Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is the NBA noticing Mike Moser? Q&A

Mike Moser

Question: Why isn't Mike Moser in the conversation nationally yet when it comes to the NBA draft?

Answer - Jason Taylor
Peace through strength.  Tread lightly, but carry a big stick.  Gentle Giant.

Mike Moser has nudged the national college basketball seismograph a few times this season with 18-20 rebound efforts, and a 36-point outing in Santa Barbara. 

The North Carolina win provided a solid Richter scale reading with a Moser effort that rumbled out 16 points and 18 rebounds that greatly assisted a solid win over the #1 ranked team in the nation at the time.  He scored under the basket, over the basket, and dropped a few in from behind the arc. 

There was a reported 40-50 scouts in the stands that day, thanks much in part to the wealth of talent that UNC is showcasing this year.  It was a good day for Moser to show his stuff.

Moser will be mentioned during pre-game radio and television shows as he serves a ton of quality minutes to which opposing coaches must give great reverence.  

He is deserving of this attention.

However, he seems to be falling just under the NBA Talk radar.  National sports pundits spend their time on the Sullingers, Hensons, and Rivers of the world. 

This gives way to one of the possible reasons why we aren’t hearing about NBA possibilities for Moser.  All the air has been sucked out of the room by the media’s over-infatuation with ACC, SEC, and Big East basketball. 

But, then there’s the real reason, I believe… UNLV coaches of late really don’t concern themselves with the media biases.  They give respect to every team, and talk no smack.  They understand that it’s all about getting better every game, practicing, and getting the next win.  This is how the Rebels have quietly entered the NCAA Tournament 4 of the past 5 years… they’ve concentrated on what really matters.

UNLV presents peace through strength.  It treads lightly, but carries a big stick.  It’s becoming a gentle giant.  It’s now quietly ranked #12 in the Nation.

Mike Moser is a perfect fit at UNLV.  His motor never stops.  He practices hard.  He runs sprints with fervor.  He studies the game.  He positions well.  He looks for teammates.  He appreciates the team, the style, and the strategy.

Moser’s style, much like UNLV’s, places function over form.  If he decided that he was going to get his 20+ points per night, and get his face on ESPN’s highlight reel with regularity, and boost his stats, he could turn the dial and accomplish all of these things right now.  People would pay more attention.  We’d find “NBA” in the same sentence as “Mike Moser” much more often… it would provide the bling that lures the attention of the east coast oriented national media.  They were all watching the UNC game, and he was suddenly honored with National Player of the Week (not that he didn’t deserve it, of course). 

He is bigger than the hoopla, though, and when Mike Moser decides to enter the draft, he’ll be one of the most sought-after prospects on the scene.  It’s easy to see that this UNLV hero is nowhere near his ceiling. 

Whether or not everybody in the country knows his name will matter little.  Those who know basketball know about Mike. 

He has peace through confidence.  He talks little, and plays a lot.  He is quietly becoming a Giant.

Answer - Jay Raman

Mike Moser has proven to be a rebounding rock, and offensive dynamo this season for the Rebels. Coach Rice had said Moser would be an impact player, they were just surprised how quickly that materialized. With the accomplishments up to this point, the question is why has Mike Moser not gotten more NBA mention.

My opinion, is there are several reasons. First, UNLV has been a team that has sporadically been in the top 25 rankings over the last few seasons. This is clearly changing with the Runnin’ Rebels, as well as other teams in the MWC (SDSU, New Mexico) being nationally respected. Ranked teams get the headlines, and replays on national sports networks (ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports). The people who are create mock drafts, such as NBADraft.net, are looking with a limited eye. So, its really a matter of the rest of the United States becoming accustomed to UNLV being a great team now, not just twenty years ago. When that happens, a lot more people will watch UNLV basketball and say, damn that Moser kid can really play, he's the next (insert NBA player's name here).  Hopefully, actual NBA scouts are taking notice of Mike Moser and what he can bring to a team.

Second, the Rebels are a very deep team. Several players can produce 20 points in a given night, and several players can become a conference player of the week. This is an excellent set of circumstances as a team, but for Moser to stand out individually as a ‘dominant force’ who is clearly ready for the next level, short of this being Kentucky, Ohio State, or UNC people who look casually look at the Rebels from a national perspective don’t necessarily see Mike Moser being the scoring leader for the Rebels, or having to pile on 17+ppg and put the Rebels on his back to win games. It’s a simplistic view, but people need to look at the Rebels more like a UNC type of team – stacked with talent at multiple positions. Any given night the hot hand could belong to any one of the following guys, Stanback, Moser, Marshall, or Hawkins, and everyone else could pour in 15 points (Massamba, Thomas, Lopez, Bellfield, Smith, or Wallace if his 3 is hitting and gets minutes).

Sub question: When will he get the respect he's due, and will he be drafted next year?

Answer - Jason Taylor
Respect for Mike will grow steadily.  Whether or not he “tops” the national conversation will be determined only when his performances are consistently overwhelming, especially against top teams in the east.  

There is a good chance this may not happen.  He’ll help his team win and he’ll get progressively better.  He’ll have plenty more days where he’ll get attention, but that doesn’t seem to be his goal, which is good for him and the team.

My belief is that he’s on pace to go into the draft at the end of next year.  Could he enter this year?  Yes.  However, as long as his decisions remain consistent with his past and current trajectory, he’ll finish this year as MWC Newcomer of the Year, and maybe even MWC Player of the Year, and then come back to more often “overwhelm” next year. 

This path will create the greatest opportunities for him, I believe.   Beyond… A senior year would just be a gift from Moser to UNLV.  I don’t think anybody will expect him to play Santa.  Most fans will just be happy to see him here next year.

Answer - Jay Raman
What Makes Mike Moser an attractive NBA candidate is his NBA body, rebounding prowess, athleticism, and scoring ability. At 6’8” he’s the right size as a forward for the NBA, and all indications he has absorbed the game of basketball  from the plastic man, Stacey Augmon. While Mike Moser would improve with another year of study under Augmon and Coach Rice, his draft decision will likely be dictated by how he believes he will be drafted. My opinion is if he is a projected second-rounder, then he’ll come back for his junior season, but if the first round with nice guaranteed money – he’ll declare and make the national scene eat their words.
If Mike Moser stays, takes full advantage of some pickup ball with the NBA regulars that frequent Las Vegas in the summers, improves his shot a little, and puts on more muscle to help keep him a double double guy when he gets to the NBA, then we're talking lottery pick.

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