Take a look at Texas A&M’s roster for 2009-2010, and you see one of the problems for Missouri’s women’s basketball team. Three players from the Kansas City area will be competing for the Aggies next year. Tanisha Smith and Tyra White are returners; Danielle Adams comes in after being the national juco player of the year this past season.
Even more of a sting for the Tigers: Adams originally did sign with Mizzou in the fall of 2006. But she had to go the junior-college route, and when it was time to pick a Division I school again, A&M already had two players from KC making it all the easier to get its hooks totally into the third. She recently signed with A&M.
And check out one of Texas’ top commitments from the prep class of 2010: rising senior Anne Marie Hartung of Bowling Green, Mo. She’s from the same part of Eastern Missouri where I grew up.
Now, you might say, “But wait! Mizzou always has players from Texas. What’s the big deal with Missouri kids going to the Lone Star State?”
Well, it’s big deal because the Show-Me State doesn’t have 8 billion Division I prospects like the state of Texas does. And, let’s face it, while North schools have successfully recruited good players from Texas over the years in the Big 12, they are generally not the very top-notch ones. The superstar kids almost always go either to one of the Texas schools (Big 12 or otherwise) or big-timers such as Tennessee or Stanford.
So when really talented players from Missouri go to a South school, Tigers fans have to cringe.
A North school hasn’t won the Big 12 tournament since 2001, and it’s gotten to the point where I might keel over in complete shock if it ever happens again. It doesn’t help the North’s competitiveness when talented kids from Missouri decide not to stay in this area. Of course I understand why someone would be more drawn to a Texas A&M program that’s become a top competitor than to Mizzou, which is not that.
But, you know, it took Kansas natives Nicole Ohlde, Laurie Koehn, Kendra Wecker, Marlies Gipson, Shalee Lehning and Ashley Sweat staying in the Sunflower State to give Kansas State the success it’s attained since 2001. The first three committed when the K-State program was in no better shape competitively than Mizzou is right now.