2005 Missouri Tigers Basketball Preview
2005 Missouri Tigers Team Preview
The Tigers thought that their dynamic forward/center Linas Kleiza would be back this season with his 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds a game. Kleiza had claimed at the end of the 2004-05 season that he would be a Tiger in 2005-06, but it became apparent as the NBA draft drew near that the player was a hot commodity. He went in the first round and that left Missouri scrambling.
Kleiza’s departure means the Tigers do not have an inside shooter or a post up force. When you come to grips with that fact and then figure in the 10.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest that former guard Jason Conley contributed last year, you realize that this team could be in trouble. How can they avoid potential point deficit difficulty?
Junior guard Thomas Gardner is the team’s highest returning scorer with 10.4 points per contest, while senior guard Jimmy McKinney popped for an average of 7.2 points each game. Both players, along with sophomore starting guard Jason Horton, had some big, individual games last season against powerhouse teams. But none of these starters have given the Tigers consistent starts or stats. They must do that this season.
The freshman class offers talent but no one, except for perhaps strong shooting Leo Criswell, will be ready to step into a starting position. Forward Criswell may be a partial solution to the Tigers’ weak inside game. Another hope is that second-year forward Marshall Brown can ignite the team with his 3-pointer and by becoming an on court leader.
The reality is that for a team like Missouri that in 2004-05 was ranked last in the Big 12 in scoring and first in turnovers losing a player of the caliber of Kleiza is devastating. Entering his seventh year Coach Quin Snyder (116-80) has had back-to-back disappointing seasons—not having made the NCAA Tournament either of those years. This season may be more of the same but worse, which some feel will not bode well for Snyder’s future at Missouri.
We have also listed the link to the official Missouri Tigers athletic site, for those that would like more info on the 2005 Missouri mens basketball team. If not continue on below to more of the individual big 12 schools.