Scottie Bordelon is a reporter for WholeHogSports.com. A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Bordelon previously covered high school sports for the Times Record in Fort Smith and the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Springdale. He is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Football Writers Association of America, and was awarded 2022 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
What to expect from Missouri transfer Trevon Brazile
Missouri's Trevon Brazile, right, blocks the shot of Georgia's Christian Wright during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 5, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. Missouri won 79-69. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)
FAYETTEVILLE — Add another name to the list of players who have faced Eric Musselman, then joined forces with him.
Stanley Umude (South Dakota) and Justin Smith (Indiana) did so after squaring off against Musselman’s first team at Arkansas, and Vance Jackson (New Mexico) did it after several head-to-heads with the coach when he was at Nevada. Kamani Johnson (Arkansas-Little Rock) played against the Razorbacks in an exhibition.
Missouri's Trevon Brazile, a 6-9, 215-pound forward who just completed his freshman season, is now part of that club. On Wednesday, he became Arkansas’ first addition from the NCAA transfer portal this spring.
During a season in which the Tigers finished 12-21 overall, won back-to-back games only twice — in November and March — and Cuonzo Martin was fired after five years on the job, Brazile was a bright spot as a versatile defender who flashed promise on the offensive end. The Razorbacks hope to tap in to his potential in the years to come.
Arkansas had no issues putting the Tigers away in the teams’ two meetings last season, defeating them by 44 points in Bud Walton Arena and 19 at Mizzou Arena. But the Razorbacks entered the matchups with great respect for the long, talented big.
Prior to the second game, Musselman spoke at length about Brazile, who was a focus of the team’s game prep. He had 3 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 21 minutes at Arkansas on Jan. 12.
“He’s no different than a lot of younger big guys that keep getting better,” Musselman said Feb. 14. “I think if you look at (2020-21), our team with Jaylin Williams’ growth, I thought he kept getting better and better. He’s shooting at a fairly good clip from (three-point range), as well, although not a high volume.
“Good offensive rebounder. Obviously his shot blocking ability and his ability to cover different positions, he’s a guy that can switch out on a guard. He’s got great versatility. Got a bright future, for sure.”
Right away, Brazile should impact the Razorbacks in terms of rim protection.
According to KenPom data, he posted a block rate of 10.1%, which ranked 28th nationally. The only SEC player with a better mark in that category was Auburn’s Walker Kessler (19.1%), who won the league’s defensive player of the year award.
In SEC games, Brazile’s block percentage fell to a still-stout 8.4%, a mark that placed him third in the league. He blocked multiple shots 14 times in conference play and in 17 games overall.
Brazile’s best shot-blocking effort last season came against Illinois and All-America forward Kofi Cockburn on Dec. 22. He blocked a season-high 6 shots in the Tigers’ 88-63 loss and posted a block rate of 30.6% in the game, per CBB Analytics.
That performance was the third game in what became a 10-game stretch in which he blocked at least two shots. Brazile also finished with four blocks against Texas A&M and Georgia.
Perhaps most impressive about the forward’s debut season was he averaged 1.5 blocked shots per personal foul committed. According to CBB Analytics, that number placed him in the 99th percentile nationally, and his 1.9 blocks per game put him in the 98th percentile.
"It's always been second nature, blocking shots," Brazile said, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune.
According to Hoop Lens analytics, the Tigers’ opponents shot 47.6% on two-point attempts and 32.9% beyond the arc in his 920 defensive possessions. They hit 50.1% inside the arc and 36.6% beyond it when he sat.
On the backboards, he finished inside the top 25 in SEC play in offensive (22nd) and defensive (6th) rebound rate. Ten times he grabbed two or more Missouri misses in a game. In eight outings Brazile recorded at least five defensive boards.
The Springfield, Mo., native’s top all-around game came the last time he suited up for Missouri. He put up 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 8 rebounds (5 offensive), 1 assist, 2 blocks and 2 steals against LSU at the SEC Tournament in Tampa, Fla.
His four double-digit scoring games were against some of the toughest teams on Missouri’s schedule in rivals Kansas (10) and Illinois (11), and LSU (11, 15).
Brazile averaged only 6.6 points per game for the Tigers. His skillset, offensive game and numbers should grow under Musselman and his staff’s guidance.
According to CBB Analytics, Brazile made 40 of 53 (75.5%) attempts within 4 feet of the rim and 8 of 23 shots outside of that range in the lane, including 6 of 10 near the right block. From three-point range, he was most effective in the corners, where he was a combined 7 of 14 — 4 of 6 in the left corner.
“All he wants to do is be a good basketball player and be a part of a team," Martin said of Brazile in February, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune. "Once in his mind he truly realizes that he’s one of the best out there, you’ll see next level.”
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