LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas star and SEC Freshman of the Year Moses Moody just completed one of the most memorable seasons in Razorbacks history, and he added a final chapter to his brief-but-stellar college career on Friday by announcing he’s leaving school early to hire an agent and declare for the 2021 NBA Draft, making Moody the first ever one-and-done in the Arkansas men’s basketball program.
Moody (6-foot-6 shooting guard, Little Rock native) made his announcement on national television Friday afternoon via ESPN2’s The Jump. Moody is widely projected as a first-round lottery pick (among the first 14 selections) in the upcoming draft slated for July 29. The NBA Draft Combine will run June 21-27.
“After prayer, talking to my family, careful consideration, and being this close to a lifelong dream, I have decided to hire an agent and enter my name into the 2021 NCA draft,” Moody said.
Moody — his 539 points in 2020-21 fell just one point shy of tying Hogs icon Scotty Thurman for the school record for most points scored by a freshman in a single season — is looking to become the first Arkansas player drafted immediately following his freshman season. He’ll be only the sixth Arkansas underclassman this century to be drafted immediately after leaving school early, joining Joe Johnson (2001), Ronnie Brewer, Jr. (2006), Bobby Portis (2015), Daniel Gafford (2019), and Isaiah Joe (2020).
Here are some of the latest projections for Moody’s draft position: No. 6, Lines.com; No. 7, The Athletic (Sam Vecenie); No. 7, NBADraft.net; No. 9, USA Today / Rookie Wire; No. 12, Sports Illustrated; No. 12, CBSSports.com; and No. 21 (list of best available draft prospects), ESPN / Draft Express (Jonathan Givony).
One NBA scout recently told Hogville.net that Moody “looks like a top 15 pick, should be in the lottery.”
Moody is long (7-foot wingspan) with broad shoulders on his 6-6, 205-pound frame. He’s a consistent volume scorer who does not have to be a volume shot-taker to put points on the board. Moody is a good three-point shooter who is effective in the mid-range because of his ability to get to his spots while using his length to shoot over defenders, and his ability to draw contact and get to the free throw line was elite in ’20-21. A plus-rebounder from the backcourt and a better-than-advertised defender, Moody plays a team-first-not-me-first brand of unselfish basketball that made him a star in the SEC and one of the best players in the nation.
One of only four freshmen in Division 1 basketball to average 15-plus-points and 5-plus-rebounds in 2020-21, Moody started in all 32 games and led Arkansas in scoring at 16.8 points per contest (3rd in the SEC) and he was second on the team in rebounding at 5.8 boards per outing (3rd among SEC guards) while leading the 6th/10th-ranked Razorbacks (25-7) to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight for the program’s best run in the Big Dance in 26 years.
Moody was named SEC Freshman of the Year by the league and SEC Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press, and he was named to the All SEC first team by both the AP and the league. He was also named AP Honorable Mention All American. Additionally, Moody was named SEC Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year in the Pig Trail Nation / Hogville.net postseason awards announced on March 7. He was also an All American second team pick by NCAA.com’s Andy Katz as part of his March Madness postseason awards list. He was named an NABC District 20 first team all district selection as well as making the USBWA all district team.
“That’s good to be recognized for a lot of that,” Moody said from the NCAA tournament bubble in Indianapolis just a few days prior to the Hogs’ NCAAT first-round game against Colgate on March 19. “But when it comes down to it — like individual awards — that’s all cool, but I’m here for the confetti. I’m trying to get those team victories.”
Moody and the Razorbacks defeated Colgate (85-68), Texas Tech (68-66), and Oral Roberts (72-70) to advance to the Elite Eight (a.k.a. the South Region finals) where they lost to eventual national champion Baylor, 81-72, on March 29. It was the deepest NCAAT run by a Hog team since the ’94-95 national runner-up squad that featured two-time SEC Player of the Year and All American Corliss Williamson, a junior forward who left school early following that NCAAT to enter the 1995 NBA Draft in which he was a lottery pick (selected No. 13 overall by the Sacramento Kings).
“We fully support Moses and his family in the decision to enter the NBA Draft,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said via media release on Friday. :We were excited last spring when they trusted us to continue his basketball journey. I’ve said it many times that Moses handles his day-to-day business like a pro and he will be ahead of the curve when he starts his professional career. Moses was able to showcase his many talents in our system – including being our leading scorer and second-best rebounder – and we believe he continued to make improvements throughout the year to put himself in this position. We will continue to work with Moses and his family as well as do all we can with our connections in professional basketball to promote Moses.”
In addition to his 16.8 points and 5.8 rebounds, Moody averaged 1.6 assists and 1.0 steal in a team-leading 33.8 minutes per game while shooting 42.7% from the field, including 58-of-162 from 3 for 35.8%, and 81.2% from the free throw line. His 151 made free throws were 5th most among all Division 1 players. Moody scored 20-plus points nine times, including four games of scoring a career-high 28 points. Moody also registered a double-double (18 points and 10 rebounds against Missouri).
Moody was a consensus national Top 50 prospect in high school as he finished the final two seasons of his career at prestigious Montverde Academy (Fla.), helping his team to a national No. 1 ranking and a perfect 25-0 record as a senior in ’19-20. As a sophomore in ’17-18, Moody was named Arkansas 7A state title game MVP after leading the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats over Fort Smith Northside for the state championship. As a freshman in ’16-17, Moody was a key contributor on a Little Rock Parkview squad loaded with Division 1 players that advanced to the Arkansas 6A state championship game.