Mizzou basketball has jumped out to a 2-0 start and their group of freshman and transfers have already been impressive.
Two players started in their regular season debuts for Mizzou: Dru Smith and Kobe Brown. These two headline a group of newcomers who make up a chunk of a deep Missouri roster.
Smith has been a do-it-all point guard, averaging 8.5 points, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Brown has chipped in 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while also adding 1.5 steals per game.
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Mario McKinney Jr. and Tray Jackson have also seen the floor some for Mizzou and Jackson especially has provided a decent amount of bench minutes. McKinney only played against Incarnate Word, putting up seven points and three rebounds in 14 minutes.
Jackson has appeared more regularly for Missouri, but he has left more to be desired. His length and versatility on defense has been there, but after going scoreless against Northern Kentucky, it appears his offense isn’t what some might have expected. But it is early.
Smith has been outstanding on defense. He has been a pest while playing on-ball and has disrupted pass lanes while playing off-ball. However, the Evansville transfer must find the right blend of aggression and passiveness while on offense.
Against Incarnate Word, Smith seemed hesitant to shoot if his shot wasn’t the best possible shot. He passed up many good shots for “great” shots. While this isn’t the worst thing for a point guard to do, he should let it fly when he can (48% from 3 in his last season played).
In the second game against the Norse, however, Smith forced a few shots while trying to be more aggressive. Finding the balance between the two will elevate his game and the Missouri offense.
Brown brings an energy to the team that makes Mizzou fun to watch. While the freshman from Huntsville, Alabama, hasn’t lit up stat sheets, his confidence and energy have not wavered. Once he gets more experience under his belt, he should be a dangerous weapon for the Tigers.
Hopefully, Cuonzo has these guys ready to go next week when Mizzou takes on a ranked Xavier team on the road. The musketeers have defeated Jacksonville and Siena to start the year 2-0. They are led by senior forward Tyrique Jones and junior forward Naji Marshall who are each averaging 18.5 points per game.