University of Missouri officials are faced with a difficult decision. Do they give Mike Anderson a blank check and let him decide how much money he wants, or do they let him leave for the University of Georgia? Anderson made $850,000 this year, and MU has reportedly offered him a new contract in the $1,300,00 a year range. That seems more than fair to me, especially considering Anderson still has two years left on his existing contract.
I'm a big Mike Anderson fan. I like his style, his coaching philosophy, everything about him really. But how much has he really proven at Mizzou? Remember, in his first two seasons in Columbia the Tigers were mediocre at best, played in a mostly empty Mizzou Arena, and weren't even considered worthy of a NIT bid. There had already been talk that maybe he wasn't the guy to get things done. He's losing three of his top players to graduation (DeMarre Carroll, Leo Lyons and Matt Lawrence) and his son is also a departing senior. Anderson hasn't exactly set the world on fire with his recruiting. Lyons and Lawrence were there before Anderson arrived, and Carroll transferred to Mizzou because Anderson is his uncle. Anderson has yet to recruit a single player from the St. Louis area, and one of the freshmen he did recruit for this year, Steve Moore, didn't play a lick. Again, I think Anderson did a fantastic job with this season. He put Mizzou basketball back on the map. I'm just making the point that MU officials have to be careful not to get too carried away with one year's success. It seems likely that Mizzou will find it very difficult to repeat their success next year with most of their top players leaving. Anderson has all the leverage right now and is using it with his trip to Georgia and subsequent big-money offer. If he leaves it will be a tough blow for Mizzou fans. But there are plenty of other top quality coaches who would be thrilled to come to Missouri. The stench of Quin Snyder has been removed. Anderson has revived the program, but if it takes another coach to step in and keep it at this level, or even make it better, than so be it.