Missouri averaged 0.95 points per possession last season, which ranked 307th among 351 NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams.
By KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric, the Tigers ranked 245th in the nation and checked in 315th based on State Sheet’s offensive efficiency metric.
By any measure, Missouri’s offense, which averaged an SEC-worst 60.5 points per game, was terrible last season.
That fact wasn’t lost on freshman shooting guard K.J. Walton, who is ready to help give the Tigers an offensive boost with immediate and sorely needed scoring punch.
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“I think they missed that a lot last year,” Walton said. “Defensively, I can help too. People might not see me as a great defender, but I can help scoring the ball and on the defensive end, too.”
Walton averaged 19.7 points as a senior at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School last season. He shot 44 percent from the field but only 29 percent from three-point range.
There are signs that he’s a more capable shot-maker than those numbers indicate, but he also has shown the tenacity to score in other ways.
“K.J. has shot the ball well early on here, maybe a little better than I thought,” Missouri coach Kim Anderson said. “The thing that I’ve really been impressed with watching him … is he’s really been a good offensive rebounder. That’s kind of bonus to be honest with you. I didn’t see that as much when we were recruiting him.”
Every little bit should help the Tigers, whose struggles in Anderson’s first season were well-documented.
Walton knows about the 9-23 record and the 13-game skid during conference play, but obviously it wasn’t bad enough to keep him from choosing MU.
In fact, he’s eager to help Anderson and company right the ship.
“First of all, it was the coaches,” Walton said when asked why he picked Missouri. “I just love the coaching staff. It was great and, second, I just like the family atmosphere. ... I definitely weighed last year’s struggles in (my decision), but I’d rather be a part of something great. I want to be that person who helps change the program around.”
Obviously, there’s a steep learning curve in place for Walton and the rest of the Tigers’ 2015 signing class, but it’s a hard-working group by all accounts.
“It’s 100 times different that high school basketball,” Walton said. “The pace and the physicality are a lot different, but I’m getting adjusted to it.”
Walton said he’s focused on getting stronger, because he knows that’s critical to his transition from the high school game, especially in the ultra-physical Southeastern Conference.
“(We have) weights every morning, so that’s good,” Walton said. “It’s only been two weeks, so it’s tough to tell (how good the team will be). We’ll have a better idea as we get closer to winter and practice more, start putting in plays and things like that, but I think we’ll be really good.”