The Next Level: An Update of Professional Mizzou Hoops Players

MUTIGERS.COM Alex Oriakhi returned to Mizzou Arena during the club's win over Tennessee on Feb. 15.
Alex Oriakhi returned to Mizzou Arena during the club's win over Tennessee on Feb. 15.

Feb. 18, 2014

Every week Mizzou Strategic Communications Student Assistant Jay Wallis will update fans on former Mizzou basketball stars playing professionally.

NBA Players/Coaches

Phil Pressey (Undrafted in 2013, signed by Celtics): Flip has come back down to earth a bit since having back-to-back solid performances against the Wizards and Thunder. Pressey only played eight minutes between two games on February 2 and 5 but still had a fantastic no-look pass against the Magic on Sunday. As Rajon Rondo continues to ease his way back into NBA shape, though, head coach Brad Stevens has been resting his starting point guard every few games. So in the two games Stevens rested Rondo, Pressey averaged 23 minutes as the team earned two victories. In the team's most recent 102-86 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on February 10, Pressey had 13 points and six assists while knocking down 3-of-4 from downtown.

Pressey could very easily get back in the regular rotation soon enough, though, as Stevens continues to try and figure out his young roster. The 5-foot-11 point guard has gone through multiple stretches this season when he receives less than 10 minutes of playing time multiple games in a row. But Pressey remains ready and has taken advantage of playing time when the opportunity presents itself.

The 23-year-old is averaging 2.5 points, 2.6 assists and 13.9 mpg this season. However, when Stevens has played him at least 20 minutes, Pressey has dished out at least five assists on 8-of-12 occasions. He is averaging 5.6 apg over those 12 games.

Pressey and the Celtics (19-35) will go up against the Phoenix Suns (30-21) Wednesday night coming out of the All-Star break.

DeMarre Carroll (Drafted in 2009, 27th by Grizzlies):
Carroll had a great week, showing off his ability to do a little bit of everything. The "3-and-D" swingman averaged 16.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.3 apg and 2.3 spg over a three-game stretch. He then slowed down a bit in his next two games against the Grizzlies and Bulls, averaging 12 ppg and 4 rpg. The Hawks, however, lost four of these five games. But during this five-game stretch, Carroll averaged a team-high 34.2 mpg, being relied on as a defensive force. The Hawks would rest Carroll in Wednesday's 104-83 loss to the Raptors, due to a left hamstring injury.



That one victory came against the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday, February 1, with the Hawks winning 120-113. Carroll had a crucial one-minute stretch late in the fourth quarter in which the scrappy forward snatched a defensive rebound off a Kevin Love 3-point attempt and then made 3-of-4 free throws during the next two offensive possessions.

In their 105-100 loss to the Pelicans last Wednesday night, the Hawks watched Carroll play one of his most efficient games of the season as he played a team-high 41 minutes. Carroll shot 9-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 on 3-pointers. The ability to stretch the floor with his long-range shooting is a developing element for Carroll that should help him continue to grow into a legitimate NBA small forward.

Friday night, Carroll and the Hawks (25-26) will face the elite Indiana Pacers (40-12) Tuesday after the All-Star break.

Larry Drew (Drafted in 1980, 17th by Pistons):
Drew's Bucks picked up their second win of 2014 last week, taking down the New York Knicks 101-98 on Feb. 3. Brandon Knight led the team in scoring with 25 points in 46 big minutes. Khris Middleton contributed 19 points while Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo provided a sparkplug off the bench, scoring 15 points. Even though he is 6-foot-9, Antetokounmpo competed in the Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend.

Milwaukee then went on to lose its next four games, going into the All-Star break with a 9-43 record. In the most recent 102-98 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans last Wednesday night, the Bucks fought the entire way and almost came up with the victory. Brandon Knight led the way again with 22 points and nine assists.

Overseas/D-League Feature Player

Alex Oriakhi (Drafted in 2013, 57th by Suns):
Oriakhi has bounced around during his first year out of college basketball, playing in both France and Israel. However, as of December 2013, the Erie BayHawks of the NBA D-League acquired the 6-9 power forward. The Bayhawks are currently the New York Knicks' D-League affiliate.

Oriakhi started 19 of 22 games played with the team, averaging 7.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 1.1 bpg. He had a four-game stretch around mid-January in which he averaged 14 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 1.8 bpg.

In the BayHawks most recent 97-95 victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Oriakhi contributed 13 points, seven rebounds, one block and one steal in 25 minutes of play.

Next for Oriakhi will be a stint with the with the Sioux Falls, S.D., Skyforce. Oriakhi was part of a three-team trade on Feb. 8 and the big fella spent the All-Star break in Columbia cheering the Tigers on to a 75-70 win over Tennessee.

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