Last season, G Sean East had a critical role as the backup point guard for the Missouri Tigers, playing over 23 minutes and scoring 7.3 points per game. I don’t see that changing this season. He is definitely a fun player to watch. A second year in Dennis Gates’s system should be good for him, with this being his first time playing for the same team two years in a row.
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If he can become more consistent in his shot selection and lower his turnovers, East should be a key piece to this team while leading the second unit. In 2023, he stood out among the nation’s top transition passers, and the Tigers played with more speed when East is on the court. The guard was the sixth recruit to commit to Missouri under the new leadership of head coach Gates. Notably, Missouri averaged close to 80 points per game in 2022.
Hailing from the basketball-rich city of Louisville, Kentucky, East is an impressive 6’3″ and 185 pounds. He has an exceptional ability to shift gears and control pace. When facing defensive pressure, East remains resolute and composed, making excellent decisions after just one dribble. The guard fearlessly attacks the front of the rim, takes advantage of a retreating defender with a floater, or opts for a pull-up shot.
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Before arriving in Missouri, East spent a preparatory season at Combine Academy in Lincolnton, North Carolina, where he averaged 20.2 points per game and dished out 8.2 assists per contest. The guard’s impressive high school career at New Albany High School in Indiana included leading the Bulldogs to a remarkable 100-10 record during his four-year tenure. In his senior year, he averaged 18.2 points per game and left an indelible mark by scoring 1,000 points, finishing fifth in school history in assists.
When asked about his abilities, East confidently stated, “I can do a little bit of everything, shoot, pass, score, lead the team, you know, defend people.”
His basketball journey has taken him to various destinations, including previous stints in Division I basketball and JUCO. During the 2019-20 season as a freshman at UMass, he appeared in all 31 games, leading the team with 4.9 assists per game and 34 steals. His 4.9 assists/game ranked 57th nationally and was fourth among freshmen.
The guard produced at least five assists in 21 of those 31 games in that season. His sophomore season saw him at Bradley, where he played in 24 games and made 20 starts leading the team with 3.7 assists per game. This ranked third in the Missouri Valley Conference. His journey culminated in his arrival in Missouri, after he was the No. 2 JUCO product. East posted remarkable averages of 20.9 points and 5.7 assists per game during the previous season, earning him the prestigious 2022 NJCAA Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.
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The decision to join Missouri was a straightforward one for East. He explained, “Overall, Coach Gates showed nothing but his plan, vision, and hunger to get this program to the top. I like that as a player because you want your coach to be just as hungry as you are. Mizzou felt like home when I arrived, and after going on other visits, I had a gut feeling. I loved the campus and fell in love with the arena. Basketball is a big priority here, and I want to be a part of Mizzou getting back to where it belongs.”
When it comes to his shooting mechanics, the guard’s form appears quite sound. He lays the foundation early, establishing his stance. Assuming the pass finds his shooting pocket, his loading motion occurs from a compact and fluid position. It’s safe to say that Missouri made a wise decision in recruiting East, and it has paid off handsomely.