Jordan Clarkson

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Report: Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson to enter the NBA Draft

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Missouri will lose starting guard Jordan Clarkson to the NBA Draft, according to a report from Jeff Goodman of

Clarkson averaged 17.5 points, 3.8 boards and 3.4 assists this past season. Standing an athletic 6-foot-5, Clarkson, who transferred to Missouri after two years at Tulsa, is skilled enough to play both guard spots which is one of the reasons that he’s considered a potential first round pick.

Draft Express currently has Clarkson slotted 47th in their 2014 mock draft.

MOREThe entire list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft

The second half of the season did not go well for Clarkson, as he managed to score more than 20 points just three times in his last 13 games. But that stretch also happened to correspond with Clarkson learning that his father was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on his spine.

Missouri will now wait and see if Jabari Brown, their leading scorer this season, enters the NBA Draft.

Missouri clips Arkansas in key matchup of SEC bubble teams

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It’s a question that has been asked many times over the last month, and it’s a question that will continue to be asked until Selection Sunday: who from the SEC, besides Florida and Kentucky, deserve a bid to the NCAA tournament? On Thursday night two teams in need of wins, Arkansas and Missouri, met in Columbia with the winner picking up a result that it sorely needed.

Jabari Brown would be the difference-maker as his driving basket with 10.2 seconds remaining gave the Tigers the 86-85 win, moving their record to 5-6 in SEC play. Brown didn’t have a particularly good night from the field, making just five of his 15 shot attempts, but he took full advantage of the foul line and the same can be said for his teammates.

Brown shot 14-for-15 from the charity stripe and as a team Missouri made 34 of its 38 attempts, outscoring Arkansas by five points in that area. Jordan Clarkson scored a game-high 27 points and Earnest Ross added 15 to go along with 11 rebounds, and Missouri’s three best players once again led the way.

The combination of points from the foul line and a 15-8 edge in fast break points proved to be pivotal for Missouri, which shot 4-for-17 from beyond the arc. Arkansas wasn’t much better from deep, making four of its 16 attempts, and they nearly left Columbia with a valuable road victory.

Ultimately the Razorbacks would once again fall short, leaving Mike Anderson’s team with just one conference road victory (Vanderbilt) to its credit. If they’re to have any chance of making the NCAA tournament Arkansas has to string together some wins. The problem for them, and for Missouri as well even with the Tigers being better-positioned for a tournament bid, is the lack of available quality wins in the SEC.

Of the remaining seven games on their schedule Arkansas has just one game against a team that will make the NCAA tournament, and that’s their game at Kentucky on February 27. As for Missouri, the Tigers won’t play either Florida or Kentucky again (unless they meet in the SEC tournament). Frank Haith’s team gets two shots at Tennessee, but the best that both the Tigers and Razorbacks can do schedule-wise is win their match-ups with other bubble teams.

And with this being the case, games like the one played in Columbia on Thursday night become even more important for the SEC teams looking to fight their way into the Field of 68. Thanks to Jabari Brown, Missouri was able to pick up a win that they needed to get.

Missouri basketball players support Michael Sam

Michael Sam
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The University of Missouri community has rallied behind senior Michael Sam, which includes support from the men’s basketball team as well.

On Sunday, Sam, the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced that he was gay, and could potentially be the NFL’s first openly gay player with the 2014 NFL Draft scheduled in three months.

Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune, asked several members of the basketball team their thoughts on the news, with plenty of positive reactions.

“Happy for him coming out,” Jordan Clarkson told Walentik. “Love is love — it shouldn’t change the person, what he is. He’s a football player. That’s what he does on the field, and it shouldn’t matter what he does off the field.”

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel and athletic director Mike Alden issued a statement of support shortly after the news broke while some fans spelled Sam’s name in the snow at Faurot Field.

“I think the Mizzou community has really done a good job of supporting him,” Sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg added. “Everywhere I go, I just hear good things about him, how everyone is so proud that he came from Mizzou and he’s really being true to himself.”

Leading scorer Jabari Brown wasn’t surprised by the reception from the rest of Mizzou, rather intrigued he announced this before May’s draft where Sam is projected to go as high as the third round.

Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown lead Missouri past N.C. State

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One week after dropping a one-point decision to rival Illinois, Missouri found itself trailing at N.C. State by ten with just over eight minutes remaining. T.J. Warren was proving difficult to stop, and freshman forward Kyle Washington was beginning to assert himself for the Wolfpack as well.

But Frank Haith’s team responded immediately with an 11-1 run, and a Jabari Brown three-pointer with 56 seconds remaining gave the Tigers the lead for good in their 68-64 win in Raleigh. Even with N.C. State’s youth, Missouri’s win in its’ first true road game of the season is an important one for the Tigers.

And if there were any doubt, the way in which Missouri won provided another reminder of how their bread should be buttered offensively.

