Missouri no longer has players that played for Arkansas coach Mike Anderson during his stint with the Tigers, but he is all too familiar with a few of their players.
The likes of Phil Pressey and Laurence Bowers may be gone, but three guards, Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross, have made their presence felt. All three players transferred to Missouri to play for Frank Haith after playing at other Division I programs. Brown played at Oregon, Clarkson was at Tulsa, and Ross came from Auburn.
Clarkson missed last year's match-ups with the Razorbacks because of NCAA transfer rules, but during the Tigers' 93-63 win over Arkansas at home, Brown scored 23 points and Ross scored 11 points and recorded 3 steals.
"When you talk about guards, and I think it speaks well of Frank Haith, they're getting guys in there that can come in and be an immediate impact," Anderson said. "And they are certainly impacting their basketball team."
Brown leads the Southeastern Conference in scoring this season, averaging 19.5 points per game. Clarkson is third on that list, scoring 18.8 points per game, and Ross is also averaging 14.0 points per game for Missouri (15-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference).
Brown is shooting 46.2 percent beyond the arc and 50 percent from the floor. Anderson said he is a player that one can expect to shoot at any given moment.
"He's dangerous because he shoots it from deep," Anderson said of Brown. "He's a deep shooter. I mean he can shoot from 35-feet out on the floor. And they look for it."
Which he said opens up Clarkson's options as a playmaker. Clarkson leads the team in assists and is also sporting a free throw percentage of 80.4 percent.
"When you have those shooters (like Brown) that spread the floor, it gives Clarkson a chance to get in there and get to the basket," Anderson said. "He's gotten to the free throw line more than all of them and they have all gotten to the free throw line. So they have some guys that are dual threats. Or triple threats, really, because they can pass it as well. They can shoot it, pass it, or do a lot of things off the dribble. So we have to certainly pay attention to Brown."
In addition to the scoring threat the guards impose, Brown, Clarkson and Ross are all listed at 6-foot-5 and are among the team's leading rebounders. Freshman forward Johnathan Williams III (6-foot-9) leads the team with 7.4 rebounds per game, but Ross averages the second most rebounds (6.7 rebounds per game) and Brown and Clarkson combine to average 8.8 boards per game, as well.
"Their guards rebound the basketball," Anderson said. "So that's going to be a tall task for our basketball team. How do we keep those guys off the glass and how do we keep them out of the lane? They get to the free throw line quite a bit. And at the same time, we have to be able to guard those guys on the perimeter. It's a challenge, but it's a great opportunity for our guys to continue to take care of the home court."
Although the Razorbacks lost by 30 points on the road, they were able to notch a 73-71 win over Missouri at Bud Walton Arena. Reflecting on last year's home game against Missouri, Jacorey Williams said he expects a similar battle this time around.
"I remember it being very, very physical from start to finish. (Alex) Oriakhi, he's picking Kikko up in the game. People getting picked up off the floor. Thrown on the floor. Fouling. I just remember it being physical and very competitive.
"It was a back a forth game the whole time. If I recall, they started out on a 10-0 run and we had to fight back from that and lead changes kept happening. It was just very competitive and physical and I feel like it's going to be the same way this year. It's going to be very competitive.
"Everybody is going to play with a chip on their shoulder and that's how the game is going to be. Whoever brings the most energy that night, that's who is going to come out with a W."
Tipoff between Arkansas (13-6, 2-4 SEC) and Missouri is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Bud Walton Arena with the game being televised by ESPNU.
Anderson: Beware of Missouri guards
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