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2022-23 Mizzou hoops player preview: Ronnie DeGray III

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking an individual look at the strengths, weaknesses and expectations of each of Missouri’s scholarship players.

After beginning the series previewing Kobe Brown, we’ll follow up with Missouri’s other returner in the frontcourt in junior forward Ronnie DeGray III. DeGray spent his freshman season at UMass, but made a smooth transition after transferring to Mizzou last year, posting 8.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Though he only made four starts, DeGray was often the first man off the bench — he averaged 25.4 minutes per game, fifth-most on the team.

What stands out about DeGray is that he doesn’t necessarily need the ball in his hands to make a big impact. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, he’s well-equipped to guard either forward spot and switch onto bigs or smaller guards in a pinch. Per KenPom, DeGray also posted the team’s highest offensive rating (110.8) despite having 17.5% usage rating, meaning he was extremely efficient with his touches.

Similar to Brown, DeGray plays a lot like a big wing. He can take defenders off the dribble, spot up outside the arc for 3s and bully smaller opponents in the paint. And like Brown, it helps him get to the free throw line often, taking 39.4 foul shots per 100 field goal attempts according to KenPom. He’s not quite as good of a facilitator as Brown, though that’s something DeGray told PowerMizzou in July that he wants to improve at.

In fact, the Parker, Colo. native said he wants to get better at everything. Much of his first year with the Tigers was spent learning on the fly, adjusting to the level of play in the SEC. While he proved to be a serviceable player in the rotation, it’s fair to wonder if he can step his game up even more. DeGray was elite inside the arc in conference play, sinking 62.3% of his two-point attempts, but wasn’t much of a threat from outside, hitting just 26.2% of his 3-pointers. It was a noticeable downgrade for DeGray, who made 37% of his shots from long range during his rookie year at UMass.

DeGray likely has the talent deserving of a spot in the starting lineup. Given how the roster is constructed, though, Gates could afford to bring DeGray off the bench again as the team’s sixth man. Either way, the junior with three years of eligibility left is bound to play a big role for Missouri.

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