Jordan Clarkson led the way with 21 points and four assists with Brown adding 17, and while two other Tigers finished in double figures it will be these two who should lead the way in SEC play. Earnest Ross added 11 points and 13 rebounds and Johnathan Williams III added ten to go along with seven boards, supplementing the output of Missouri’s starting guards. Ross is a solid third scorer for the Tigers, averaging 14.2 points per game entering Saturday’s contest, but offensively that Clarkson/Brown tandem (and the way in which they attack teams in ball screen situations) will determine just how good they are.

Missouri held its own on the glass, rebounding 44.1% of its missed shots and outscoring the Wolfpack 15-13 in second-chance points, and the play of their young big men will be important in conference play when considering the talented front court players at Florida, Kentucky, LSU and Tennessee. If Williams, who reached double figures for the fourth time this season, can build on Saturday’s performance the Tigers will be better for it as the season wears on.

Beating a young N.C. State team won’t be a result that turns heads nationally, even with the Wolfpack looking to have better chemistry than last year’s more talented squad did. Warren led the way with 24 points and 13 rebounds (but he went scoreless over the final 11 minutes), and while they do need a second scorer to step up on a consistent basis N.C. State plays harder than they did a season ago.

Missouri could have allowed the week off and a ten-point second half deficit to be issues, but instead they rebounded and picked up a win on the road.

No. 23 Missouri’s soft schedule makes Saturday’s loss to Illinois painful

Tracy Abrams, Jabari Brown
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Tracy Abrams answered a Jabari Brown three by drawing a foul and hitting two free throws with 4.6 seconds left as Illinois claimed Braggin’ Rights over No. 23 Missouri with a 65-64 win in St. Louis on Saturday evening.

Abrams finished with 22 points and Rayvonte Rice chipped in with 14 for the Illini, who entered Saturday 9-2 with road losses to Georgia Tech and Oregon.

Jordan Clarkson was sensational for the Tigers, finishing with 25 points, eight assists and six boards, but Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross struggled shooting the ball for much of the night. Both hit big threes in the final two minutes, but the Tigers needed those big threes because they were a combined 7-for-20 from the floor and 4-for-11 from three.

It’s tough to make any kind of a declaration about either team after a game like this beyond stating that both of them looked like NCAA tournament teams. Think about it like this: if Jordan Clarkson is able to make a clean catch on the final in-bounds, he would have had more than four seconds and a full head of steam to either get fouled or score at the other end. Illinois only had the lead because Abrams drew a bit of a ticky-tack foul.

That’s how close it was.

But the bottom line is that Illinois won, giving them a second nice win away from home in non-conference play — they also won at UNLV. Missouri’s resume consists of home wins over West Virginia and a UCLA team that got worked by Duke in New York on Thursday. The Tigers could very well end up being the third-best team in the SEC, but they only get Kentucky, Florida and LSU once each, with two of those coming on the road.

Where are the quality wins going to come from for Frank Haith’s club?

If Missouri ends up on the bubble, this close loss could end up being a really big deal.

Missouri’s Jordan Clarkson off to a good start at point guard

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With Phil Pressey leaving school after his junior season for the NBA, Missouri had an important question to answer entering the 2013-14 season: who will grab the reins and lead the team from the point guard position? And with the team boasting an 8-0 record after beating West Virginia 80-71 on Thursday night, it’s become even more apparent that Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson is the correct answer to that question.

Clarkson was seen as the likely answer during the summer, thanks to his offensive skill set, and he’s lived up to those expectations thus far. Prior to Thursday’s game Clarkson led the team in both scoring and assists, averaging 19.4 points and 3.6 assists per contest. Against the Mountaineers Clarkson was able to get into the paint at will, especially in the first half, finishing the game with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Clarkson’s now eclipsed the 20-point mark in four consecutive games, and clearly he’s a different option at the point than Pressey way. Not the best perimeter shooter (Clarkson entered Thursday shooting 22.7% from three and missed both attempts against WVU), Clarkson’s taken advantage of his mid-range game and the ability to get to the basket. And the presence of capable scorers Jabari Brown (18 points) and Earnest Ross (16) on the wings makes it difficult for opponents to cheat too much.

But there are areas in which Missouri needs to show improvement at the point with a game against No. 18 UCLA next on the schedule. Clarkson will need to continue to improve as a decision-maker in the Tigers’ pick-and-roll game, and with teams likely to sag off in such situations he needs to connect at a higher rate from the perimeter as well. And down the stretch the Tigers were a little too loose with the basketball, with their point guards (Wes Clark led the team with five assists) having some trouble with the pressure West Virginia was applying.

The game was essentially decided in the first 11 minutes, with Missouri scoring the first nine points and leading 25-11 with 9:06 to go in the first half. The Mountaineers, one of the highest-scoring teams in the country entering the game, couldn’t make a shot and the margin proved to be too much to make up.

WVU was a good test for Missouri as a team and Clarkson individually, and the result was a positive one on both fronts. But UCLA represents a stiffer test, and it’s one that will be a greater indicator of Missouri’s potential this season.