The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference
The Official Website of the Southeastern Conference

What Position Won't Mizzou's Kobe Brown Play?

79 days ago
Kevin Scarbinsky
Photo: SEC Staff

So Missouri has played two of those closed scrimmages that have become so popular in recent years in college basketball, against Oklahoma State and Creighton, and Cuonzo Martin liked a lot of what he saw from his Tigers. Kobe Brown played some point guard, and ...

Wait. What?

Brown, the leading returning scorer and rebounder on a Missouri team that lost four starters, is listed at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds. We knew the multi-talented Brown could play and guard multiple positions, but point guard, too?

"It's been fun so far when he's in those situations," Martin said. "Now he's not like that in the whole game, because in situations he'll probably run time at the five, then he's at the four, then he's at the one."

SEC coaches may regret leaving Brown off their preseason all-conference teams. A year ago, he started every game as a complimentary contributor on a Missouri team that spent 11 weeks in the top 25, rising as high as No. 10, and beat three top-10 opponents en route to a 16-10 overall record, an 8-8 SEC mark and a second NCAA Tournament bid in four years under Martin.

Without first-team All-SEC point guard Dru Smith, second-team All-SEC center Jeremiah Tilmon Jr. and two other starters - one of them, Xavier Pinson, transferred to LSU - Brown will be called upon to take on more of a featured role. He showed flashes of that ability when he scored a career-high 21 points at Georgia and posted a double-double against LSU.

"We'll lean on Kobe a lot," Martin said during a "Build Up 2 Basketball" appearance on SEC Now. "His character is high level, on and off the court."

Brown won't go it alone as a team leader. Veteran guard Javon Pickett was the team's sixth man last season. Martin described him as "a battle-tested senior with a tremendous amount of intelligence and toughness and character. Both of those guys will lead the way."

The Tiger who may have made the most progress since last season is the largest player on the roster. Missouri's one true center is 7-3, 300-pound sophomore Jordan Wilmore. He played only 22 minutes last year, the fewest on the team, "but he has really improved from a standpoint of physical stature," Martin said. "He's an imposing guy, big, rough, tough. It's fun to be around him as well."

Well, unless you have to guard him or shoot over him or take the ball to the basket against him.

Martin used the word "fun" a number of times to describe his team's roster. Helping to put a smile on his face has been a group of transfers ready to make an immediate impact. Those fresh faces include Kansas State transfer guard DaJuan Gordon, Green Bay transfer guard Amari Davis, UMass transfer forward Ronnie DeGray III and Ball State transfer swingman Jarron "Boogie" Coleman.

"They're all talented guys and all have fit in well with what we're trying to do," Martin said. "It's been fun with our guys. Lot of new guys. Lot of fun energy. Lot of exciting guys. They're just wonderful to be around so it's been good times thus far."