The Kim Anderson Post-Mortem

What else can you say other than “I am glad that this nightmare experiment is over”? That’s really all I have, other than the roughly 800 words that are going to come after this sentence.

I hated the Kim Anderson hire from the start. Absolutely hated it. I couldn’t help but smile during his press conference, though. He was charming, charismatic and funny. Plus, it’s every alum’s dream to take the helm of one of your alma mater’s sports programs. I was watching a man live out his lifelong dream, and then it all fell apart the minute we said “go.”

Kim was a lackluster recruiter, ran off any good player who he inherited from Frank Haith (and even several of his own), made atrocious late game decisions and non-decisions, made excuse after excuse in press conferences and overall ran what should be a perennial top 25 program into the ground.

The mess he inherited from Frank Haith’s hasty departure seemed to be the go-to excuse for KA fanboys. It holds water. Haith left the program an absolute mess, but he also left behind a pretty decent incoming recruiting class (Teki Gill-Caesar and Jakeenan Gant were top 100 players). There was something that could be built upon. Every player in that class was gone before the end of Kim’s second season. The NCAA was breathing down Haith’s neck by the end of his tenure, and like the rat he is, he jumped ship before having to face the music, leaving Mizzou holding the bag on impermissible benefits violations. 23 vacated wins, scholarship limits and one postseason ban later, blah blah blah. Kim inherited a bad situation, sure. Mike Anderson came into a very similar situation in 2006 and had the Tigers within a few missed free throws of their first ever Final Four in his third year. Goddamn Kemba Walker.

There were never any signs of improvement under KA. None. He never had a top 25 recruiting class, never won a conference road game (do you know how utterly impossible that is at a school like Mizzou in a league like the SEC?), couldn’t close on Michael Porter, Jr., never beat a ranked team. His resume reads like an Alcorn State interim coach.

The shame of it all is that this could very well happen to one of my friends in 30 years. Kim was brought in as the old guard’s white knight. Norm’s boy. Norm Stewart is one of my 10 favorite people in the world, but Kim hadn’t been near a major college basketball program in nearly two decades. I can imagine that this massive failure is hard to swallow for those who boldly stood behind the hire. Kim represented a return to the glory days of Hearnes Center and cutting down the nets at Kemper Arena. Norm’s boy. What wasn’t to love?

I wanted like hell for Kim to work out, but the end of his colorless tenure needs to be a step towards firebombing the hell out of the sheer bumfuckery that has plaged Mizzou’s campus for the last two years. The stretch of horrid decision making and sheer absence of ideological and actual, appointed leadership on Mizzou’s campus recently has left True Sons like myself absolutely exhausted.

The Mizzou job is a good-if-not-great job. Always has been. Kansas City, St. Louis and Mid-Missouri produce top 100 caliber talent every. single. year. Millions of people live within a two hour drive to the arena. The facilities on campus are among the best in the SEC. Mizzou Arena should/can be the toughest place to play in the SEC. Rabid fanbase. Drop dead gorgeous campus. Great people. It’s everything you could want from a job with such medium expectations.

Mizzou fans aren’t hard to please. I wouldn’t say they are easy to please either, but the point remains, I don’t think I’m asking for much when I ask for a top 25 basketball program in a basketball crazy state that occasionally competes for conference titles and regularly makes it to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.

Mizzou basketball used to be a major point of pride in the Show-Me State. I don’t have to give the history lesson. There’s no more time for half-measures. I want a full freaking measure.

Give me Cuonzo Martin, who has the connections to lock down the wellspring of NBA talent that has consistently slipped through Mizzou’s fingers in St. Louis.

Give me Scott Drew, the most underappreciated coach in the nation, who took a program that was the center of a murder investigation and subsequent murder cover up and turned them into one of the 10 best programs in the country.

Give me Gregg Marshall, who has owned the Missouri Valley conference and has taken WICHITA STATE to a Final Four.

Give me someone. For the love of god, give me someone who can take the wheel of this wayward ghost ship of a program and steer it back in the right direction.

I don’t ask for much. Gary Pinkel never won a conference championship and he will have a statue built outside of Faurot Field (soon to be Faurot Field at Pinkel Stadium) in the next five years. Norm Stewart never made a Final Four and they named the court at Mizzou Arena after him. There’s not much of a precedent in Columbia other than “don’t suck.”

There’s not much left to say. Get it right. Don’t screw this up again. Go get the guy. It’s been too long. I want to feel good again.

Diary of a Middle Management Sellout: Beefing Up In Q4

Diary,

My man! How long has it been? Saturdays are for the boys! Ha ha! Classic. I know it’s not Saturday, but I’ve been getting tons of laughs from my subordinates/lesserthans whenever I say that at the new job. I gotta fill you in. I finally made it, Diary. Made it to the big show. I am finally management. After doing some part-time consulting in the field for Uber, your boy got his first big time job offer. Oh yes, I’m a manager. It says so on my card. I have three employees reporting DIRECTLY to me and it’s really great to have people I can blame when shit goes wrong. Shit rolls downhill, and I’m squatting bare assed at the top of a mountain.

