Mike Moser’s Decision Begins To Answer Questions About Oregon’s FrontcourtPosted by AMurawa on May 7th, 2013
After weeks spent considering Oregon, Washington, and Gonzaga, Mike Moser has apparently chosen the Ducks, according to Matt Prehm of 247Sports.com. Moser, who started his collegiate career in the Pac-10 back in 2009 with UCLA before spending a pair of seasons at UNLV, will be eligible immediately with one year of remaining eligibility. And for an Oregon team coming off a Sweet Sixteen performance, but needing to replace four departing frontcourt seniors, the decision begins to clear up the picture of who Dana Altman will be able to play with next season. In short, expect the Ducks to be in the thick of things in the Pac-12 again next season.
Moser’s time at UNLV was up and down, but when things were going good in Sin City, things were going real good. He broke out in a big way early in his sophomore campaign, bursting onto the national scene with 16 points and 18 boards in an upset win over then-#1 North Carolina back in November of 2011. And for the year, his numbers were very good, grabbing 10.5 rebounds per game (28.1 DR%, 9.5 OR%), scoring 14 a night and providing some decent punch from deep (33.1 3P%). He thought about bolting to the NBA after that performance, but returned to Vegas for his junior year and things didn’t go as planned. Looking to cement his credentials as a small forward prospect, Moser struggled with injuries, struggled to find a place alongside transcendent freshman talent Anthony Bennett, struggled with his shot and, well, let’s just say he struggled. His numbers dipped to 7.1 PPG and 6.1 RPG (23.4 DR%, 6.8 OR%), he never really found the range from deep (26.7 3P%) and his minutes dwindled, especially late in the season following a return from a dislocated elbow.
But, make no mistake, there is plenty of talent in his 6’8” frame. And Oregon has plenty of need for a player of his stature. With E.J. Singler, Arsalan Kazemi, Tony Woods and Carlos Emory departing via graduation, Moser will slip right into an inexperienced frontcourt (Waverly Austin’s 11 MPG and Ben Carter’s 10.4 MPG, the only significant returning experience) and his athleticism and versatility should have a chance to shine in an up-tempo offense that returns backcourt duo Dominic Artis and Damyean Dotson for their sophomore seasons. Still, Moser will need to prove that he is ready to buy into what Altman, one of the nation’s best coaches, is selling. Much like Andre Roberson, who we talked about last week, Moser’s NBA future lies at the small forward spot. But he has the ability to dominate at the college level while playing the four. Altman will find a place for Moser to succeed (as he has done several times in Eugene with transfers in recent years – Kazemi, Woods, Olu Ashaolu, Devoe Joseph), you can count on that, but Moser’s got to be willing to accept that role, whatever it may be.
The good news is, what Altman wants and what Moser wants may mesh. Carter seems right now to be the only returning frontcourt guy locked into a major role, and he’s a face-up four who can bang with the big boys down low. If Austin can settle into a comfortable role with the Ducks over the offseason, he and incoming freshman power forward Jordan Bell could emerge as a hardworking frontcourt tandem on the block. That leaves a spot for Moser to slide in at the three, run the wing on the break, handle the ball on the perimeter in the halfcourt, and yet still slip in and help out on the glass. And, if Oregon can close the deal on Memphis transfer Tarik Black (who, like Moser, would be eligible to play right away), what once looked like a potential black hole along the frontcourt for the Ducks, could turn into a strength.
Even before the Moser news, this Duck team had to be considered a borderline top 25 team, if for no other reason than the fact that Altman reliably gets the most out of his squads. But with Moser, and with a Black commitment potentially on the horizon, the Ducks may in fact be the team that could emerge as the biggest contender to push Arizona for the Pac-12 title.
Lastly, while this is a huge boon for the Ducks, it is also a huge disappointment for the Huskies, who at one time were considered the frontrunners to earn Moser’s services. Instead, he goes to a hated rival and Lorenzo Romar looks at a 2013-14 roster with a lot of youth and unproven potential. Look for a starting five of Nigel Williams-Goss, Andrew Andrews, C.J. Wilcox and then some combination of Perris Blackwell, Shawn Kemp Jr., Desmond Simmons and Jernard Jarreau along the frontline. In other words, in a conference where the trend almost across the board seems to be a rising tide of talent, the Huskies appear to be in the mix for a second division finish.