Rebels basketball:

UNLV’s Moser says he will transfer to Oregon

The junior forward and former leading scorer thanks UNLV for changing his life but opts to go closer to home

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Mike Moser wears the team’s new hoodie before the start of their Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game against New Mexico Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Mike Moser

UNLV Runnin' Rebel Mike Moser Launch slideshow »

After thanking UNLV for changing his life, Mike Moser is prepared to say goodbye.

Moser will transfer to Oregon, the junior forward told the Sun Tuesday afternoon. The Portland, Ore., native was considering Oregon, Washington and Gonzaga. He called all three of those coaches to tell them the news.

“It’s the choice because it’s home,” Moser said. “That’s going to be awesome. I got to know coach (Dana) Altman pretty well in the past month or so.”

Moser said once he made it known he would seek a transfer, almost every school in the country reached out, including North Carolina, Indiana, Texas. Even UCLA, where he started his career as a freshman in 2009-10, contacted him. Moser had played for then-coach Ben Howland and although he knows a member of Steve Alford’s coaching staff he said felt better with schools in the northwest.

Moser led UNLV in points (14 per game) and rebounds (10.5) as a sophomore when he burst onto the national scene. After that year, which included first-team All-Mountain West honors, he nearly left for the NBA draft before deciding to return for what he and the coaching staff deemed his “senior” season.

Things didn’t turn out as planned as Moser took on a more secondary role and then suffered a dislocated elbow at Cal on Dec. 9. There were flashes after that, including 20 first-half points at UNR, but he was never quite the same.

He finished the season averaging 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 21.3 minutes per game. He appeared in 28 of the 35 games, making 17 starts.

“I feel like it’s complicated, to be honest,” Moser said on why he decided to leave. “Part of it I’d say was the way the year ended for me personally. Overall it was more trying to make a change for myself and get back close to home.”

Moser transferred in for Lon Kruger but played only for Dave Rice, who said he wishes Moser well at his next stop.

"We appreciate all that Mike has done for our program," Rice said. "He has worked hard academically and is scheduled to graduate this summer. We wish him all the best."

The Rebels already have his scholarship filled with five newcomers replacing the three seniors, Moser and NBA-bound Anthony Bennett, who we learned earlier Tuesday is about to undergo rotator cuff surgery.

Even though he’s leaving early, Moser said he’s loved his time in Las Vegas. He’s still here, too, finishing up classes and working out at the Mendenhall Center, Impact Academy and anywhere else he can find a game.

“UNLV changed my life,” Moser said. “I’m so appreciative of coach (Dave) Rice and the community. From Day One this place felt like home as much as it can. I’ve got to thank the fans and him for that.”

Click to enlarge photo

UNLV forward Mike Moser dunks on San Diego State forward Garrett Green during their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 65-63.

Moser won't have to sit out because of an NCAA rule that allows players to transfer to another program and play immediately as long as they enroll in a grad program not offered at their first institution. Moser is done on campus in May and then has one online class to finish before he can officially become a Duck.

The pull to stay in Oregon wasn’t nearly as strong coming out of high school in part, Moser said, because he didn’t have as much of an attachment with Ernie Kent, the Ducks’ coach from 1997-2010.

Altman went to Oregon after a long and successful run at Creighton. In three years he’s had multiple postseason victories in first the CBI, then the NIT and last year the Ducks made the Sweet Sixteen before losing to eventual national champion Louisville. Earlier in the year the Ducks came to the Thomas & Mack Center and beat the Rebels by four.

Oregon had three senior forwards on last year’s roster, leaving a void Moser will help fill as a stretch four.

“There’s a role for me to come in and play big minutes, be a focal point,” Moser said. “I’m looking forward to doing that.”

The Ducks also added one prep and one junior college forward in their incoming class. Moser will be the fourth player on the roster with ties to Las Vegas. Bishop Gorman grad Johnathan Loyd will be a senior while fellow Gael Ben Carter and Findlay Prep product Dominic Artis will both be sophomores.

