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“Be the type of player people want to play with”

Mizzou Links for Wednesday, August 9

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Be the type of player people want to play with.

I’m going to take a pause on football chatter for today’s Links to talk about a topic very near and dear to my heart, our favorite LA Clipper, Kobe Brown. During a perusal of The Site Formerly Known as Twitter, I found a recent (amazing) article on KB from LA Times staff writer, Andrew Greif. I liked the story so much, in fact, I didn’t share it with Josh for his links so I could have it for MINE. Teehee.

Now, Missouri fans should be aware of how Kobe got his name — if you’re not, were you even a Missouri/Kobe Brown fan?! — but in case you’ve forgotten, it comes from Brown’s dad Greg taking one of his high school players to La Salle for a visit and spending time with assistant coach Joe Bryant, and taking in the otherworldly star that was Kobe Bryant even in high school. it wasn’t just the play that got the elder Brown excited; it was the whole package.

Standing in the high school’s hallway with Bryant’s father afterward, Brown marveled as several students, each speaking a different language, congratulated Kobe, who thanked them in their language.

“When I heard him speak to those guys in those different languages that just blew my mind,” Brown said. “That did everything. He dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts. I said my son has to be like this.”

At Lee High School, Kobe was used just like his namesake, as a center on defense and a point guard on offense. And along the way, he learned to follow one golden rule in his basketball family: Be the type of player that people want to play with. So he learned from watching Bryant just as he learned from watching another Laker, Magic Johnson. And he learned from absorbing how his dad coached from the bench at Lee. This golden rule is what people loved about Kobe at Missouri, and what the Clips loved about him enough to draft him.

If there is any suited to succeed in the face of limited minutes and a changing role within coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation, it might very well be a player of Brown’s background, whose unselfishness regularly cost him exposure as a recruit, but at 23 could prepare him to be malleable enough to fit his new team’s needs.

Might it have helped Kobe’s college recruitment to be more of a type to worry about getting his? Yes, of course. But he ended up at Missouri and for that, we are so, so (infinitely so) thankful. Under Zo’s system, he was a power forward and sometimes ball-handler, which put Kobe out of his comfort zone but made him “more comfortable playing in traffic with physicality while defending bigger opponents,” per Greif. He became a tougher player under Zo. And with Gates and CY, he returned to his comfort zone, and he excelled.

Tigers assistant Charlton Young joined Gates’ Missouri staff from Florida State, where he coached Terance Mann. In Brown, Young said he saw the same ability to make winning plays that has turned Mann from a rookie on a two-way contract into a rotation player so highly regarded that the Clippers have not shown interest in including him in any trade for James Harden.

“Instead of taking 500 or 1,000 shots he came in and took 250 perfect shots a day,” Young said. “He came in and stuck the landing with his balance on each one.”

I remember watching Kobe’s summer league performances and thinking, wow, those efficiency numbers are not like the Mizzou ones but chalked it up to maybe some overzealousness with coming to terms with his lifelong dream. Fans weren’t used to seeing KB launch a bunch of shots. But as well all learned, the NBA is in a different stratosphere, and the summer league coaching staff encouraged Brown to be ready to take as many open shots as possible.

In less than two weeks, Jones said, Brown had impressed him with his “unique skill set” molded in part by those around Brown who had pushed him throughout his earliest years to play like a well-rounded teammate, not an overbearing one. At several points during Brown’s 35-point game in Las Vegas, Lue, seated on the baseline next to assistants, uttered compliments after Brown’s steals and blocks.

“He can do a lot of things without having the ball in his hands, as you saw,” Jones said. “...He can do a bunch of different things to complement the cast that we have already. He knows he’s a basketball player first. He doesn’t hang his hat on scoring. He hangs his hat on having a positive effect on the game of basketball.”

I’m sure y’all think I regurgitated this whole article here, but I didn’t! There was more, so be sure to check it out. It was so good. So good!

Next up, now that Kobe has returned to LA to begin life as a Clipper— whole team practices with a new group of players to learn from. How exciting. HOW EXCITING.

On to the Links!

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:


They do realize the Atlantic and Pacific oceans aren’t the same, right?!

  • WTG, Javon!
  • It’s Luther Time. And putting time.

Other Mizzou Sports

  • MU soccer started their season with a 2-0 exhibition win over Memphis, per Missourian reports. Forward Nicole Icen scored the first goal with a header off a free kick by midfielder Milena Fischer. Forward Kylee Simmons later scored to make it 2-0. They’ll play another exhibition match on Saturday at OK State, and then kick off their season a week from now.
  • In Missourian Track & Field coverage, MU incoming freshman Sterling Scott won a U20 Pan Am triple jump gold medal with a personal best of 51 ft, 5 in Puerto Rico. Former UW grad assistant Tanner Anderson will join the staff as a middle-distance and distance assistant, as well as recruiting coordinator.
  • Happy retirement to longtime athletic director, Eric McDonnell!
  • New season, new coach, new court, new team. Lookin good, Mizzou Volleyball!
  • We have an answer to the KJ signal! Welcome, no. 7 Missouri prospect and Class of 2024 St. Louis native, Tytus Cissell! He’s an INF/OF switch hitter. Versatile. I like it!
  • And later Tuesday another player confirmed their commitment, Xorian Robinson, who backed out of his 2025 commitment to Memphis and is following KJ to Missouri! Welcome, Xorian! Per Perfect Game, the SS/OF grades out as an “8” which is “potential draft pick and/or excellent college prospect.”

Side note: KJ needs to start stating the year on these signals. I can’t keep track.

Former Tiger news

  • Watkins was reminiscing and I loved to see it. Brad Smith was my most favorite of Tigers. I wanted one of his no. 16 jerseys so, so bad, and never could find one.
  • Sophie time! As of 10:50 pm on Tuesday, she was up to 14pts in 22min and shot 4-6 from three to go with a REB, 2 AST, and 2 PF. All of her points but the two FT were three-pointers. Cool, huh? Go Merc!

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