Every team needs a player like Jordan Geist — an agitator, a scorer, a tenacious defender and someone to take the burden off the shoulders of a young leader being asked to do too much.
On a team with one distributor, Geist was a player that the former coaching staff could trust to not put Missouri in a position to lose. But did he actually make the team better?
#15 Jordan Geist
6'2" 180 lbs
Geist was recruited in the middle of the the 2015-16 campaign, either because the coaching staff knew they would be losing some of the experienced players in the backcourt or because they didn’t trust them fully to perform to their expectations.
Geist signed with Mizzou in April of last year, not long after Tramaine Isabell and Namon Wright had decided to leave the school and Wes Clark had been dismissed/quit. Mizzou was in desperate need of another individual who could handle the ball and distribute.
In his time on the floor, Geist was rarely very showy, but he did the things that old school fans love to see. You know the kind of plays old school announcers just love to gush about and attach cliches like “gym rat” or “scrapper” to.
He’d dive after loose balls, get to the rim and get to the free throw line and even occasionally contribute with a big scoring game. He also was a bit of an agitator, the kind of player an old school coach like Kim Anderson and his staff strongly desired. Someone to ruffle some feathers and bring energy and get his teammates hyped. The Georgia game — specifically at the end of the first half — comes to mind.
What will his role be in year two at Mizzou? With Terrence Phillips a year older, C.J. Roberts fully on board with head coach Cuonzo Martin, and the potential of another younger guard being brought in, where will Geist fit? And if KJ Walton makes strides, does Geist lose the minutes he’s taken from him?
The future is uncertain, but Geist will have a role on this team, ‘cause again, every teams needs an agitator.
I make no bones about Geist not being my favorite player. I’m not, and have never been, a fan of the ‘stir the pot’ guy. I’ve played with them and against them, and it’s just something I don’t enjoy as a part of basketball. So take what I say about Geist with a fairly big grain of salt — I’m biased.
That said, there is usefulness for a team fighting for respectability with a player like Geist. I’d rather he focus on being the best player he can be, which is truthfully not that bad of a player.
He can always improve on his shooting, which wasn't very good last season. It was almost as if the more difficult of a shot he took, the more likely it was to go in. It was truly a crazy part of this past season, watching Geist's circus shots go in repeatedly.
For a second ball handler behind Terrence Phillips, Geist needs to improve. His assist to turnover rate was about 1.65, which isn’t terrible or great ... it’s just fine. I’d imagine something closer to 2.0 would be better in a backup guard role. But it will be interesting to see how Geist fits in next season with so many roles changing.
I don’t think Geist got the credit he deserved for his on-court play in 2016-17, and it’s most likely because of the “agitator” thing. That he finished the season playing the most minutes at shooting guard is pretty disturbing, but as much as anything else, it was because others weren’t stepping up. On a decent team, he’s a backup point guard. On Mizzou, he was a shooting(ish) guard who shot 29% on 3-pointers.
In conference play, Geist was in the top 25 in both assist rate and fouls committed per 40 minutes — as in, he didn’t commit many, which made him an absolutely necessary complement to foul-heavy Terrence Phillips.
I think we saw the best, potentially most relevant version of Geist over the last five games of the season. He averaged 29 minutes, 8.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in those contests, and he shot 50% on 2-pointers and 40% on 3-pointers. He was a legitimately useful player toward the end of the year.
Still, he’s best if used as Phillips’ backup next year. And if he averages 10-15 minutes, 3-5 points, a couple of rebounds and a couple of assists per game, that’s excellent for that role. Even if he’s being pretty annoying while he posts those numbers.