Playing for Rhyan: Mizzou basketball knocks off Northwestern State

Kevin Puryear: “Anything that we can do, we’re going to do for them.”
Missouri basketball coach Brad Loos and his family watch the #RallyForRhyan video tribute before coming out on the court during halftime of the game against Tennessee on Feb. 13 in Mizzou Arena. Maneater File Photo

When coach Kim Anderson addressed the media after Saturday’s 84-60 win over Northwestern State, he did not wear his normal postgame attire.

Over his light blue button down, Anderson wore a grey T-shirt with a simple message: We Rally for Rhyan.

“It’s really hard for me to handle it,” Anderson said. “I don’t handle it well. I don’t handle seeing Rhyan not be good.”

Rhyan Loos, the 6-year-old daughter of assistant coach Brad Loos, has been battling Stage 4 bone cancer since October 2015.

Since the diagnosis, Mizzou Athletics has raised money for the Loos family. The hashtag #RallyforRhyan has circulated on social media outlets, and the men’s basketball team raised over $50,000 in a February win over Tennessee. In the spring, her neuroblastoma cancer was removed.

But sad news struck the Loos family again on Thursday. Doctors found a tumor in Rhyan’s brain; her cancer was back.

“Ours (sic) hearts were shattered into a billion pieces today,” the RallyforRhyan Facebook page posted on Thursday.

The support for the Loos family was present throughout the weekend. Basketball players Terrence Phillips and Kevin Puryear tweeted their support for the family, and football coach Barry Odom discussed his feelings after Friday’s game against Arkansas.

“Any situation where kids are involved — you’ve got kids similar age — you look, you pray, you hope and want to provide support and prayers for them,” Odom said. “So my thoughts and prayers, and I’m behind them. That’s a strong, strong little girl, and their family is very, very dear to Mizzou.”

Anderson, who has known Brad for 15 years, said the Loos family flew to New York on Friday night. He said Rhyan will have surgery, but he does not know when.

Both Anderson and the players said the news has hit the team hard. Freshman Willie Jackson has been following Rhyan’s situation since before he decided to come to Mizzou.

“Even before I committed, and Missouri was recruiting me, I would always check up on her when I heard that she got the first time,” Jackson said. “So when I heard it this time, I just prayed a lot. And I checked up on her today and I just text coach Loos to see how she was doing now.”

For the players, Rhyan served as a motivator going into the game. Sophomore K.J. Walton said the team wanted to win for her, and Kevin Puryear expressed his sadness for the Loos family.

“We’re just going to keep praying, keep playing for Rhyan,” Puryear said. “Anything that we can do, we’re going to do for them.”

Edited by Nancy Coleman and George Roberson | ncoleman@themaneater.com, groberson@themaneater.com

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