College players may not get paid, but dollar signs are definitely on the line for Mike Moser.
During his sophomore season, Moser led a surprise UNLV team to a 24-9 record and a sixth seed in the NCAA tournament while averaging 14 points and 10.5 rebounds. After the season, many draft experts predicted him to be a first round pick. However, he opted to play another year for the runnin rebels.
After a year of injury problems and playing with a future number one pick who happened to also be a stretch four, Moser fell of the NBA radar.
Last Spring, Moser considered making the leap to the NBA, but held back likely because he either would’ve been a late second round pick or not drafted at all.
At Oregon, Moser has had the opportunity to prove that he is a desirable NBA prospect once more.
This season, Moser has failed to improve upon his play sophomore year. While he has proven to be a more handy outside shooter, his rebounding rate has declined exponentially. Despite playing for a team with no one else to carry the load on the boards, Moser is averaging three less rebounds per 40 minutes than he did as a sophomore. Plus he is averaging .9 less steals and .7 less assists per game.
But most importantly, he hasn’t proven to scouts that he wouldn’t be a defensive liability guarding bigger and stronger power forwards in the NBA. Moser has not been much better than the rest of his defensively challenged teammates this year. He’s consistently played average on ball defense while not protecting the rim effectively. Moser had 3.1 defensive win shares his first year at UNLV. This year, he’s just .8.
According to Draftexpress.com, Moser is the 31st ranked senior in the 2014 NBA Draft class. In 2013, 18 seniors were selected in the draft.
Suffice it to say, the one time potential first round pick finds himself on the outside looking in.
Moser may end up as a precautionary tale for all highly touted underclassmen, but if he can show that he can really get after it defensively and improve his rebounding, who knows, maybe David Stern, or more realistically, Adam Silver will call his name in June.