Well-Rounded Jabari Brown Leading Missouri RevivalPosted by Greg Mitchell on January 29th, 2014
Missouri has an ugly history in Bud Walton Arena, including a 52-point beatdown by Nolan Richardson’s eventual 1994 national championship Arkansas team. But last night the Tigers notched their first win in seven tries in the 21-year old arena, and easily their best road win since joining the SEC. Here are two quick thoughts from the third conference game in a budding regional basketball rivalry.
- Jabari Brown is a complete offensive player. A lot has changed for Brown over the course of a year. Last season he was essentially a spot-up three-point specialist, taking 61.2 percent of his shots from distance. But this year he’s reduced that to 52.2 percent with a corresponding 10 percent increase in shots at the rim (30 percent), and his more complete game was on display yesterday against Arkansas. The junior hit 4-of-5 threes and managed to get to the line eight times, but it was two late mid-range jumpers in the pockets of Arkansas’ zone that helped propel Missouri to the win. Three-point shooting, mid-range jumpers and slashing covers just about everything a player can do on offense. Brown’s recent hot streak could eventually push him towards the NBA Draft, but given his development under Frank Haith in just one year it might be worth it for him to stay. “Downtown Jabari Brown” has turned into “Well-Rounded Jabari Brown,” and another year could see him morph from fringe prospect to sure-fire first rounder.
- Mike Anderson is adapting to his personnel. The entire world knows Anderson wants to run, run, run and empty his bench down to the student managers. However, there’s a clear dropoff in talent on his current team, especially in the backcourt. Rashad Madden, for example, consistently brings a lot more offensively than Mardracus Wade, Anthlon Bell and Kikko Haydar. Despite the usual 20- to 25-minute mandate per player, it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice Madden’s minutes for less effective players. Anderson seems to be embracing this, as Madden has played 30 or more minutes in each conference game after not reaching that mark before. Against Missouri he played 34 minutes, while Bell, Haydar and Wade were each held below their season MPG averages. It’s only logical with how Madden was shooting (4-of-8 from three) that he should have remained on the floor. Few coaches are more identified with a particular style of play than Anderson, and it’s worth nothing that he’s slightly deviating from that system this year based on his personnel.