Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — When the Missouri athletic department announced the hiring of Kim Anderson as men’s basketball coach, fans of the hire were excited to welcome a “Mizzou guy” to the sideline of Norm Stewart Court.
But Anderson, a former player and assistant at Missouri, didn’t let his supposedly requisite hatred of a certain rival school cloud his vision as a strategist.
When asked Monday about his influences as an offensive coach, Anderson answered as if he were taking part in confession.
“We actually run,” he said before pausing, perhaps to wonder if he really wanted to continue, “Bill Self’s high-low offense. I mean, that’s kind of what we do.”
Self, of course, is in his 12th year as coach at Kansas, Missouri’s longtime rival. Rivarly or no, Self isn’t a bad coach to emulate. In his tenure with the Jayhawks, Kansas has won 10 straight regular season Big 12 championships, reached the NCAA Tournament every season and won a national title.
Anderson said when took over as coach at the University of Central Missouri in 2002, he wasn’t quite sure what his offensive mindset would be.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “I had ideas, but it’s not like I had this philosophy. I knew I wanted something that spread the floor a little bit. I knew I wanted something where we could throw the ball inside.”
Anderson developed much of his current approach by picking coaches’ brains while working with the Big 12. He was hired as director of basketball operations in 1999 and later served two years as the assistant commissioner of the Big 12.
The fingerprints on his offensive playbook run the gamut of successful Big 12 coaches.
“When we run a one-four high set, that’s Kelvin Samson, back when he was at Oklahoma,” Anderson said.
Anderson played and coached under Missouri legend Norm Stewart, but “Stormin’ Norman” was far from the only big-name coach to have a role in Anderson’s development.
“When I was assistant commissioner, I’d go to practice and watch guys. I can remember coach (Bobby) Knight — I would go out and see him at Texas Tech,” Anderson said. “And of course he and coach Stewart had a good friendship, and he would invite me in to watch video with him. Most people would have to pay for that. Now, that’s a free clinic. And you just kind of sit there and listen.”
Former Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton, who retired with more than 800 wins, also lent Anderson a few tips.
“Coach Sutton used to sit in the stands with me when I would come, and we would just sit there and he would point things out,” Anderson said. “You can’t buy that.”
Anderson also said he learned from former Baylor coach Gene Iba when he coached under him from 1985-91. And yes, Anderson picked the brain of another Kansas coach.
“Roy Williams was great to me,” he said.
So why were these legendary coaches so willing to help and up-and-comer like Anderson?
“I was in charge of the officials, so maybe that had something to do with it,” Anderson joked. “But not really. Those guys were all established coaches. I’ve taken a lot, and I still do today. I mean, I still watch stuff and I’ll make little tweaks. I think most coaches do that.”
Even when it means borrowing from a Jayhawk.