Early this season, Missouri’s Kaleb Brown had a seven-game stretch where he could bid for a spot in the Tigers’ rotation. Yet the sophomore’s handle was still too loose, and not enough jumpers dropped.
Once MU started facing respectable opposition, the guard’s minutes and opportunities shrank.
On Friday, Brown, a holdover from Cuonzo Martin’s last roster, announced he will enter the transfer portal, joining Mohamed Diarra and Ronnie DeGray III as Tigers looking to grow their roles elsewhere. His decision also leaves MU with two open scholarships at coach Dennis Gates’ disposal.
And while Kaleb Brown is his own person, his fortunes will inevitably be linked to the decision looming for his older brother. Coming off an All-SEC campaign, Kobe Brown faces a Sunday deadline to declare for the NBA draft. If Kobe ultimately moved on, Kaleb’s position within the program was precarious.
By entering his name into the portal, Kaleb Brown regains some flexibility. Should his brother enter his name in the draft pool, Kaleb Brown, who averaged 0.8 points and 0.4 rebounds, can go through a parallel process where he fields interests from other programs. Conversely, he could always return to the fold if Kobe Brown withdraws from the draft and opts to use a fifth year of eligibility made possible due to the pandemic.
That said, MU’s staff is also aggressively exploring its options.
The Tigers have already landed a trio of transfer wings in John Tonje, Tamar Bates, and Caleb Grill, the latter of whom committed Thursday. That pledge arrived the same day the staff played host Virginia post Kadin Shedrick and Florida State wing Matthew Cleveland. With Kaleb Brown’s exit, Gates has a pair of scholarships to accommodate both.
Meanwhile, there’s also a line of thought that MU could retain Isiaih Mosley by using NIL funds as a de facto scholarship.
But even if you set aside Kobe Brown’s plans, the move is logical for Kaleb. The Tigers are set to return a pair of veteran ball handlers in Nick Honor and Sean East. In addition, Bates and Grill can play combo guard or space off the ball as true wings. And the program will also welcome freshman point guard Anthony Robinson, the No. 144 prospect nationally, to campus this summer.
With his brother potentially moving on and the minutes crunch only getting tighter, Kaleb will look for more opportunities elsewhere.