After a slew of graduations and transfers at the end of the 2020-21 season, this year’s Mizzou Men’s Basketball squad will take on a whole new look.
Last season saw the Tigers make a great start, surging all the way into the top ten in the AP Poll, before falling off to end the regular season. Their early season heroics earned them an NCAA Tournament berth, but they were knocked out in the first round by 8-seed Oklahoma.
This year, the new look Tigers will try to improve upon the early season success of last year, and avoid another late season fall.
This will be all the more challenging with a group of players that only has 2 returners that saw meaningful playtime with Missouri last season.
So, without further ado, your 2021-22 Missouri Tigers.
Let’s start with the guys that Mizzou fans should already be familiar with.
Pickett took up a bench role last season, starting only 2 games but playing in every game. He struggled from beyond the arc, and turned the ball over quite a bit.
With no Xavier Pinson or Smith (any of em) to lead the line, Pickett will most likely be called upon to be a leader both in the locker room and in the scoring column.
Pickett needs to refine his role. Unless his 3-point stroke has magically doubled in accuracy over the offseason, those shots are only to the Tigers’ detriment.
He can work well in the paint, driving towards the hoop for the tough baskets and drawing fouls. He needs to do that.
A leader off the glass, Kobe Brown’s rebound total was second on the team only to Jeremiah Tilmon last season. He started every game last year, and wound up crossing the 200 point threshold in scoring.
Defensively, Missouri will need Brown to step up and fill the hole left by Tilmon. If he can take the lead in getting blocks and forcing turnovers, while limiting fouls, the Tigers will have a good player on hand on both sides of the court.
Wilmore didn’t get much of a chance to show Tiger fans what he’s made of last season. He played 22 minutes over 5 games, but in that time managed to grab 6 defensive rebounds.
Hopefully we will get a better look at him this season.
Now it’s time to meet the new guys.
Let’s start with one of the top recruits out of Missouri, and a State Champion to boot. Brookshire broke a school record for career points with 1,874 at Kickapoo, and that’s all you need to know to figure out what he brings to this new look Tiger team.
A dagger from beyond the arc, Brookshire can fill the hole left by Xavier Pinson. Though only a freshman, he could leave a big mark on this Tiger squad if given the opportunity.
Brookshire might take a backseat however, to the Junior transfer out of Green Bay. Amari Davis was named Second Team All-Horizon League last season, mostly because of his scoring ability.
Davis averaged 17.2 points-per-game last season, including 18 in Green Bay’s double-OT loss to Purdue Fort Wayne in the Horizon League Tournament. He shot just shy of 30% from three-point range last season, not a great clip, but it’s his work on the interior that makes Davis stand out.
Davis broke Green Bay’s all-time freshman scoring record, without making a three-point shot. This is someone that Mizzou fans can get excited for.
Technically a returner to the Tigers, Durugordon redshirted last season. He enters his second year looking to establish himself.
He may struggle for minutes however, as there are other, bigger, forwards on the Tiger squad this season.
The 2019-20 MAC Freshman of the Year, Coleman had to deal with a foot injury last season, but came back strong for Ball State.
Strong off the glass, Coleman can also be relied on for an assist. With the experience of a third-year starter, Coleman could be a reliable option for Missouri.
After missing last season due to injury, Keita’s first season at Missouri will be dependent on his health and how he performs in the pre-season.
His height makes him an obvious threat on the glass, and he could prove to be a strong center, but there’s a lot of unknowns with Keita right now.
A two year starter at Kansas State, Gordon and Mark Smith did a little switcheroo which saw the junior guard join the Tigers and vice-versa. Luckily for Missouri, Gordon is a good get.
Strong on the glass, the Chicago native was among the top 15 rebounders in the Big 12 last season, improving on his senior season. If he continues to trend upward, he will be a perfect replacement for Mark Smith both this season and next.
Kobe’s younger brother, Kaleb was a standout at Lee High School, where he won a State Championship. With a deep guard class, he might not see too much playing time, so showing up in those slim chances will be crucial.
Ronnie DeGray III
Another strong rebounder, DeGray was a strong presence for UMASS last season despite only being a freshman.
The big question will be whether or not those performances will transfer to the SEC. The Tigers have a few options at forward, so DeGray should get the opportunity to prove himself.
A teammate of Anton Brookshire, Brazile is one of the top prospects in Missouri coming out of high school.
Standing 6’9,” he is one of the tallest Tigers on the team, something he can use to his advantage. If he can work hard in the paint, and clean up the boards, he’ll have a bright future.
The new look Tigers have a lot of work to do to make believers out of Missouri students and fans. Time will tell if they can one-up their first round exit from last year.