Memo to the fans and (mostly) national media outlets that disparaged Missouri’s decision to hire Kim Anderson as basketball coach: I like it. Please continue to underestimate him.
Anderson is eminently qualified to do this job. And after taking some time restore order to a dysfunctional program, Anderson will succeed.
I’ve heard some folks pose the question: If Anderson is so good, then why didn’t another Division 1 program hire him? My answer: It’s irrelevant. This is all about what Mizzou needed in a coach at this moment in history, and Anderson is the ideal fit for several reasons:
He’s a smart basketball man. He won’t lose many, if any, strategy matchups. If you can, get a video of Central Missouri’s win in the DII national championship game. You will see a coach in total control of the game; his timing with adjustments and substitutions were spot on.
He’s an excellent leader who has commanded respect in every job he’s had. Anderson is the kind of leader who can get his players to work hard, and execute the system, and put the team’s goals first. That’s been missing at Mizzou.
He will install core basketball principles and give the wayward program a firm identity, especially on the defensive end. And MU’s chronic incompetence in running an efficient half-court offense? That’s over as soon as Anderson cultivates a couple of guards who can run the system. And you’ll be surprised by the tempo.
NCAA scandals have been a problem at Mizzou — but it won’t be an issue under this head coach, who has impeccable integrity. Players coming and going and using Mizzou Arena as a bus terminal? No roster stays 100 percent intact, but the incessant roster shuffling will cease with Anderson in charge.
Anderson will put an end to another recent Mizzou tradition: the head coach running off to chase dollars. This is the only job that Anderson ever wanted. It’s his dream come true. And fans who care about Mizzou hoops can now rest easy knowing that the guy in charge loves MU as much as they do.
Sure, Anderson will have to prove that he can recruit. But there are plenty of recruits out there who are good kids and good players. They’re not all spoiled, selfish egomaniacs. Not every potential recruit is looking to get paid. I’m confident that Anderson can find enough talent — and the right blend of personalties — to create a winner.
So go ahead an underestimate him. That way it will be a lot more fun when he wins and converts the skeptics.
Reading time, five minutes
Free Oscar Taveras.
The Cardinals are 15-15. Not good. But as my friend Randy Karraker of WXOS (101.1 FM) has pointed out, some of the greatest teams in Cards’ history have gotten off to poor or mediocre starts in the season’s first month — most recently in 1985 (5-11) and 2004 (12-11). Conclusion: long season.
It’s simply astounding how quickly manager Mike Matheny gave up on rookie second baseman Kolten Wong and new center fielder Peter Bourjos. … Bovada.lv has updated odds; the Cardinals and Dodgers are still co-favorites to win the NL pennant at 7-2. … Eight Cardinals made John Sickels‘ list of the top 150 prospects for 2014: They are: Taveras (No. 4), RHP Carlos Martinez (17), Wong (57), OF Stephen Piscotty (70), RHP Alex Reyes (88), OF Randal Grichuk (110), LHP Marco Gonzalez (116) and LHP Tim Cooney (139).
C’mon now. It’s bad enough that catcher Ted Simmons has gotten snubbed in the voting for the national Baseball Hall of Fame. But now he’s been snubbed in the first-year voting for the Cardinals Hall of Fame? This is one of the greatest players in franchise history.
In the 10 seasons of the 1970s, during his career peak, Simmons was fourth in the National League in hits, fourth in runs created, fourth in RBIs, third in doubles, fifth in total bases, sixth in multi-hit games, seventh in extra-base hits, 16th in homers and 16th in combined on-base and slugging percentage.
And Simmons produced all of this offense while toiling behind the plate in the steaming cauldron of the AstroTurf-covered Busch Stadium II. Can you imagine what it must have been like for a catcher to maintain the energy, strength and stamina to hit with the consistent excellence displayed by Simmons?
