|Hey, wanna play? Pickup star makes Missouri roster|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 29 December 2008 13:37|
Try telling that to Missouri sophomore Jarrett Sutton, the team's newest walk-on and an instant fan favorite.
The 6-foot-3 shooting guard earned his spot at the end of the 14-man roster by impressing coach Mike Anderson and his assistants while the coaches were hooping with the professors at the campus recreation center.
``I was just going to run sprints to stay in shape,'' said Sutton, who didn't make it past walk-on tryouts as a freshman and didn't plan to even bother this season. ``They asked me if I wanted to play. I guess they liked what they saw.''
Sutton often matched up against Anderson, a sparkplug guard at Tulsa under coach Nolan Richardson. Anderson's game hasn't eroded two decades later, according to Sutton.
The intimidation factor was another story.
o how he played, I knew I could just go out and play.''
Anderson, in his third year at Missouri, likely has a soft spot for walk-ons. His own son, Michael Anderson Jr., is a senior guard for the Tigers and not on scholarship.
A good walk-on, the coach said, ``has got to be about the team. He's not going to get a lot of ink. He's not going to get a whole lot of playing time. He may not get into practice. And of course he's paying his own way. He's got to have some character. And he's got to have some confidence, too.''
The dual existence of the basketball walk-on - from afterthought to the most popular player on the court once a rout is in hand - was on clear display in Missouri's 107-57 drubbing of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville at Mizzou Arena on Saturday.
With a 30-point lead before halftime, each of Missouri's other 13 players had already gotten into the game. Anderson rested his starters for most of the second half as the lead hovered near 40 points for most of that span.
But it wasn't until just 2:30 remained that Sutton entered the game to one of the loudest ovations of the night from an otherwise somnolent crowd.
He quickly delivered, making a 3-point shot to provide Missouri's its final margin of victory.
Sutton has played in five games this season and made five of his 10 field-goal attempts, all 3-pointers.
c, can match Sutton's accuracy. Designated sharpshooter Matt Lawrence is shooting 35.5 percent from 3-point range. J.T. Tiller and Kim English are also below 40 percent.
``He can shoot the basketball a little bit,'' Anderson said.
So much so that come garbage time, Anderson will even diagram a play to free up Sutton for an open shot.
Sutton said that fans can relate to his everyman persona. He's not staggeringly tall and his physique doesn't exactly draw comparisons to the Missouri stars.
``Every guy on the floor is very athletic,'' Sutton said. ``At the rec center, I'd play and feel like I was the most athletic. Now I'm probably the least athletic.''
A business major, Sutton carries a 3.3 grade-point average. He hopes to work in marketing, though he also thinks about a coaching career.
He describes his role on the team as ``no maintenance. No excuses. You're just there to help the team get better.''
After earning all-conference and all-district recognition his senior year at high school in Kansas City, Sutton received feelers from Division II schools such as Northwest Missouri State and scholarship offers from local NAIA schools William Jewell and Benedictine.
He held off, hoping he could join the team he has watched since childhood and follow two older brothers to Missouri.
``I just wanted to chase my dream and go as high as I could go,'' he said.