Moses Kingsley’s scoring numbers have dropped from 16 points per game as a junior to just 10 points per game six contests into his senior season. So what’s going on with the SEC’s pre season player of the year?
The popular view centers on Arkansas’ influx of new guards who supposedly have not yet learned to find Kingsley with the ball. Thursday night, for instance, he put up just one shot from the floor in the first half against Stephen F. Austin, a badly off target air ball.
But head coach Mike Anderson has a different theory on Kingsley’s scoring woes.
“He’s got to make multiple efforts to get the ball. He’s a target,” Anderson emphasized. “They’re going to make him work. This is a learning curve for him especially being in that position where you’re the target. They’re going to come at you, man. So you got to figure it out.”
Against the Lumberjacks Kingsley did figure it out after the break going four for four from the floor while scoring 10 second half points to finish with 12.
“He should have been doing that in the first half,” Anderson said of Kingsley’s increased productivity. “His first basket in the second half was on a stick back. He made a great effort to go get it.”
Kingsley acknowledged that he’s a little bit concerned about the drop in his scoring average but not much. Looking at his stats following the SFA game, Kingsley was heard to whisper, “Zero blocks,” in reference to his concern that he was shut out in that category.
As for his scoring woes, Kingsley told reporters, “I’m working. It’s not like I’m just sitting on my butt. We won. That’s what matters. I guess I could say that I’m worried but I’m not really, really worried. It’s not like we’re losing every game. It’s not that much of a big deal. If I keep working like I am the scoring is going to come.”
Teammate Dusty Hannahs has been dealing with a shooting slump of his own but he’s not worried about Kingsley. Hannahs said he would only be concerned if he noticed something different about Kingsley’s game.
“I’m watching him still do the same things he’s been doing since I’ve been around him,” Hannahs stressed. “I started playing with Moses in the eleventh grade or tenth grade. It’s been the same thing. I know once the competition rises he’s also going to rise. It’s coming.”
Kingsley did admit that he played with more passion at times last season, something he showed in the second half against the Lumberjacks.
“I have to play with with more passion,” he acknowledged. “I love the game but I don’t go all crazy and stuff just because I made a play. But coach (Anderson) told me, ‘Sometimes it’s okay to show a little emotion.’ “
“We had a good visit about that,” Anderson affirmed. “You got to play with that zest. A lot of times as Moses goes so goes our team. They follow his lead. When he came out in the second half and he tipped that ball it got contagious with our guys.”