Preseason predictions across the nation touted Kim English as the marquee name on a Missouri Tigers team otherwise devoid of an established veteran backcourt presence.
However, junior guard Marcus Denmon has quietly outscored and outplayed English in the Tigers’ first seven games.
“(In) high school, I always came out with an offensive mind because my team needed me to,” Denmon said. “But this team’s got so many weapons that everyone can score, so I just try to contribute where I can.”
More than just trying to contribute, Denmon leads the team in scoring through seven games this season. In contests against Oregon and Georgetown, he averaged 23.0 points on 79 percent shooting from the floor and dropped in 73 percent from three-point range.
Those eye-popping numbers led the Kansas City native to be named Big 12 player of the week on Monday.
Kim English has struggled to find his shot through the first leg of the season. He posted a goose egg in the final game of the Cancun Challenge against La Salle, and averages just 10.4 points on the season, fifth on the team. His current 42.9 field goal percentage is the second worst among Tigers, behind freshman point guard Phil Pressey.
English’s miscues at the free throw line, ninth on the team at 54 percent made, combined with his shaky jumper has led the proclaimed leader of the team to defer to teammates more often.
“When [English] can’t find his shot, he becomes a distributor and creates opportunities for other guys on the floor,” forward Laurence Bowers said.
Denmon’s gaudier numbers have come off English dishes often this season.
Head Coach Mike Anderson has asked both players to sit and enter the game from the bench at times through the first seven games, and both were more efficient in that role.
Big 12 media outlets named Denmon to the 2010 All-Reserve team before this season.
The prospective sixth man has played like Mizzou’s star player so far. If he keeps this pace up, expect him to receive more than just Big 12 Player of the Week before the NCAA tournament in March.