As part of our season wrap-up, we’ll be going through the Rebels’ roster one by one and assigning grades for each player, based on their performance this season. We’ll start with the guys who won’t be back next year, and then work our way up to the returning players in the coming weeks.
Today’s entry is forward Mike Moser, a former program cornerstone who will be transferring elsewhere for his senior season.
REBELS REPORT CARD
Player: Mike Moser
Stats: 28 games, 21.3 minutes, 7.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 36.9 FG%, 26.7 3FG%
Expectations: Here’s where everything started to go downhill. Before the season even began, the hype was building for the Mike Moser-Anthony Bennett-Khem Birch trio being the best frontcourt in the country, and I bought into the possibility myself. There seemed to be a general assumption that Moser could seamlessly move from power forward to small forward and still impact the game the way he did as a sophomore, when he posted 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. Moser put off the NBA draft to come back for his junior year, and he even made some preseason All-America teams. So you could say that expectations were high.
Performance: In hindsight, asking Moser to change positions and put up All-America numbers was simply unfair. He’s just not suited to play on the perimeter, and he struggled in that role from the opening tip of the season. His offensive numbers fell off a cliff, as he went from being a super-efficient scorer as a sophomore to someone who hurt the team on offense as a junior. Only 28 percent of his shots came around the rim this season, compared to 33 percent last year; Moser instead took more 2-point jumpers (a whopping 42 percent of his attempts came on mid-range jump shots, aka the least efficient shot in basketball) and made just 26 percent of those shots. The numbers scream “this guy is playing out of position,” but there was no alternative — not with Anthony Bennett owning power forward.
And once the injuries started to pile up — first a preseason hip injury that lingered, then the gruesome dislocated elbow that knocked him out for four weeks — it really turned into a nightmare season for Moser. There were a few brief stretches where he seemed to regain his energy, but he could never sustain the momentum for more than a game or a half. Off the court, Moser seemed unhappy for most of the year, and the team announced after the season that he’ll be transferring for 2013-14.
Final Grade: D+
It’s hard to speculate about the reasons for his transfer, but put yourself in Moser’s shoes: He put off the NBA to return to school, only to lose his starting position to a freshman (albeit a spectacular freshman). He then suffered a string of injuries that sapped his athleticism, and even when he was at full strength, he was out of position and unable to come close to matching his numbers from the previous season. He went from being a potential first-round NBA draft pick to someone who will probably have to play a few seasons overseas before he gets a shot in the league. That’s gotta wear on a guy mentally.
But from a grading perspective, we’ve got to look at performance, and Moser didn’t measure up this season. It would have been ridiculous to say this before the season, but I don’t think it will be difficult to replace him in 2013-14. Give him credit for jump-starting the Dave Rice era, but Moser’s final season at UNLV left a lot to be desired.
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