Phil Pressey’s NBA Decision Not a Surprise

Phil Pressey

The news we had all been waiting for, well if you are a Mizzou sports fan at least, finally broke on Wednesday morning; junior point guard Phil Pressey is headed to the 2013 NBA Draft. I can’t say I’m surprised. The way things ended this year weren’t great for anyone, especially Pressey.

A close road loss on Saturday meant the same type of questions he’d take from the media every Monday. As the season wound down, we started get to less and less time to talk to Phil. I could tell that with each  mention of the season’s road struggles and late second missed shots, his voice and body language all changed. He became shut off in a way; like he didn’t really have the answers or if they did they were more like secrets. He wasn’t the same Phil from last season.

Pressey after loss to Norfolk StateAs someone who has never played sports at a high competition level, I’m not sure how the mindset of a player is at times. Is there anyway that the final shot that Pressey took against Norfolk State really to win the game but missed really messed him up? I’m not trying to make excuses for him but if you look at the close game situations when the ball was in Pressey’s hand – he clearly struggled. Did he not want to make the same mistake and let his team down again so he thought if had control things would be ok? That a shot to win the game in the regular season could erase the memory of the NCAA Tournament game from 2012? I’m not sure but I know you can’t forget something like that.

I think most importantly Phil just wanted a clean break and to forget about everything that crumbled down after the 2011-12 30-5 season; a season that Mizzou fans and media members constantly compared this season to. It’s hard not to compare and I think that was one of the things that made it really hard for Phil. I think he is looking for a clean start and he’ll get one in a way. People will still talk about how he came up short this season because that is going to affect his draft stock. He can’t escape that but he will be on a new team where that won’t really matter anymore.

We also can’t forget that at the beginning of the season, Frank Haith mentioned that it was going to be the last year for a lot of guys. He slipped up and mentioned Phil before correcting himself saying he didn’t know if Phil was going – but I think he probably did know. Phil had had one foot out the door since the beginning of the season and the other foot went out during SEC play. Even though he struggled, Phil will still be missed. He kept Mizzou in a lot of games but just came up short.

Phil PresseyThis next season will be an interesting one.  Mizzou has talent but most of it is young. They’ll bring back Earnest Ross, Tony Criswell and Jabari Brown who all got valuable minutes of the court. Ryan Rosburg and Stefan Jankovic will also be back but need some major improvement for their sophomore year. They will also have the addition of Jordan Clarkson, who will most likely be the best player on the team. Of these players, I’m most interested in seeing who will take on the leadership role. My guess: Ross. He’s outspoken when he needs to be and emotional enough that he can get the guys to listen.

When the announcement Phil was leaving came, some Mizzou fans asked questions about Negus Webster-Chan and why he was gone if Phil was gone. I don’t think fans would want Negus running things. He came in with high hopes but those quickly crumbled. He couldn’t handle the ball and give Pressey a break. I do have high hopes for incoming freshman point guard Wes Clark. He will be the second best ball handler behind Clarkson and there is a good chance he takes the point guard role this year.

I’m excited to see what is going to happen this next year. How the pieces of the puzzle fit together — but for now  I’m ready for a break from basketball. After this season, I don’t want to talk Mizzou basketball again until at LEAST September. I need a break!

Win for Ware: A Producer’s Take

Win for Ware

When something goes wrong – the first thing to do is find the route that with the least amount of damage as soon as possible. While watching the Louisville/Duke game on Sunday, what went wrong was a devastating injury to Louisville sophomore Kevin Ware.

The injury was unlike anything I had ever seen before. I’m still trying to process how his leg bent that way because it still doesn’t seem possible. I don’t think I will ever actually know how it was possible either because I can’t watch it anymore. In fact, I refuse to watch it because it makes me sick to my stomach and brings tears to my eyes. As the scene developed, I somehow strapped on my producer hat and started thinking about what I would do if I were in that situation.

Ware with TeammatesIt’s something I can’t help but do. I stack these invisible hats on top of each other – all ones that define who I am. Aspects of our lives affect everything we do whether we want them to or not. This was one of the times when being a producer affected the way I reacted to an event and made me look at something differently than a lot of other people.

My first thought was to go to break. Something like this happens rarely and I was worried that it could spiral out of control quickly. CBS could replay that horrific scene too much, get the wrong angle of Ware on the court (showing his leg bent), etc. The numerous tragic possibilities started flowing into my head. I started to worry and waited to see when they would cut to break.

As producers, we are trained to constantly be thinking about everything that could possibly go wrong and how to handle it. That’s why going to break made the most sense to me at first. My mindset was to go to break, have the producers/staff tell everyone the game plan for when they came back and then proceed with caution. But what seemed like the best option to me wasn’t what they did.

Something I didn’t take into consideration at the time was the production team the producer was working with. Having a group of people that can look crisis in the face with blinking is something to be truly blessed with. I’m sure the team working the NCAA Tournament is the major league crew for CBS – which is why I don’t think they ended up going to break. They took control without even batting an eye but still managed to proceed with caution. They let the story unfold in front of America and kept it from turning into a disaster. CBS was able to feed the masses as hundreds of thousands started spreading the news on social media. They also taught me to view the audience a different way. I learned that sometimes I need to think of the viewers that I could get at any moment at the same level I think about keeping the viewers I have. By putting on my producer hat I learned a valuable lesson I might not have learned otherwise.

Win for WareAs time progressed, we slowly learned more about Ware’s injury – details so gruesome that hearing them didn’t make it any less painful than seeing it. In his post game interview head coach Rick Pitino described how despite having a bone sticking out of his leg, Ware kept telling his team to win the game. That type of passion and strength is something that everyone should admire, whether you are a Louisville fan or not. Having the ability to still put your team before yourself when you are in pain like that is amazing. My heart goes out to Ware, his family, his friends and his team. It made me become a Ware fan – even having never met him before. In that moment of pain, we got to see the true type of person he is. He is admirable and I pray that he is able to recover as quickly and painlessly as possible. I hope that the strength he had in front of his team will help in the long fight ahead of him. And most importantly I hope that Louisville is able to go to Atlanta, the home of Kevin Ware, and win the national title for him.

Louisville, I picked you to win it all just two weeks ago and I hope that to be true. Come on Cardinals, Win for Ware.