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.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.