Frank Haith has to rely on a ton of transfers this season. Quite possibly the most important of all of them debuted tonight in Jabari Brown.
Brown, a 6-5 swingman who came from Oregon, finished with 12 points in a 102-51 home win over South Carolina State. In all, Brown went for his 12 on 3-for-9 shooting, 1-for-7 from three-point range and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. He chipped in three assists, a rebound and two turnovers in 20 minutes off the bench.
Many believe Brown is the missing piece that will steady Missouri, who needed a little better guard play since Michael Dixon decided to leave the team. Brown’s off to a solid start.
The transfers have been doing fine without him, though. Earnest Ross had a team-high 16 in a balanced effort from Missouri where five players finished in double-figures. In all, 10 players played at least 15 minutes as well.
I guess now this puts Brown in front as the newcomer of the night between himself, UNLV’s Khem Birch and Georgia Tech’s Solomon Poole. All three players are eligible tonight for their first game action.
David Harten is a sportswriter and college basketball blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @David_Harten.
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.