Mike Moser grabbing rebounds, making big plays for UNLV basketball

When the Rebels host Canisius tonight, the 6-foot-8 Moser’s athleticism will again be on display

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Sam Morris

UNLV forward Mike Moser collects a rebound against Nevada-Reno during their game Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 71-67.

When the UNLV basketball team runs sprints during practice, sophomore forward Mike Moser typically finishes first.

His first two games with the Rebels have been the same way, with the 6-foot-8 forward from Portland, Ore., using his athleticism and energy to make an immediate impact on both sides of the court, especially when on the fast break in transition.

In the season opener last Friday against Grand Canyon, the UCLA transfer had one of the team’s best performances in scoring 16 points and grabbing 20 rebounds — the most boards for a UNLV player since 2005. He was limited to 23 minutes Monday against Nevada-Reno with foul trouble, but still led the Rebels with 11 rebounds and is fourth nationally with 15.5 rebounds per game.

He’ll look to continue those efforts Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Rebels host Canisius (1-1), beginning a stretch of three games in six days at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Moser has thrived in first-year coach Dave Rice’s up-tempo offense, taking advantage of his quickness up the court to make an impact in transition. On some plays, he grabs the rebound, takes a few steps with his long strides and is on other side of court looking to score.

“He is such a hard worker. He is so competitive and really driven to be as good a player as he can be,” Rice said. “For as well as he is playing for us right now, he has just scratched the surface with his potential. We think he can have a great career as a Runnin’ Rebel.”

While the athleticism and talent are obvious each time he touches the ball, Moser will be the first to admit he’s far from a finished product. At times, he’s out of control when dribbling up the court or to the basket, and knows there is a fine line between playing at an up-tempo and dribbling recklessly.

“Coach Rice is always on me about being in control,” Moser said. “It’s hard to guard when you have a guy 6-foot-8 grabbing a rebounds and taking two dribbles to the other arc. It’s important for me to be under control and make good decisions.”

Moser also has to work on his jumper, misfiring on four attempts from 3-point range in the first two games and missing the basket altogether on a jumper late against Nevada-Reno. Moser knows a majority of his points will come from inside the paint, but is equally confident he can contribute from the outside.

“I’m comfortable from anywhere on the court,” he said.

He’s obviously even more comfortable grabbing rebounds. Just like the sprints during practice, Moser’s competitiveness takes over when going for the ball and he won’t be denied.

“It’s just a mentality I have to going after every (rebound),” Moser said. “As soon as the ball is in the air, I know that is my ball, that is my rebound. It’s something that comes easy to me. I will always be able to bring rebounding to the team. It’s something easy to control unlike your shot, which could be off one day.”

Rice gave the team Tuesday off following the Nevada-Reno win before returning to practice Wednesday to prepare for Canisius, which is led by junior guard Harold Washington. Washington scored 30 points Tuesday in an 87-83 victory against Longwood and Alshwan Hymes finished with 24 points, including connecting on five 3-pointers.

It should be a high-scoring affair with both teams strategy to push the ball in transition.

“Canisius has really good guards,” Rice said. “They drive the ball extremely well and get the to free throw line. They will push the ball in transition.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. Moser is playing totally out of control right now, but it's been two years since he has played, and let's face it- the guy is excited. I think by mid season he will have slowed the game down- this guy will be the best player the Rebs have had in years.