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May 19, 2006

Stefhon Hannah in his own words

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Over the last few days, according to published stories, Stefhon Hannah has been verbally committed to Kansas State, has actually sent a signed letter of intent to Kansas State, has been prevented from being a Wildcat by his mother and finally signed with Missouri. At least if you believe everything you read.

"That's false," Hannah said of the claim that his mother refused to sign a letter of intent for him to attend Kansas State. "What happened was I signed a letter to Kansas State and sent it to my mom. She signed one to Missouri and sent it to me."

Hannah said the plan was for him to make his decision and to have the extra required signature put on the letter and sent whichever school he chose. He said that school was Missouri and he never actually sent a letter of intent to K-State.

The 6-foot-1 point guard did commit verbally to the Wildcat coaches following a May 11th official visit to Manhattan.

"I came off my visit and, you know, when you come back from a visit, you always like it," Hannah said. "Everything in my head was Kansas State, Kansas State, Kansas State. I kind of ended up forgetting how much I liked Missouri. I had signed the paper for Kansas State and my mom just told me to make sure I thought about it and that was what I really wanted to do."

In the end, Hannah decided that was not what he wanted. But he did have plenty of good things to say about K-State and said his mother was indeed the deciding factor.

"I had liked them both," Hannah said. "I had a good time at Missouri and I had a nice time at Kansas State. I couldn't decide on my own. It was neck and neck, like a tie. My mother was the tiebreaker."

The deciding factor for Hannah, and for his mother, was Missouri's new coach, Mike Anderson.

"She liked that the coach is a family oriented, well-rounded man," Hannah said. "He kept the coaching staff in his family. His nephew is on the coaching staff. He was always real respectful, too. Whenever he would call the house, he would ask to speak to my mother first and then to speak to me. My mom and I respected that."

Anderson did have to overcome one big thing in his first head-to-head recruiting battle with Huggins. During his last 13 years at Cincinnati, Huggins had sent 12 players into the NBA. Anderson can't come close to matching that claim, having been a head coach for just four seasons.

"Everybody talked about Bob Huggins taking players to the pros," Hannah said. "My mother says you can go to the NBA no matter where you go to school. If you work hard enough, they'll find you. The coach should not be a factor for that. Plus, I felt that Mike Anderson can help me become a man and graduate."

Speaking of graduating, Hannah said he has one summer school class to finish up at Chipola to earn his associate's degree. He will be finished after the first summer session and head to Columbia after that. While Hannah played the point at Chipola, he was classified as a shooting guard out of high school.

"I feel more comfortable playing the two but people say I'm too small. It didn't seem to stop me this summer though," Hannah said in October of his senior year. "I know they say it's different at the college level but I think I can do what I gotta do regardless."

Hannah had games of 34, 38 and 45 points that summer. He also was Chipola's leading scorer, while averaging more than six assists per game. Hannah said Anderson did not specify which spot he would play at Mizzou.

"He told me he would not hold me to one position," Hannah said. "I know I can do both. I can be a point guard when I need to, but I can score when I need to. He told me not to worry about a position and to just play basketball."

Like the rest of the recruits in Anderson's first class at Missouri, Hannah said his up-and-down the court style was a major drawing card.

"I watched them when he was at UAB a lot," Hannah said. "I like the way he plays, up and down. His players may make a mistake, but they don't have to look around and worry. They just play basketball."

And now, finally, Hannah can do just that.

"It's a relief," Hannah said of the end of the recruiting process. "I'm so happy. I am so happy."


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