In coach Cuonzo Martin’s four years with Missouri, the Tigers’ defensive efficiency has peaked at 51st in the country per KenPom. It’s a respectable number, but as it stands there’s room to improve. Martin reached as high as 14th in his final season at California.
The thing that’s been missing in his MU tenure is a true difference maker on the defensive end of the floor. Dru Smith provided great on-ball defense in his two years but size limitations made it difficult for him to guard bigger players. The Tigers may have found the missing piece in 2021 commit Trevon Brazile.
Between incoming transfers and freshmen, Missouri is expected to have eight new players on its roster this fall. Brazile is Part 6 of the Missourian’s series on MU’s roster additions.
Who he is
The Springfield native was the fourth player to decide to join the Tigers program back in September 2020. He was a teammate of fellow Missouri commit Anton Brookshire on Kickapoo’s 2021 Class 6 state championship team. He chose MU over offers from Cleveland State and Montana State.
His commitment came the day after he received an offer from Martin. It came after a strong but cut-short junior season at Parkview High School in Springfield. In what might have been a fortunate turn of events for Missouri, Brazile was unable to show off his talents on the 2020 summer AAU Circuit.
On the court, Brazile shows off physical gifts that a college coach dreams of. He is listed at 6-foot-7, and his film shows off the ability to jump out of the gym. That combined with a solid wingspan and good mobility on the perimeter means the tools are there for him to be a weapon on defense.
He showed off those tools with his shot-blocking and rebounding ability in his senior season at Kickapoo. The highlight of the season was an outrageous five-block performance against Cardinal Ritter in January.
Offensively, Brazile is a project coming into the Tiger program. He did show off some ability to shoot the ball during high school, but slow mechanics could lead to difficulty getting shots off in the SEC. His bread and butter will be at the rim; his highlights show off a variety of explosive dunks.
How he fits
Heavy roster turnover in the frontcourt left only Kobe Brown and Javon Pickett as significant contributors from Missouri’s 2021 team. This possibly means that the freshman will compete for playing time with newcomers Ronnie DeGray III and Kaleb Brown.
Defensively, Brazile should have no problem seeing the court and contributing early. The SEC is laden with skilled and lengthy perimeter players with whom he should be able to match up. The freshman will also be an asset tracking back in transition, blocking shots and creating turnovers.
While it is not hard to imagine him contributing defensively early in his career, offensively it is more difficult. Brazile can make jump shots, but probably not at a level that will help what was a below-average shooting team in 2021. The positive is that his high effort on the offensive glass combined with elite athleticism means he could provide much-needed second-chance points for the Tigers.
While Missouri fans should be excited about Brazile’s physical gifts, his ability to adapt to the college game will be the x-factor in whether or not he can contribute in 2021-22.