Rebels basketball:

Countdown to tip-off: Moser’s back, and UNLV expects him to be better than ever

The week leading up to UNLV’s first regular season game, the Sun will highlight one Rebel each day. Today: junior Mike Moser

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Sam Morris

UNLV Runnin’ Rebel Mike Moser

UNLV Runnin' Rebel MIke Moser

UNLV forward Mike Moser reacts after his dunk late in the Rebels game against USC at the Las Vegas Invitational Friday, Nov. 25, 2011 at the Orleans Arena. UNLV won 66-55. Launch slideshow »

Mike Moser is the embodiment of UNLV's 2011-12 basketball season. He burst onto the scene early in the season, but down the stretch, he seemed like a shell of his former self.

That beginning, and the potential of his athleticism, was enough to entice NBA scouts to the point that the junior — who at 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, with a long wingspan and a knack for grabbing rebounds — nearly spent just one season at UNLV. After looking over his options, though, Moser decided to stay for one more year. UNLV coach Dave Rice joked he would kick Moser out the door at the end of this season if he even considered coming back for his senior year.

Like point guard Anthony Marshall, Moser is going to be in a different position this year. He often played on the perimeter last year, particularly down the stretch, but that will now be his primary spot as the small forward. The additions of Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch, plus the depth with Carlos Lopez-Sosa and Quintrell Thomas, make this move logical, not only because it helps Moser prepare for the NBA, but it also gives the Rebels a distinct size advantage at the three-spot.

A first-team all-league pick who’s been mentioned as a potential All-American, Moser will be the focal point of opponents’ defensive schemes. His development from a stellar sophomore season and production in the second half of the season will be crucial.

Vitals

Ht	Wt	Yr	Pos.	Major

6-8	210	RS Jr	SF	Interdisciplinary Studies

How he got to UNLV

A native of Portland, Ore., Moser was a top-50 player, according to scout.com, when he committed to UCLA. He appeared in 15 games as a true freshman in 2009-10 and wanted to find another situation. In UNLV, he found a place that offered playing time and the opportunity to play on the perimeter, where he’s projected to be as a pro.

Box score stats

Yr	GP-GS	Min	FG%	3FG%	FT%	Rbs	Ast	TO	Stl	Pts

11-12	35-34	31.4	45	33.1	78	10.5	80	102	68	14

09-10*	15-0	4.7	20	9.1	0	0.5	4	12	3	0.6

Advanced stats (via kenpom.com)

Yr	%Min	ORtg	%Poss	%Shots	eFG%	TS%	OR%	DR%	ARate	TORate

11-12	77.1	101.2	25	25.7	50.4	53.7	9.5	28.1	14.8	21.4

*Moser didn’t participate enough as a freshman at UCLA to calculate his advanced stats.

What they’re saying

"Their front line is as good an any in the country. It starts with Mike Moser, who was named to the nbcsports.com Preseason All-American Second Team. ... Moser is one of the most talented combo-forwards in the country."

NBC Sports

"A lock to go for 15 and 10 every night last season, Moser has more help in the frontcourt this season. The former UCLA transfer decided to return to school for his junior season — and could end up as a first-team All-American."

CBS Sports

"Moser is a pro. He's too much the ideal small forward archetype — 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, plus leaping, versatility and rangy defense — not to eventually wind up playing small forward at the next level."

ESPN

Rice’s take

“Mike had a terrific year last year and has worked so hard in the offseason, setting him up to have an even better year. It starts with effort and rebounding with him, but he’s got a lot of other aspects to his game that are important to our team.”

In his own words

"I feel like I just got better and added a lot of different skills this summer that just allow me to do some things a little easier. I don’t feel like I need to fix too much because what worked last year worked last year. I plan to shoot the ball better and limit turnovers but other than that I’m going to play the exact same way. Intensity on the boards and pushing the tempo, plus a lot better defensively."

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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