When Jabari Brown, a 6’5” guard from Oakland, Calif., left the Oregon Ducks to join the University of Missouri Tigers, there was little doubt he would make an impact.
With a full year in the books with Mizzou, it is clear that the junior has had a beneficial effect on the program.
While some questioned whether Mizzou could be competitive in the Southeastern Conference (SEC), the school finished 11-7 in order to secure sixth place overall in 2012-13. In 2013-14, the Tigers are 4-4 in the conference, and they again find themselves in sixth place of 14 SEC teams.
Jabari Brown has had everything to do with the team’s recent success.
He put forth a solid effort in 2012-13 but has improved in virtually every statistical category through the 2013-14 season.
Chief among those statistics is his field-goal percentage, which increased by nearly 100 points, going from .404 to .502. That increase in accuracy has played a major role in his continued success, with him seeing an even greater increase from outside the arc.
Brown’s three-point percentage increased from .366 to .476—a substantial offseason improvement. Growth in these two key areas have played a major role in his increased offensive production during the season.
In 2013-14, Brown has gone from being a solid player to an SEC standout.
In each of the team’s last six games, Brown has tallied 22 or more points, averaging 26 PPG over that stretch.
The Tigers, 3-3 over those games, have faced tough competition, but they have for the most part played to the level of their opponents. While the losses to LSU and Vanderbilt were disappointing and showcased the team’s lack of consistency, the Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, loss to the University of Kentucky Wildcats showed more resilience.
While they struggled in the first half, the Tigers dominated the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 47-42. Without a few early mistakes, that could easily have been a Mizzou win.
And Brown would have had plenty to do with it.
Following the Kentucky loss, Brown is averaging 20.4 PPG, nearly seven points higher than his average for the previous season. Without several lower scoring games earlier in the season, it’s likely his average would be well over 20 PPG.
Dave Matter, Mizzou reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, reminded his Twitter followers on Saturday that such a number is not common in Mizzou basketball.
Jabari Brown now averaging 20.4 points per game. Last Mizzou player to average 20 or more for a season, Kareem Rush (21.1) in 2000-01
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) February 1, 2014
That makes him hands-down the team’s leading scorer. Coincidentally, he is also the SEC leading scorer. Not too shabby for a transfer from the Oregon Ducks.
What makes Brown such a valuable player to the Tigers, and any other squad for that matter, is the fact that he is a multi-tool player. He’s an able ball-handler and can shoot from anywhere on the court.
He can sink them from outside the paint and still averages 4.85 rebounds per game.
The best part? He’s a junior.
The Tigers still have another, more mature, year to look for from Jabari Brown during his college career.