Aug. 2, 2012
Columbia, Mo. -
Mizzou Basketball hit the practice court once again on Thursday and below is today's Pre-Europe notebook.
Another Great Workout:
Head Coach Frank Haith called Thursday's practice the best of the summer thus far. The team went through two hours of workouts and will hit the court once again on Friday.
"I thought it was another physical practice and the guys played with a great deal of energy," Haith said. "We really had a solid grasp of what we have worked on in previous practices and I saw improvement. We want to have that same type of improvement tomorrow, but I get the sense our team is really excited for next week's trip and that is showing in practice right now. It was the best we have had this summer."
Battle 4 Atlantis:
The bracket for the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis was announced on Thursday and Missouri will meet Stanford on Nov. 22 at Noon CT and then will face either Louisville or Northern Iowa on Nov. 23. Head Coach Frank Haith provided his thoughts on the draw.
"That Missouri-Stanford opener will be a lot of fun for the fans and a great way to open the tournament," Haith said. "Johnny has really built a strong foundation and his team finished great last year. The first thing basketball people will look at is the strong guard play between our two teams. Stanford has great guards with Chasson and Aaron and that has a chance to be the strength of our team again this year with Phil (Pressey) and Mike (Dixon) both coming back, not to mention some new players like Keion (Bell) and Earnest (Ross)."
"Win or lose that game and you have another tough one against Louisville or Northern Iowa," Haith Continued. "I can't imagine many preseason brackets being tougher than the two halves of the bracket down in the Bahamas."
Pandov Returns To Holland:
Many on the Missouri Basketball travel party will be making their first trip to Europe and to Holland, but Director of Basketball Athletic Performance Todor Pandov will be returning to the spot where he began his professional playing career. Pandov played for the team Eiffel Towers in 2004-05, earning All-Star honors.
"I really appreciated my time over there," Pandov said. "I really enjoyed the people and they have so much pride in their culture and history. It will be a great experience for our team to be over there together, walking around and learning about a new culture. The people carry themselves a little differently than we do and they have different types of fashion, cars, food, etc. It will be a great learning experience."
FIBA Tips From Stef and Negus:
Missouri has a couple of players with international experience, freshmen Negus Webster-Chan and Stefan Jankovic. The two Canadians have played with the FIBA basketball and each shared their thoughts on the biggest difference between the U.S. game and the international game.
"To me it's sweeping through with the basketball. We learn how to sweep through on offense and create a driving angle, but in international play they will call that a walk all day. You have to step back, start your dribble and then make your move. Our guys will adjust, but it'll get them a few times."
"I would say the basket interference rule. Not just on defense, but offense as well. For guys like Alex (Oriakhi) he can go up there and tip-dunk the ball even if it's in the cylinder. Once the ball hits the rim and bounces up it's fair game, either to swat out or dunk it. It's not as easy as you'd think though."
Fellow American Squad:
Missouri won't be the lone United States collegiate team in the area over the next two weeks. The University of Virginia will be playing games and the Cavaliers travel from Aug. 6-16. They play two games in Amsterdam on Aug. 8-9. Missouri departs on Aug. 8 and arrives the morning of Aug. 9. UVA also plays games in Belgium and France.
Junior guard Phil Pressey knocked knees while hustling for a loose ball on Wednesday (yesterday) and he will be held out of workouts the next couple of days as a precaution. The Dallas native was diagnosed with a mild sprain, so he will be available for next week's trip, however Coach Haith has not decided if he will play the All-America candidate during the five games in Europe.
"Fortunately Phil will be fine," Head Coach Frank Haith said. "We will put him in a brace for a couple of days and then he should be cleared, but I'm not sure I see a need to play him in Europe to be honest. He wasn't going to play a lot anyway. He had such a busy summer that he could use the rest and I want to see some different combinations out there while we have this opportunity."