In order to make another impression on NBA scouts, Moser needs minutes that likely weren’t going to be available at UNLV. With this change he’ll have that chance.

“It’s another opportunity to show scouts I’m healthy and I can play,” Moser said.

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

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  1. We wish you luck Mike. No one should ever begrudge someone the chance to finish out a college career closer to home if that is the wish. You had a great initial year and hopefully you will be able to play closer to the basket instead of floating around the arc. Inside the arc is where your strength is. We wish you well

  2. Congrats to Mike and to Oregon. Looking at the two arenas (Oregon's new Matthew Knight center compared to Washington's antiquated Alaska Airlines arena) one can't question his decision. Wonder what happened to the done deal to Washington? Perhaps it would not be wise to count your chickens, Wash U fans) before they hatch. Isn't UNLV scheduled to play Oregon this year as a return game for their game this past year at The Mack?

  3. It's also good of Coach Rice and UNLV to pay for Moser's schooling during the summer, even though they know he was leaving. It should help further in recruiting. See Matthew Painter and Purdue- http://collegebasketballtalk.nbcsports.c....

    What will happen to Mozilla? Perhaps a trade for some of the amenities at their new arena?

  4. I wish Mike Moser good luck at Oregon. I won't forget the 2012-13 season and how good he was that year. As for the Purdue story above, I don't get why coaches get so bitter. That's life. People are always looking for new opportunities. As long as people give you everything they have when they're with you, what do you have to complain about?

  5. Not sure why he's not going to play pro ball overseas. Hard to see another year in college - another year getting older - will help him get to the NBA.

    Either way, wish him well and wish him the very best of health.

  6. He left because he had no class and no playing time. Anyone that would transfer to a team that knocked him out of the tournament is a PUNK!

  7. Good luck, Mike! Now his family will get to see him play most of his home games, and he will be able to showcase his skills front and center...it's a good fit. Btw, Ray, Cal knocked us out of the NCAA tournament, but Oregon did beat the Rebs at the Rebels' tournament over Thanksgiving. I'm guessing that local tournament is what you're talking about, right? Must be, otherwise you wouldn't be looking too bright right about now...

    4 Vegas kids (ties), looks like the Ducks will be my second team to watch.

  8. I'm not mad a Moser for his choices, but I don't like him for them either. That's just the Rebel love above all else.

  9. 4unlv - I was! and anyone who says my second team never had a 1st team to begin with. Typical Vegas Fan! YOU should be pissed when any top local talent bolts, but you support it. Probably in the, Well Vegas has so much to do they cant hope to sell out a Basketball or Football game, crowd. NOTHING for families to do here! Your all to busy Smoking pot and drinking beer to get off your butts and do anything, hell half of you do not even know where your kids are.

  10. Ray, Ray, Ray, calm down, my man. For baseball my first team is the Cubs. Please don't tell me I can't have a second team--I need something to mitigate the pain and suffering.

    Oh, and let's get the record straight--I don't like beer and pot...I prefer wine with mine.
    ~~
    Good luck, Mike, hope this is a comeback year for you and it leads to an NBA nibble, at least.

  11. Thanks for coming to UNLV, Mike, and I had a great time watching you flourish after UCLA. Oregon should be a good fit and I hope to see you in the NBA someday.

  12. wow, ray, easy there...although i have a few 'second' teams that i watch with interest, i've been a rebel fan since before tarkanian ever got here, when we could walk into the convention center and sit wherever we wanted...you think because you can spit that stuff out that you're a better rebel fan than any of the rest of us? i've watched these kids for a few years now, and though i wish they had all come to unlv, i will cheer for them any time they are not playing the rebels...moser included...and i don't drink, i don't smoke, i don't do drugs, i go to work, my kids are grown up, my son was hurt in iraq while serving you, and my daughter goes to unlv full time and works at the paris about 30 hours per week...anything else?

  13. oh, and long time season ticket holder.