The college coaching carousel in men's basketball is ever-rotating, and the news struck both Missouri and Arkansas fans yesterday as former Tigers coach Mike Anderson left to become the head coach of the Razorbacks and join the SEC. In this instance, however, a highly regarded recruiting class was already committed to former Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, and that will be the primary challenge before Anderson in his first few days on the job.
Pelphrey was able to get four ESPN Top 100 players to sign this spring, and the signs were positive that Arkansas was moving forward. Thus, it was surprising when Pelphrey was canned and fellow head coaches spoke out that the coach wasn't given enough time to succeed, especially when such hope was on the way. To that end, Anderson is walking into a very positive situation if he can maintain the incoming class.
No priority can top retaining the No. 4 point guard in the country in B.J. Young, a player actually from Missouri's McCluer North high school. Early quotes from Young sound positive: "I like Coach Anderson. I like his style of play. I like how he gets up and down and presses. I think Coach Anderson is cool." Still, Young can back out, as can other talented forwards like Hunter Mickelson and Aaron Ross.
Anderson's certainly aware of the coaching pressures on him to retain the recruits, and he's also been around the block enough to know that fellow SEC coaches are probably pulling hard on the guys to reconsider their commitment. Luckily the flash of Anderson's offensive schemes and his success at Mizzou could be enough to keep everyone in-house.