On Monday, Missouri fans will get their first look at 6'5" sophomore guard Jabari Brown. His much-anticipated debut in the Black and Gold comes at a time when it's become obvious that the 2012-2013 Tigers are in need of some of what Brown is expected to bring to the court.
But first, let's see what Coach Haith has to say about expectations regarding Brown.
"We've got to understand," cautioned Coach Haith, regarding expectations for Brown. "Here's a guy who hasn't played in over a year. Our expectations have got to be tempered about what he can do from day one."
"We need him just to be Jabari Brown," said Coach Haith. "That'll be good enough."
Coach Haith did acknowledge that Brown does shoot the ball well, and that he's a player who may help open things up with his ability to score the basketball and shoot the ball from the outside. He also acknowledged that Brown has a high basketball IQ which will be a help to this Missouri team, as well.
Junior guard Phil Pressey weighed in on expectations for Brown.
"I mean, I don't expect too much out of him. It's his first game," said Pressey, talking about Brown. "I'm just happy for him to be able to play, finally. I don't expect too much out of him………………………………………… I mean, he can shoot the ball. There's not much more I can say. He's physical too, on the defensive end. I just want him to go out there and play his best."
"We're just happy for him to get in (the game)," said Pressey, of his teammate finally getting to play.
Then, I asked Pressey about the way that teams are packing it in the paint?
It's packed in there," laughed Pressey. "It's real packed in there. I just think Jabari's going to help out with his shooting ability."
Coach Haith talked about what he's seen from Brown in practice.
"He's as good defensively as he wants to be," explained Coach Haith, talking about Brown. "So we've got to continue to challenge him to be really good on the defensive end. From a ball-handling standpoint, he's getting better. He's not going to play the point, but he's a solid secondary ball-handler………………………………………………….. He's got good enough ball skills to go get his shot, if you take away the three. You like that! He's like Marcus (Denmon) in that regard. I mean, he can straight line drive, and he can get fouled. He's got good size, and he's a good athlete."
Coach Haith said that Brown is a guy that can score the basketball.
"He's not just a shooter," explained Coach Haith. "Ball-handling, I would compare him to like Marcus Denmon. He can go get his shot. He can score!"
"We want Jabari to be a complete player," continued Coach Haith. "But, there's no question that where he will help us most, with where our team is right now, is being able to stretch the defense."
Coach Haith was non-committal with respect to how much Brown will play. He likes the competition in practice for playing time, and he's willing to allow that to play itself out on the court.
Brown, on the other hand, expressed confidence that he will be able to help the Tigers right away. He said that he's a lot better player than he was more than a year ago, when he last played in a game.
"I just expect to come in and play well, and try to bring a boost to this team," said Brown. "I have confidence in myself. But I'm not going to set any expectations or certain goals. I just want to come in and play well."
I asked Brown to describe his game?
"I score well, and I get my teammates involved," replied Brown. "I'm a competitor…………………………………………… I don't have one particular spot on the floor. I feel comfortable shooting all over the court."
"I feel like I'm a complete player, not just a shooter," explained Brown, who said that he just wants to bring energy to the floor, and to help the Tigers continue to win.
Brown talked about how it's going to feel to take the court for the first time at Missouri.
"It's a weird feeling, because since I started playing, I've never just not played for a whole year," explained Brown. "I'll just try to relax……………………………………………… I mean, it's going to be nice to play in front of the Missouri crowd."