Johnson County Community College lies just over the Kansas state line, but its tendency to produce quality Division 1 women’s basketball players while being within a short drive of the Missouri campus has begun to pay off for Tiger fans.
With the graduation of Missouri’s leading scorer, Bri Kulas — herself a transfer from JCCC — came the arrival of another this offseason, junior Juanita Robinson.
Robinson, a member of the 2014 NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball All-America team, averaged 11 points and 5.3 rebounds a game and led Johnson County to a 30-2 record last season thanks in part to her relationship with Kulas — one that appeared unlikely a couple of years ago.
“(Kulas and I) came into (junior college) together and we were very competitive,” Robinson told mutigers.com in early September. “In fact, we didn’t even really get along when we first met. But, eventually we mended the relationship and she’s been a great friend both on and off the court.”
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Now, coach Robin Pingeton is looking to Robinson to help replace the 18.3 points and 6.7 rebounds a game that Kulas provided for a Missouri team that is returning four starters after finishing 17-14 last season.
“We’re going to be relying pretty heavily on Morgan Eye to take over some additional scoring,” Pingeton said at the Southeastern Conference Media Day on Tuesday. “But I think our X-factor is going to be Robinson. She’s an athletic perimeter kid that’s got a high basketball IQ.”
Robinson is the third former Johnson County player to transfer to the Tigers, joining Liz Smith, who graduated after playing the 2011-2012 and 2012-13 seasons.
While the SEC preseason media poll is predicting the Tigers to finish in a tie for 11th in the conference with Arkansas, Eye — who averaged 12.9 points a game last season as a junior — is expecting more.
“Bri Kulas is definitely someone we’ll miss, but we have a lot of girls that can drive to the basket and create,” she said Tuesday. “I think our team has a lot of girls that can score the ball and I’m very excited for this season.”