COLUMBIA, Mo. - After a program-worst 9-23 campaign last season, it would be understandable if pride in the Missouri basketball team was at an all-time low. Coach Kim Anderson and his staff are looking to change that.
Anderson, a former Missouri player and assistant himself, brought in another former Tiger, Corey Tate, in the offseason to replace Tim Fuller as an assistant coach.
"He's been here before," sophomore Tramaine Isabell said of Tate. "He's played for Mizzou. ... I feel like with him personally having a connection to the program and really wanting to see this team succeed, the team really takes notice of that and really respects whatever he has to say, because we know it's coming from a truthful place."
Tate, who had been Mineral Area College's head coach since 2004, forever left his mark on the Missouri program when he hit a game-winning shot in 1997 with seconds left against top-ranked Kansas.
"You're always going to remember him for that shot," Anderson said. "That was history. If you ask him, he'll tell you all about it. And he should. I don't blame him."
"Whenever we bring it up, he acts like he wants to shy away from it," he said. "But we know he likes it."
The team recently watched a highlight reel of Missouri basketball clips from teams past, and Tate's shot ended the video.
"We rewound it a few times," senior Ryan Rosburg said.
Rosburg said there has been more of an importance put on the program's history this year, and Tate has been at the center of that.
"The fact that he was a Mizzou player - he's had countless speeches to us about how important it is to him," Rosburg said. "He was getting mad at us when we were throwing our jerseys down after the games. Things like that. Just (to) know that we have Mizzou on our chest. I mean, I know what that means, but a lot of guys don't, but him offering that kind of perspective was important for a lot of kids."
Tate has also brought an affable personality to the team.
"He has a great way with players," Anderson said. "He has a great communication. His communication is really good. He's a guy that's not afraid to tell them like it is. "Hey, here's the deal, man.'"
Rosburg added: "I think he's just so personable and he's a goofy guy, and he's easy to talk to, and that's been great for us, but he's also had a fresh perspective."
Anderson and Rosburg both noted the many drills Tate brought with him to Columbia, including rebounding workouts dubbed "demon" and "psycho."
"He just brings more of like a friendship type of status to the coaching," junior Wes Clark said. "(He) makes everyone feel a little more comfortable."