Missouri basketball coach Frank Haith has already dealt with a lot of drama before his first official game with the Tigers. First, a Yahoo! Sports article came out detailing the illegal recruiting practices at his former stop at the University of Miami. Then came the loss of Mizzou forward Laurence Bowers for the season due to a torn ACL. Heading into this upcoming 2011-12 season, Haith is going to have to hold several things together for any significant success. Yet he says his players and staff are up to the task.
When addressing the injury and the upcoming season at a recent press conference, Haith was realistic about losing Bowers and the hardship it brings. Yet he also says his players are ready.
"Losing Laurence Bowers obviously hurts our team, but I can tell you that our guys have handled that very well. The first couple days of practice have been really, really good. I think we've got a team because we've got really good guards. We've got a team that's very capable of being competitive in this league."
Haith is emphasizing that the rest of the Missouri frontcourt isn't the only area on the team that needs to step up with the loss of Bowers. Even the coaches are prepped to do the same.
"We didn't have a lot of size to begin with in terms of our front line and losing a guy that's probably one of your better rebounders and we got outrebounded by five last year [per game]. One thing we try to address with our team is that it's not just our front line that's going to have to pick it up. It's gotta be our guard play, our coaching staff... I think everybody has to give a little bit more."
It's going to be a taxing year for Haith as he tries to continue Missouri's previous success and hope to keep his hot seat as cool as possible. He's already weathered a couple of storms already so perhaps he's here for a while after all.