When Marvin Menzies took over the UNLV program less than two months ago, we knew he would have to work overtime in order to build a roster for next season. And no player is more indicative of that “no stone left unturned” approach than Jovan Mooring.
The coaches went way off the beaten path to recruit Mooring, a native of Chicago (originally from the high school Class of 2014) who put up incredible numbers at South Suburban CC last year. And because he played at the Division II level of junior college, it’s not easy to find much information on Mooring beyond the raw stats.
When I searched the internet for video footage of the 6-foot-2 guard, I found just one game available. It’s probably impossible to put together a true scouting report based on a single game, but I think we can learn a little bit about Mooring’s style and approach to the game when we combine the stats with the available game film.
For instance, we know from the numbers that Mooring was a dominant scorer last year. He posted 26.6 points per game in just 30.2 minutes, and he shot an efficient 49.1 percent from the field. But how does he create most of his offense? In the game I watched, Mooring was always on the attack, using aggressive dribble drives to slice through the defense. When he puts the ball on the floor, he uses his burly physique to turn the corner and then builds up speed quickly as he explodes toward the rim:
(Apologies for the video quality, this was the only available footage I could find.)
You can see similar traits when Mooring gets into the open court. He likes to attack in transition, where he uses a low dribble and quick changes of direction to weave his way through defenses before they can get set:
Mooring was spectacular when attacking the rim in the game I watched, but it remains to be seen how that skill will translate to the Division I level. There isn’t much size or rim protection in any of these clips, and the overall defensive intensity was definitely not up to par. He was also able to muscle smaller defenders out of the way, but his strength won’t be as much of a factor against DI athletes.
You don’t score 26 points per game entirely on layups, however, and Mooring does have some variety to his arsenal. South Suburban took advantage of his physicality by posting him up from time to time, and Mooring has a nice mid-range fadeaway jumper that he trusts. I saw him make that shot twice out of three attempts in the game I watched, and I also saw him pull up for a short floater, which he missed:
But the mid-range stuff was generally the third option in Mooring’s repertoire. Option No. 1 was always a drive to the rim, and option No. 2 was a 3-point shot. Mooring attempted a ton of 3-pointers last season and made 36.7 percent of them (99-of-270), which is a respectable rate. But when you see the type of 3’s Mooring attempts, you understand that the numbers are a bit deceptive.
Mooring has no conscience as a shooter. He attempts catch-and-shoot 3’s from a foot beyond the arc. He pulls up and launches 3’s in transition. And he shoots long, NBA-range 3’s off the dribble against 1-on-1 coverage with regularity. I’m guessing that South Suburban gave him the green light because the team needed offense, but the shot selection was ridiculous. If Mooring limits himself to shooting open jumpers in rhythm, I’m willing to bet his percentages would improve into the low-40s, at least:
Mooring missed all of his 3’s in the game I watched, but we know from the 36.7-percent number that he had success from beyond the arc over the course of the season. Chalk this up to a one-game game shooting slump and take some solace in the idea that if he took these kinds of shots on a regular basis and still made more than a third of them, his accuracy should only improve with better shot selection.
Most of Mooring’s impact came on the offensive end. In the game I saw, he wasn’t as enthusiastic about playing defense and often lost track of his man. He’s better in one-on-one coverage when defending a ball-handler because he stays focused, but his defense away from the ball will need to improve before he earns playing time for UNLV:
I’m not sure the Rebels are bringing Mooring on board to play defense, though. I think the coaches see a player who has an ultra-aggressive mindset, the ability to create off the dribble, and the potential to be a long-range bomber, and I think they want that kind of offensive potential on the roster, even if Mooring only projects as a fringe rotation player in 2016-17.
And who knows, if his skills actually translate against Mountain West competition, Menzies and his staff will be happy they veered off the map in order to unearth a player like Mooring.