Missouri shooting guard Jabari Brown has been such an effective scorer this season that one teammate could only suggest an out-of-this-world explanation for his 10-point performance Wednesday against Vanderbilt.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
“I think it was a solar eclipse tonight or something,” junior Jordan Clarkson said after MU beat the Commodores. “You rarely see him miss shots that he’s used to taking and making. … He’s human like everyone else.”
Brown’s overall body of work still astounding. He has scored at least 20 points in 14 games, including nine of the last 11, and has reached double figures in every game.
And not even Creighton’s Doug McDermott can top Brown’s offensive efficiency. He is averaging 1.2 points per field-goal attempt, which is the best mark among the nation’s top 50 scorers. McDermott averages 1.18.
“(Brown has) had one of those underrated seasons in college basketball,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said. “It’s amazing to me what he’s doing right now, especially in SEC play, isn’t being taken more note of.
“He’s had one of the 15 best seasons in the country.”
Asked if he thought Brown has received the recognition he deserves nationally, MU coach Frank Haith said, “I really don’t. Jabari Brown is playing as well as any guard in the country. His numbers say that.”
Overall, Brown is averaging 20.1 points per game, putting him on pace to become the first Tiger since Kareem Rush in 2000-01 to average at least 20 points.
During conference play, Brown is one of four players in the nation whose overall shooting percentage (50.0), three-point percentage (48.6) and free-throw percentage (85.9) add up to more than 180. McDermott, San Diego’s Johnny Dee and BYU’s Tyler Haws are the others.
Brown’s domination in Southeastern Conference play includes a program-record eight consecutive games with at least three three-pointers and six straight games in which he topped 22 points, a feat last accomplished at Missouri by Derrick Chievous in the 1986-87 season.
But all of that hasn’t translated into a star turn in the national spotlight for Brown, a junior transfer from Oakland, Calif., by way of Oregon.
“When your team is struggling to be above .500 in conference, your achievements, while respected, are not embraced,” said Mike DeCourcy, a college basketball writer for The Sporting News, who added that Brown is “having as good a shooting-guard year as you can have this side of” former LSU legend Pete Maravich.
“If Missouri was a strong third in the league, right there with Florida and Kentucky, I think people would be talking about (Brown) for first-team All-American.”
Instead, Missouri is 19-7 and 7-6 in the SEC entering Saturday’s game at Alabama, squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble.
“It’s a team game, and I feel like if we were at the top of the conference I’d probably be getting a little more love,” Brown said. “So I understand how it goes.”