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Ryan Rosburg represents Mizzou on mound at Busch, on court in Columbia

RyanRosburgPlaying in front of huge crowds is old hat for Missouri basketball standout Ryan Rosburg but throwing off the mound at Busch Stadium is another matter.

The 6-foot-10 forward, a Marquette graduate who will be a junior this season for the Tigers, threw out the first pitch at Mizzou Night at the ballpark before a recent game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Diego Padres.

“It was awesome. Oh my gosh, yes,” Rosburg said about the honor. “I’ve been going to Cardinals games for so long. You never think about getting to do something like that. I certainly never really expected to do it.

“They asked me if I would go with some other athletes and sign autographs. Then they told me about a week before that I would get to throw out the first pitch.”

How did Rosburg take that news?

“The whole week I was so nervous I could hardly sleep,” Rosburg said. “I sat around and thought about it. It’s the first throw I had make before 45,000 people. I was nervous.”

Rosburg did not play baseball at Marquette, but he did play as a youngster. To get ready for his debut at Busch, he played catch with his father, Paul.

Once he was on the mound, he realized what an opportunity he had.

“It was the coolest feeling,” Rosburg said.

He launched the ball to the plate and it was a success.

“Oh man, it was a B- on the pitch,” Rosburg said. “It was definitely high. My goals were not to bounce it or throw it over the guy’s head. It definitely was not a strike.”

Cardinals reliever Sam Freeman caught the ball.

“We talked a little before I went out there and he told me he graduated from KU. That wouldn’t have been my first choice,” Rosburg quipped about throwing to a Kansas alum.

Rosburg doesn’t see baseball in his future.

“No, I’ll stick definitely to basketball,” he said.

In two seasons, he had played in 66 games. He had 32 starts last year as a sophomore.

This season, Rosburg will be playing for a new coach in Kim Anderson.

“He’s definitely a player’s coach. He’ll come talk to you. He likes to text you. He’s a down to earth guy,” Rosburg said. “I’m going to like playing for him.

“He knows what wins games. He’s proven it many times. He wants it done his way. He’s gotten results doing that. We all trust him.”

Missouri and the SEC recently released its league schedule. The Tigers will open league play for the first time under Anderson with a home date against LSU on Jan. 8. Missouri will host six games in league play against teams that qualified for postseason competition a year ago. Besides LSU, which advanced to the National Invitation Tournament last season, the Tigers will also host NCAA Final Four qualifiers Kentucky (Jan. 29) and Florida (Feb. 24), as well as NCAA Sweet 16 advancer, Tennessee (Jan. 17).

“My dad and I were looking at the schedule and I’m getting really excited to go and play,” Rosburg said. “The SEC places are so cool and historical. There’s a lot of history. I think it’s going to be a good season.

“We’ll surprise some people. We got a lot of new guys. We don’t have a lot of experience but we have a lot of guys who can play. We have a lot of potential.”

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