COMMENTARY: What Brown Can Do for Mizzou

Wednesday, Jan. 9-

On December 17 at Mizzou Arena, any fan attending the game could hear the roar of the crowd as a certain newcomer sporting the number 32 walked to the scores table to check in.

The Oregon transfer from Oakland, Calif., Jabari Brown was finally getting his chance to show Columbia and Tiger nation what he was all about.

A sign in the student section read, “What Can Brown Do for You.” Now with five games under his belt as a Missouri Tiger, the red shirt sophomore has showed fans what Brown can do for Mizzou.

Brown was the No. 19 prospect in the class of 2011. However, he only played two games for the Ducks and then proceeded to transfer to Missouri.

Given his limited experience at the collegiate level, he hasn’t shown any hesitation on the court. With Mizzou struggling to maintain midseason momentum and games against rival Illinois and a young, but talented UCLA squad quickly approaching, Brown’s eligibility couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

The loss of playmaker and senior leader Michael Dixon left a big hole in the Missouri squad. Brown will never replace him, but he has sure eased the pain with his offensive and defensive play.

Any fan could tell outsiders looking in that Mizzou needed another reliable ball handler and three-point threat. The implementation of Brown to the Missouri offense has allowed his teammates to find their own respective roles, and the Tigers have become a better team because of it.

The first signs of true leadership from Brown came in the Braggin’ Rights battle against Illinois in St. Louis. He recorded 18 points while going 3-7 from three-point range along with seven defensive rebounds. That was just the beginning as he continued that success with 14 points behind four deep balls in the overtime loss to UCLA.

Even though he has only played in five games, Brown is the second leading scorer, averaging almost 14 points per contest. He has connected from behind the arc 14 times, averaging 42 percent from long range.

In the SEC opener versus Alabama, Brown showed why he and the Tigers could become a major threat to win the conference against tough opponents such as Florida and Kentucky.

Missouri prevailed 84-68 in a hard fought game in which Brown put on the best performance of his young career. Brown led the team with a career-high 22 points by shooting 5-7 from long range as the Tigers made 9-15 from three against an Alabama defense that entered the game allowing opponents to shoot just 30 percent from beyond the arc.

With the Tigers down 28-26 with three minutes remaining in the half, Brown knocked down back-to-back-to-back threes giving his team the lead. He came back with the hot hand to start the second half as he netted two more.

Right after the deep three before half, Jimmy Dykes, one of the ESPN commentators for the game said, “I think that young man plays with a chip on his shoulder, in a good way with a sense of something to prove. He only played two games at Oregon last year. Things didn’t work out; he transferred, and sat out. And now he is letting it fly. He has a little edge on him that I think is contagious with this team.”

Dykes point about Brown being contagious in a positive way for this year’s team is exactly what he has brought to the table for the Tigers thus far. Mizzou fans look forward to seeing his success continue for the rest of the season. Brown is sure to become a household name with Missouri basketball supporters in his future years in Columbia.

-Justin Frisch
23 Sports
Staff Writer