Are you a big fan of a scary combination of skill and athleticism at the forward position, and effort-induced intangibles? If so, you’ll enjoy watching UNLV’s Mike Moser, who is making some noise on scouting radars everywhere.
You may have heard Moser’s name associated with his old school, UCLA, but he was never an issue for Coach Ben Howland despite deciding to jump ship to Sin City. In fact, by all accounts, it was quite the opposite: Moser needed fewer distractions, and there were plenty in Westwood.
On the court Moser displays the rare ability to defend the 2-4 positions, although at the next level I’m not quite sure he has the base to handle NBA power forwards. But in defending the perimeter, Moser’s frame and footwork are exceptional.
What stood out in his performance last night against Wyoming wasn’t his 16 first-half points on an array of shots, but it was his foot speed in transition. He’s the fastest player on the floor with long, loafing strides that make it look effortless.
After getting out to a 28-11 halftime lead, Wyoming made a run to cut the lead to 7 points and had the chance to make it a two possession game with 6:32 to play. I kept thinking to myself that the Rebs were reeling.
On the next play UNLV’s guards force a miss and Moser outjumped Wyoming’s Leonard Washington for a critical rebound that allowed UNLV the chance to stretch the lead to 11 two possessions later, essentially killing the rally. That’s an intangible that stands out.
Moser’s full body of work has been inconsistent, and right now he’s a lottery talent who needs more seasoning. Defensively, he’d remind you of a slighter Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in terms of guarding the ball and always looking to help the ball. He needs to work on his perimeter game (.336% from deep) and in his ability to break defenders down off the dribble, but he’s shown flashes. His 16-point, 18-rebound performance in a win against North Carolina sits atop his resume.
Right now he’s a defensive specialist with inconsistent scoring production, but when you talk about the top underclassmen at the forward position, Moser’s name is right there.
- NBA-ready defender who can defend the 2/3 and smaller 4s.
- baseline to baseline footspeed.
- NBA length/frame
- offensive consistency
- needs to demand touches more. A little too passive in that respect
- physical strength. Would get posted up by stronger SFs at the next level
Tommy Dee is the founder of TheKnicksBlog, editor of CHARGED Magazine and is a regional scout for Marty Blake and Associates. Follow him on Twitter.