Mike Anderson understands that he left behind hurt feeling in Columbia, Missouri when he moved southwest to Fayetteville, Arkansas last spring. But the first-year Razorback coach says his feelings toward the Tiger basketball program haven’t changed:
“Those kids are part of my family. They will be for the rest of my life. Obviously they were hurt and even when you talk about some of the fans. Why? When I got there, there was not a lot of empathy about the program. Now there are feelings about it and I understand that. But I’m so excited for those guys. They’re going to do great things.”
“Those kids” are currently 23-2 and ranked #3 in the nation. While praising the job his friend Frank Haith has done in getting Anderson’s recruits to such a lofty spot in the polls, the ex-Mizzou man takes some credit for MU’s success: “I think I did my job because they were able to bring someone else in and the program is now one of the best in the country. I had the program where we wanted it.”
That he did. But he shouldn’t expect a lot of warm fuzzies the first time he takes his Razorbacks back to Mizzou Arena. Regardless of the roster he left behind, Tiger fans won’t soon forget his quick exit.
And regardless of what Anderson says before he face Missouri next year, you can be sure he’d have preferred his old school not join the same league with his current school. Like an ex popping up at former spouse’s wedding, it’s gonna be awkward.