Missouri guards will challenge Cats

By Nick Gray

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University of Missouri junior guards Jabari Brown and Jordan Clarkson were attending different colleges two years ago.

Now, the pair are among the best offensive players in the SEC.

Brown and Clarkson are first and sixth, respectively, in scoring per game in the SEC going into Saturday’s game against UK. Each score in their own way.

Brown signed with the University of Oregon in 2011 as a five-star recruit (per Rivals) but transferred to Missouri after starting the Ducks’ first two games. The reason for his transfer is unknown.

The ex-Oregon guard enrolled at Missouri in spring 2012, making him eligible for play by December 2012 (at the end of the fall semester), according to NCAA rules.

The 6-foot-5-inch guard has prospered under Tigers head coach Frank Haith, scoring a conference-leading 19.8 points per game this season.

Brown’s reliance on the 3-point shot – he takes six 3-point shots per game – has helped his production.

His three 3-pointers made per game is second in the conference, and his 47.6-percent clip from behind the arc is fourth among SEC players who try at least two 3-pointers per game.

Brown has also scored 22 or more points in his last five contests.

Clarkson attended the University of Tulsa for two years, earning All-Conference USA first team honors as a sophomore in the 2011-12 season while averaging 16.5 points per game.

He selected Missouri, but only after Tulsa tried to restrict the schools he could transfer to, according to Yahoo Sports.

Unlike Brown, Clarkson had to sit out last season, using his redshirt to preserve his final two years of eligibility.

Also unlike Brown is Clarkson’s tendency to drive toward the basket instead of hanging around the perimeter. Clarkson has 59 fewer 3-point attempts than Brown, even though the ex-Tulsa guard has taken 36 more shots overall.

The Tigers’ starting guards (Brown, Clarkson and senior guard Earnest Ross), all stand at 6 feet 5 inches and will be the tallest backcourt UK will face at this point in the season.

The differences in the two high-scoring guards give the Cats more than one type of offensive threat to handle.