clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Mizzou Hoops Player Preview: Kaleb Brown

The combo guard saw spot minutes as a ball-mover last season, but what can he do to earn more time after Missouri added a pair of veteran lead guards?

Missouri v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Over 13 installments, this series will dive deep into the 12 known scholarship players that make up the 2022-2023 Missouri basketball roster. Some installments might be more in-depth than others, if only because of the data and film available. In addition, evaluating players with multiple years of experience is more straightforward than younger peers.

The pieces read like a birds-eye scouting report. They skew more toward the offensive end of the court for two reasons. First, a player’s offensive metrics are more reliable than defensive data and less team-dependent. Second, it’s considerably easier to describe a player’s qualities with more well-known offensive statistics. As always, we encourage interaction from our readers. Please drop us a comment or find me on Twitter @DataMizzou.

The Player

We’ve reached the last holdover from a flipped roster: sophomore guard Kaleb Brown. The native of Huntsville, Alabama won the Class 5A State Player of the Year award his senior year at Lee High School, and as you’re undoubtedly aware by now, he’s the younger brother of Kobe Brown. As a freshman, Kaleb saw action in 27 games, and by the end of the season, he accounted for the eighth-highest minute share on the roster.

He gained more time as the season went along, appearing in every SEC contest after seeing the floor in only half of the team’s non-conference games. And he logged more than 20 minutes three times. He will seek to build on that playing time this coming year. Kaleb has three years of eligibility remaining.

The Numbers

Kaleb Brown | Sophomore | Combo Guard | 6-6, 250 pounds

Year Team Min % Ortg Usage eFG% OR% DR% Ast % TO% FTR % FT% 2PT% 3PT%
Year Team Min % Ortg Usage eFG% OR% DR% Ast % TO% FTR % FT% 2PT% 3PT%
2022 MIZ 20.0% 64.1 13.0 35.7 2.4 15.6 20.9 42.9 32.1 22.2 28.6 28.6

Kaleb’s stat line makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about his freshman season. That happens when you play just 20% of minutes and only have 13% usage. While that playing time’s not an outlier for a freshman, the use might have been — and on the lower end of the spectrum.

He was often cast as a primary ballhandler, but the usage rate indicates he wasn’t generating a lot of offense during that time on the floor. That’s not good or bad. It just is. Consider: Kaleb played 250 minutes, attempted 28 shots, and took just nine free throws. If you watched MU, it was apparent his job was to advance the ball to the front court, pass away and defer to other players on the court.

To understand his strength and weaknesses, we have to lean on film. Unfortunately, the data sample is just too small. Kaleb’s passing ability is well above average. He sees the floor well and has shown the ability to deliver an accurate ball on time. Standing a 6-foot-6, he can also survey over the top of the defense, creating a potentially unique skill set. While he wasn’t running a ton of pick-and-rolls, he grades out well at 1.125 points per possession, per Synergy data. That size also comes in handy on the glass, where he had a 15.6 defensive rebounding percentage. Moving the ball and limiting second possessions aren’t fancy, but the qualities provide a solid template to work from.

On the other side of the ledger, Kaleb’s jump shot hasn’t given us much to work with regarding projectability. It’s an unorthodox release. That alone isn’t always a negative — if it’s repeatable. His ability to solidify the jumper in his arsenal will be essential. His ball security was sometimes lacking but struck me more as inexperience than a lack of ability. Being thrust into the primary ballhandler role when defenses knew the team struggled in that area is not an enviable position. Nonetheless, there’s something to work with there. Rounding that out will also be a big part of his success.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 10 SEC Tournament - Missouri v LSU Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Role

As with many players on next year’s roster, it’s hard to know precisely how expansive Kaleb’s role will be. However, there’s some benefit to having gone through the rigors of an SEC schedule. His size and passing ability also provide upside.

That said, his positional flexibility can be as much of a liability as an asset.

Coach Dennis Gates and his staff also brought in two players who project to handle the bulk of the load on the ball. In addition, there’s a fleet of off-ball guards, wings and combo forwards.

Where does Kaleb project? If the staff leans wholly into a positionless framework, the depth of potential contributors also creates a hurdle. And because MU mined the transfer portal, there are other players with a history of production that might trump Kaleb’s — regardless of whether they played for a Mid-Major.

The good news is that sophomore year is when most high-major players make the most significant leap in development. So if Kaleb has put the work in, we’ll have a better sense of his ceiling.

Also, as you have no doubt heard — because it’s true — Florida State plays a lot of guys, as opposed to playing guys a lot. That need for bodies creates opportunity. Should Coach Gates fully implement that system here, there will be opportunities for Kaleb to start at the back of the rotation and work his way up. The status of his improvement could certainly alter those plans, but that’s an unknown at this point.

He’ll likely get five minutes at the start of the season as the staff attempts to sort out roles during their soft opening stretch of the schedule.

Missouri v LSU Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

I hesitate to use the comparison because it appears lazy and probably is. But Kaleb’s game is reminiscent of his brother’s. That shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Kobe adjusted his game from his first year to last season, focusing far less on jump shooting and more on working to his strengths. I believe that will be the ticket for Kaleb as well. Find your niche and exploit it, whatever it may be.

They both possess a unique frame for players who can handle the ball and have a plus passing ability. Kobe carved out a role as a triple threat at the high post, with an ability to beat defenders off the bounce and find teammates cutting and hitting mid-range and in shots with various finishing mechanisms. Whether that’s where Kaleb will excel, I don’t know. The process of finding it is what I’m looking for.

The Film

Kaleb handled the press well here and was strong on the ball. The wing defender in the press defense never full committed and Kaleb was able to display his court vision and passing ability for an easy bucket.

Kaleb’s court awareness is on full display here. He already knows where he’s going with the pass before he catches. His quick decision making leads to a good look for DeGray.

A play very reminiscent of his brother. Kaleb posts up a smaller defender and whips a great pass to the corner for a DeGray jumper.

Min %: This is simply the percentage of minutes played by a given player.
Usage %: A measure of personal possessions used while player is on the court. This includes making a shot, missing a shot coupled with a defensive rebound and a turnover.
eFG%: Same as traditional FG% with the added bonus of 3-point shots given 50% more weight to account for additional point.
OR%: The percentage of possible offensive rebounds a player gets.
DR%: The percentage of possible defensive rebounds a player gets.
AST%: Assists divided by field goals made by player’s teammates while on the court.
TO%: The percentage of personal possessions a player uses on turnovers.
FTR%: A rate which measures a player’s ability to get to the free throw line.
FT%: Free Throw shooting percentage.
2PT%: 2-point field goal percentage.
3PT% 3-point field goal percentage.