Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Kim Anderson would rather talk basketball, if you don’t mind.
Missouri’s self-imposed penalties for violations committed by the men’s basketball team were made public Wednesday, but the investigation has been hanging over the second-year coach’s head for more than a year.
“Guys, this has been going on for a long time,” he said. “(It’s not) like last week they call up and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this.’ … I just want it over with. I just want it over with so I can coach basketball and I can manage my team the way I want to manage my team and I can do what I need to do to be a good basketball coach.”
The sanctions, which stem from violations the school said current Missouri coaches had no involvement with, include a one-year postseason ban, the loss of two scholarships and recruiting restrictions.
“I’m glad it’s out there,” Anderson said. “I’m glad it’s out there because that means it’s almost going to be done pretty soon. It’s just not going to drag on for forever and ever. So at some point … they’ll release the document, and then we’ll all analyze it and talk about it, and then it’ll be done.”
It was no secret Anderson was having a less than enjoyable first season at Missouri when the Tigers lost a program-record 23 games in 2014-15. What wasn’t known was Anderson joined a program in the midst of an investigation — something he said he didn’t know either when taking the job.
“This hasn’t been fun,” he said. “I mean, I’m just going to tell you, this hasn’t been fun, so what people want to think, people are going to think. … I can sit up here and make excuses and I could tell you things, but I think it’s better if we move on.”
Anderson said he would likely speak more about the violations once the NCAA issues its full report. Missouri completed a self-review that lasted 19 months and an NCAA decision as to whether more sanctions will be given is expected to arrive in the spring.
Missouri lost its first game after the news broke, Saturday at South Carolina. But a nine-point road loss to the No. 19 team in the country was far from a devastating result — especially considering Missouri had just lost by 33 at home the game before.
Anderson said he has been communicative with the team about the situation. They were given word of the sanctions Wednesday as well.
“I just talk to them about, ‘Hey, let’s continue to be focused, and let’s try to get better as a team and become better individually — individual skills and our team skills,’” Anderson said. “But I know it’s probably hard. Maybe the longer we go maybe it’ll get easier.
“… I mean, it’s kind of like you guys write this great article and you don’t have a newspaper to put it in. Or (broadcast journalists) do a great job, they film this brilliant piece on Kim Anderson and they don’t have a TV station to put it on. So there’s kind of an empty feeling, and I think as time goes on, hopefully you’ll get through that.”
Though the team will not be able to compete in any postseason tournaments this year — including the non-invitation Southeastern Conference tourney — Anderson doesn’t expect to switch the focus to long-term goals such as adding much-needed bulk with more time in the weight room.
“We’re not going to really change a whole lot,” he said. “I mean, obviously that’s a primary concern that we need to work on is getting stronger. Some of our guys have gotten stronger and some of them are still in the process of needing to get stronger, but right now there’s 14 games left. There’s a lot of games left. I’m going to try to treat this (as) business as normal. Let’s go play and get better as a team.”
Missouri (8-9, 1-3 SEC) returns to action Wednesday against Georgia (9-6, 2-3), which beat Missouri 77-59 on Jan. 6 in Athens, Ga.
Anderson was unable to comment on the transfer of Texas sophomore Jordan Barnett, who announced Friday he would be transferring to Missouri. He is currently enrolled at Missouri, according to the university directory.