I’ve checked off an item on my professional bucket list. I’m finally making six figures. My salary starts with a 6, so I’m counting it. So what the hell have I been doing for the last year and a half? Man. Things have been such a whirlwind. I tried getting Steak & Scotch off the ground a few times, but none of my rich friends felt like investing in what my buddy Troy called “Red Lobster for Mark Cuban.” Okay, idiot. You know who would invest in a restaurant like that? Mark fucking Cuban. It was a once in a generation opportunity, and the water under the Golden Gate is freezing cold. Man, can’t wait for that JT Netflix deal.

So, what else has been going on? Oh I don’t know, upgraded to a sick downtown loft. Well, it’s not downtown, but I can see some of downtown from my bedroom. I scrubbed the roommate since I’m hauling down six figgies and I started ordering Blue Apron five nights a week. I have a bunch of rotten food in my fridge now, but my neighbor has seen me getting it delivered at least three times, so she might think Gilbert T. is a man who has his ducks in a row.

Work is actually pretty tough, Diary. I have actual responsibilities. It’s hard to get my work done with all the Westworld subreddits I have to read, so I’m having trouble keeping up. These are the sacrifices one must make if you want to be able to afford both Amazon Prime AND Brazzers accounts. Some may call that “being in over your head”, but I choose to think that my sacrifice is worth it. The good news about being management is that you can buy yourself all sorts of time by going back and forth between “trying a new strategy” and “getting back to basics,” which really just means sitting around until someone emails me and tells me what to do.

I just don’t have any time for anything, Di. My friends are all settled down now. Literally everyone I know got married in the same year. It was insane. You can only wear the same navy suit/brown shoe combo so many times before people start thinking you’re poor. Three of them alone were in Mexico. Had to stay in a Best Western and fly Frontier one time. So embarrassing. I used up all my Southwest Rapid Rewards points to go meet a chick from Chicago I met on Bumble one weekend. She was pretty upset when she found out I wasn’t a “Medical Professional.” My matches have taken a total nosedive ever since I decided to be honest in my pursuits.

What does the future hold for me? I don’t know. Maybe love, maybe Steak & Scotch. Maybe nothing. Maybe I just fade into irrelevance and collapse in on myself like a Chilean mine. Put on some weight, marry a 4, pray to god I never get downsized, buy a split level three bedroom in the suburbs, start wearing Sketchers. But that’s not me. That’s not who I am. I’m a fighter. I’m out here in the trenches fighting every day. But I’ll be around, that’s for sure. I’m not going down without a fight, and Gilbert T. Humplestead fights dirty. So watch me grab this handful of sawdust and throw it right in life’s face, Diary. Watch me.

They have no idea how high I can fly.

Gil

Sunday Night Talk Down

Currently in the throes of an unforgiving hangover. Jitters, anxiety, smoker’s cough, lethargy, never ending hunger, the shakes, but most inconveniently, the crushing realization that tomorrow comes another week.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. I should probably be eating something or maybe finally taking that three-day old load of laundry out of the dryer. Odds are, you’re right where I am too. It’s time to fight back against the dying of your will and forcefully reclaim the little freedom you have left.

What follows is a step-by-step combination of meditation, entertainment, introspection and food. Follow me into the light. Hold my hand and never fall victim to the foul beast known as Sunday night.

I’m Watching:

National Treasure: Book of Secrets, 8:30pm, ABC Family. I often wait until Monday night to watch TD since most episodes of that show send me spiraling into a pit of despair and paranoia that I can’t recover from until one or two in the morning. I am going with something light this evening. Nothing like a popcorn historical fiction masterpiece starring Nic Cage. The National Treasure franchise doesn’t get enough credit, especially as a soothing, take-my-brain-out-of-my-head, easy-to-follow thriller. There are barely any guns, there’s American “history” and the criminally underrated Diane Kruger. Love her.

Alternate programming: The 2000s: A New Reality (NatGeo)

I’m Listening To:

“Stepping Out” by Joe Jackson. They used to play this song at my family pool during the summer. Nothing gets rid of my Sunday night anxiety like reminders of my youth and how disappointed my 12-year-old self would be in how badly I’ve sold out. Still puts me at ease.

Food:

Chipotle.

Godspeed.

Where I Went

It doesn’t matter where I went. All you need to know is I’m still here. I didn’t die.

I’ll be right here if you still give a hot crap about what I have to say. 2-3 pieces a week. Maybe sometimes more, maybe sometimes less. Depends on whether I actually like you people anymore (spoiler: I do. I am going to die without internet attention. It is my lifeblood). All I can tell you is that this guy loves him some internet writing and I’ll be damned if I’m going to hang it up anytime soon. This may look like a blog, but I can guarantee you it won’t be awful. It’s a goddamn website. Blogs are for amateurs.

I make internet for the American working man, because that’s who I am and that’s who I care about.