Mizzou basketball season unofficially tips off Friday night when the Tigers host Harris-Stowe in an exhibition game at Mizzou Arena. Leading up to tip off, KBIA Sports Extra reporters Ross Taylor and JJ Stankevitz will be discussing what they expect from each of the members on Missouri’s roster this season.
JJ: Despite being a local Rock Bridge product and having a well-known name in Mizzou athletics, Ricky Kreklow didn’t get much attention in Mike Anderson’s 2010 recruiting class thanks to Phil Pressey, Ricardo Ratliffe, and Tony Mitchell. But everyone on the team seems to think Kreklow can be a very good player coming off the bench behind Kim English. To begin with a broad question, what are you expectations for Kreklow’s freshman year?
Ross: I don’t know that Kreklow’s contributions are going to be as easily quantifiable as some other players. More than anything, Kreklow needs to look at home on the floor and not get lost in the pace and physicality of Big 12 play. It’s hard to imagine any team keying on Kreklow, so if he can develop into someone able to simply hit open shots and make teams pay for leaving him alone, that’s a huge help to Missouri’s offensive balance. If he’s on the floor with the right people, he really should never be expected to create his own shot. I can postulate about his offense for quite awhile, but I know you and several people in the Missouri program are quite excited about what he can bring on defense, correct?
JJ: That goes into the whole “Kreklow can do more than just shoot” belief that’s flying around Mizzou basketball. It’s pretty simple: If you’re a guard in Mike Anderson’s system, you have to play defense. And if you can play defense, Anderson is going to squeeze every last drop out of whatever defensive ability you have. We’ve already seen a glimpse of Kreklow’s defensive ability in the Black & Gold game when he batted a Michael Dixon pass away, corralled it, and fed Laurence Bowers for a dunk. On top of his defense, Anderson raves about Kreklow’s passing ability and basketball IQ. If you watched the Kreklow Black & Gold highlight video at the top of this post, the first clip is of Kreklow going up for a shot and firing a quick pass to Bowers for an easy lay-up. The second clip is of Kreklow doing what a lot of people don’t think he can do—cutting to the basket and finishing a layup. Kreklow can and will create his own shot, but he’s a smart enough player that he’ll know when and when not to push the envelope in that area. He’s penciled in as the backup No. 3 guard behind Kim English, but do you see Kreklow seeing some time as a No. 2 guard in Mizzou’s offense?
Ross: I think it’s hard to say where he’ll see action just because Missouri can run out such an odd assortment of combinations at the 1, 2, and 3 spots. Heck, filling out the 1-2 spots alone is liking tinkering with an NBA Jam lineup. Everyone imagines Dixon and Denmon as the primary 1 and 2, respectively. I can’t imagine Phil Pressey in the 2-spot, but I can definitely see Dixon playing the 2 when Pressey takes over the point. I guess technically Kreklow could end up seeing some time at the 2-guard, but his skillset and his build just seem very, very catered to the 3. Plus, coming in and taking a minimum of 5-10 minutes a game from Kim English really isn’t a bad situation for a freshman to be in.