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Frank Haith looks forward to athleticism of SEC basketball

With Missouri making the move to the SEC, head coach Frank Haith is looking forward to competing with some of the most athletic teams in the country.

Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Many might have looked at Missouri's move to the SEC strictly from the football perspective, but Tigers head basketball coach Frank Haith is pretty excited about the opportunity in front of his squad as well.

Haith said at SEC media day last week that one particular aspect about his team's new league that intrigued him was the difference in style between the Big 12 and SEC:

"One thing that really stands out is the athleticism in this league. It's a very athletic league. I also think they play a style, in terms of tempo defensively, that's a little different than the Big 12 there's more pressing, there's more aggressive play, and extending your defense in this league than there was in the Big 12. That's something we've got to get used to."

So, with Haith excited about competing in one of the nation's more athletic leagues, it's not a surprise that he praised the athleticism that his team will bring to the table in 2012-13, particularly from Pepperdine transfer Keion Bell.

"At Mizzou Madness, he jumped over 7 players, or 6 players," Haith said. "He's very gifted athletically."

In addition to Bell, the Tigers will be buoyed by transfers Earnest Ross (Auburn), Jabari Brown (Oregon) and Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut).

The play of those transfers will be especially important this year, with the Tigers losing their top three scorers from a year ago. Missouri opens the regular season on Nov. 10 against SIU-Edwardsville.