The 2002-03 Missouri Tigers basketball team has officially started practicing. The Tigers first order of business will be to replace the scoring punch provided by departed players Kareem Rush and Clarence Gilbert. However, three new players figure to provide immediate impact, and one of them is a star point guard.

This year's version of the Missouri Tiger basketball squad should be one of the most balanced and deepest group in years.

Missouri returns three starters from last year's squad including Ricky Paulding, Arthur Johnson and Travon Bryant.  The Tigers also return top reserves such as Najeeb Echols, Jeffrey Ferguson and Josh Kroenke.

Travon Bryant rams through a dunk as Arthur Johnson looks on

While the Tigers are excited about their returning players, they are also looking forward to incorporating three newcomers into the team: Ricky Clemmons (PG), Jimmy McKinney (SG) and Kevin Young (PF).

Clemmons is a 5-10 junior college transfer from Southern Idaho Community College, who is equally adept at stroking the outside jumper or getting the outlet pass and pushing the fast break.  Clemmons led the nation in scoring as a high school senior averaging 31 points per game.  Perhaps Clemmons' greatest impact will be in the area of team leadership where he has already taken charge.

McKinney is a 6-4 freshman shooting guard from Vashon High School in St. Louis.  McKinney has been the cornerstone of Vashon's phenominal run of victories and state titles over the past four years.  McKinney is a silky smooth shooter, penetrator and defender.  As great as his physical abilities are, McKinney's greatest attribute is his positive attitude and desire to get his teammates involved in every phase of the game.  JM figures to challenge Ricky Paulding in the skywalking area as well.

Young is a 6-9 freshman power forward from Florida.  Young spent the summer working out with the Tigers' conditioning staff and has made tremendous strides.  He has been nicknamed, "Baby Shaq" by his teammates due to his physical similarities.  Young has a developing power game inside and will provide quality depth for Bryant and Johnson down low.

Along with Rush and Gilbert, the Tigers also said good-bye after last season to former point guard Wesley Stokes and reserve guard Duane John.

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