LITTLE ROCK — He’s yet to hit the floor as an Arkansas Razorback, but the NBA buzz that already surrounds guard Moses Moody — should he come out after his soon-to-be freshman season for the 2021 draft — is real.
The latest proof of concept that Moody (6-foot-6 with 7-0.5 wingspan, 200 pounds, shooting guard, Little Rock native) will be selected in the first round comes from Jonathan Wasserman, the lead NBA scout/draft writer for BleacherReport.com, who on Friday released his 2021 NBA mock draft that has Moody sitting pretty at No. 11 overall in the first round (https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2892388-2021-nba-mock-draft-way-too-soon-1st-round-predictions).
That’s not just a first-round draft projection, folks, that would mean the NBA draft lottery for those of you scoring at home (first 14 selections represent the lottery picks).
Moody, who starred for undefeated, national No. 1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) in 2019-20, is currently projected to go No. 20 overall by DraftSite.com and No. 29 overall by ESPN / NBADraftExpress — examples of two more mock drafts that have lined up first-round projections for Moody.
Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle has sent many players to the first-round of the NBA, including several Top 3 draft-lottery picks. He believes in Moody’s long-term future as a college player and a pro.
“Moses is a great person, student, and shooter,” Boyle said in a recent interview. “He is starting to become an excellent all-around player and will be a future (NBA) first-round pick. He is automatic from beyond the NBA three. He has added the ability to use screens to get quick threes and the step-back jumper to get space in either direction.”
For some inexplicable reason, Moody tumbled out of national Top 25 / 5-star prospect status over the past season — that’s if you believe the national recruiting services — but from this vantage point having seen him compete in person against the top competition in the country spanning the last three years, there are not 15 players in the 2020 class that are better than Moody.
In other words, he’s worthy of 5-star prospect status.
And when you look at recent results, it would seem second-year Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman is on a roll helping his players get ready for the next level.
The Martin twins — 6-5 guards Caleb and Cody — made strong NBA contributions as rookies in 2019-20 relative to expectations coming out of Nevada where they played for Musselman; 6-5 guard Mason Jones just wrapped up an unprecedented offensive season while earning Co-SEC Player of the Year and honorable mention All American recognition at Arkansas in Musselman’s first season as coach, and now he’s moving up some 2020 NBA Draft big boards; and 6-5 guard Isaiah Joe is currently testing the 2020 NBA Draft waters with multiple projections for the early-to-mid second round should he choose to remain in the draft.
Are we getting the first glimpses of a trend that the Muss Bus is picking up versatile players and dropping them off at the NBA’s front door ready to go? It’s an early work in progress, but so far so good.
In Musselman’s five seasons as a college head coach — four at Nevada and one at Arkansas — he’s not had a one-and-done player (i.e. a freshman transitioning to the NBA).
That could change with Moody, who committed to Arkansas in early November before signing his letter of intent with the Hogs on April 17. Rated No. 42 in ESPN’s Top 100 for the class of 2020, Moody is the highest-ESPN-ranked recruit to sign with the University of Arkansas men’s basketball program since 2013 (Bobby Portis, No. 16).
His senior numbers at Montverde — the Eagles boast four 2020 prospects that have 2021 NBA Draft first-round projections — were impressive. Moody was arguably the best two-way (offense and defense) on the squad.
* Moody was third on the team in scoring (11.6 points per game), but he led Montverde guards and was second on the team in effective field goal percentage (70.8%) and led the team in free throw percentage (82.6%)
* Known as a 3-point shooter, Moody delivered making 38-of-81 for 46.9% from distance (led all guards), which is elite-level shooting efficiency.
* With mid-range and around-the-cup scoring identified as a couple of areas that Moody needed to improve, he did just that shooting a blistering 71.1% from inside the arc, which was second-best on the team while leading all guards.
* Moody’s overall field-goal shooting of 60.1% was tops among guards and third on the team.
* Moody finished with a respectable 2.2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging less than a turnover per game backed up his improvement as a ball-handler.
* On a squad with a big, physical backcourt, Moody led the way with 30 offensive rebounds.
* Defensively — and this is a part of the game where Moody has been underrated and under-appreciated — he was a reliable stopper as he had 31 steals (second among the guards), 25 deflections (second among the guards), 16 blocks (second on the team and led all backcourt players), and 4 drawn charges (led the team).
“Some of the things that I really improved the most on this year were a lot of intangible things,” Moody said in a recent interview. “Just being on the team with the depth that we had, I found out how to play a role and how to be comfortable in that role. Having to sacrifice to win games, and I feel like it worked, everybody really bought into the system and we accomplished the most that we could have. That’s a big thing that a lot of people don’t really value as much.
“There’s great players in the NBA — you don’t make it in the NBA if you’re not a great basketball player — but everybody has different roles, and that’s how they make it work. So, I feel like that was something that was really testing me going into Montverde and going into the season that we had.”
To read more about Moses Moody’s basketball journey that has led him to the Arkansas Razorbacks, click the link for my feature story that was published here at Hogville.net on April 5, 2020 …https://forums.hogville.net/index.php?topic=713382.0