Brown is free to play for Missouri men's basketball team

Saturday, December 15, 2012 | 7:04 p.m. CST
Missouri guard Jabari Brown goes up for a layup at the Mizzou Madness preseason scrimmage in October at Mizzou Arena. Brown, a redshirt sophomore transfer from Oregon, became eligible to compete with the Tigers at the end of the fall semester.

COLUMBIA— Negus Webster-Chan walked by, whispered the words, his wrists forming an X as they crossed his chest.

Jabari Brown smiled, and looked in his teammates' direction.

A mob of reporters missed the scene, their backs turned, voice recorders shoved in the direction of Brown, a redshirt sophomore guard. 

It’s an inside joke between Brown and the team, a slogan that was started by Webster-Chan on Twitter.

The wrists? Handcuffs. The words? #FREEBARI.

Brown, a transfer from Oregon, will be playing in his first game for the Tigers on Monday after sitting out a year.

But for Brown, it’s been closer to two years. He transferred from Oregon after playing in only two games, stating that he simply did not fit in with the Ducks' style of play.

The former five-star recruit is a scorer, averaging 23.8 points per game his senior season in high school, and that’s not all. 

“I’m a competitor,” Brown said. “I play defense, and try to make more of an effort to defensive rebounding and commit myself to rebound every possession. I can get my teammates involved. I feel like I’m a complete player, not just a shooter.”

Missouri could certainly use a scoring threat on offense, especially after guard Michael Dixon Jr. announced his transfer from the team. But Brown is in no way trying to replace Dixon, he just understands how it changes his role on the court. 

“I feel like I might have to take on a little bit of a larger load maybe,” Brown said. “But, I’m not saying since Mike’s gone, I’ve got to come in and score X amount of points or anything like that. I just know he was a great player, so obviously everybody’s got to step up collectively to do what he would have done.”

There is a lot of excitement over Brown’s arrival, and Missouri coach Frank Haith knows it. He has stated that there is no immediate role yet for the 6-foot-5 guard, stressing that he does not want Brown to try too hard coming out of the gate.

“We need him just to be Jabari Brown. Not to be Mike Dixon. Not to be Marcus Denmon. Just be Jabari,” Haith said.

Even though Brown has been practicing with the team all season long, it will take time for him to adjust to the offense. He will be mixed into a rotation of guards that feature Phil Pressey, Keion Bell, Earnest Ross and Webster-Chan.

“Now that we add Jabari, we’ve just now got to bring him along to where we’re at, get him filled in with how the offense is on the court,” Ross said.

Brown’s arrival comes at a good time. Missouri (8-1) has three more games until conference play begins, one of which is the Braggin’ Rights game against currently undefeated and No. 10-ranked Illinois. 

The No. 12 Tigers play Monday against South Carolina State (4-6) at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena, and Brown is finally free to play.

“It’s a weird feeling, because I’ve never just not played for a year, so it’s kind of hard to explain,” Brown said. “I’m ready to jump in.”

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.