In Cardinals’ franchise history only five players finished with more wins above replacement (WAR) than Simmons: Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Albert Pujols, Ozzie Smith and Ken Boyer. The voters’ strikeout on Simba is a shame. Congrats to Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds, who were voted in by the fans. Hopefully it will be Simmons’ turn next year.
Moving on, we were pleased to see retiring Washington University director of athletics John Schael chosen as a member of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame’s incoming sixth class. Schael will be honored along with fellow inductees Bob Plager, Brian Sutter, Chris Carpenter, Orlando Cepeda, Aeneas Williams, Kristin Folkl, Taylor Twellman, Gus Otto, Ed Hightower, Connie Price-Smith and Todd Joerling. The annual enshrinement dinner will be Sept. 24, at the Renaissance Grand downtown. Visit www.stlshof.com for more details.
I want to wish my friend and former KMOX colleague Ron Jacober a happy retirement. Jacober is the consummate pro and in my opinion one of the most underrated sportscasters to work in our town. … Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder, the former Mizzou head coach, has received positive reviews for his work this season and is being touted as a candidate to land an NBA head-coaching gig for next season.
Hope I can make it to Fairmount Park today. I like California Chrome to win the Kentucky Derby. I usually look for reasons to toss out the favorite because the Derby is a crazy race that has taken down many a formidable 3-year-old. But I can’t do it this time. This is an inexperienced field that lacks depth. California Chrome is trained by Art Sherman, 77, who had taken the old-school approach by sending Chrome to the post 10 times already. So in a fragile field, California Chrome’s edge in experience and fitness loom as huge advantages. There’s a lot of early speed entered in this one, and if for some reason jockey Victor Espinosa gets caught up in an insane speed duel and burns California Chrome, I like closer Wicked Strong to be in position to steal the race. I’ll have both horses – mixed with Candy Boy and Intense Holiday — in my exotics.
Congrats to St. Louisan Bradley Beal. In the Washington Wizards’ first-round upset of the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Eastern Conference playoffs, Beal led his team with an average of 19.8 points a game. He knocked down 10 of 22 3-point shots, had 21 assists to five turnovers and averaged nearly five rebounds. Beal, 20, is in his second NBA season. When he scored 26 points in Game 2, Beal became only the 10th player in league history age 20 or younger to score 25 or more points in a playoff game.
The Mizzou Tiger Club of St. Louis is having its annual “Pigskin Preview,” featuring coach Gary Pinkel, on Wednesday at the Edward Jones Building at Interstate 270 and Manchester. The coach’s talk begins at 7:30 p.m. with a general admission for $10. But at 6:30 p.m. there’s a private meet and greet ($50 per person) with an appetizer buffet, happy hour refreshments, and a chance to gab with Pinkel, assistant coach Cornell Ford and MU broadcasters Mike Kelly and Howard Richards. For information and reservations call Curt Sawyer at 314-401-8604 or email him at email@example.com
Some pre-NFL draft intrigue from former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, who keeps talking up the Rams’ interest in Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel. As a guest on Pat Imig’s radio show on WGNU (920 AM), Jeremiah said, “Going back to the scouting combine, I had some people there telling me that the Rams are really interested in Manziel. Over the last couple of weeks I just kept getting it from more and more people around the league.”
Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. Around St. Louis places will be celebrating the occasion with signings, free comic books and other goodies and activities.
Many places, like Star Clipper on The Loop, will also be carrying the graphic novel, "Home Brew." It's a collection of stories to celebrate the 250th birthday of St. Louis and its done by local artists, the Ink & Drink Comics group.
That graphic novel also leads off with Derrick Goold's first published comic book story, "Shad's Tale." The Post-Dispatch and STLtoday.com baseball writer inked a fictional, fanciful retelling of the real disappearance of Cardinals pitcher Flint Rhem, and it explores why St. Louis has such deep, successful and cherished roots in baseball.
I read "Shad's Tale" and it's fantastic.