LITTLE ROCK — Former Arkansas star and the 2020-21 SEC Freshman of the Year Moses Moody is on a fast track to the NBA as the first one-and-done in the history of Razorbacks men’s basketball, and the next step in his hoops journey is a trip to Chicago next week for the 2021 NBA Draft Combine (June 21-27).
Moody’s combine invitation was first reported by Hogville.net on June 8, and since then the complete list of combine invitees has been released revealing approximately 70 draft-eligible players expected to participate in the annual platform for recording player measurables, medical testing, media interviews, tests for athleticism and agility, shooting drills, and live, full-contact 5-on-5 competition.
It’s a big stage for top-shelf players vying to be among the 60 selections spanning the two rounds of the fast-approaching NBA Draft, which will be held July 29 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Moody (6-foot-6 shooting guard, Little Rock native) becomes the fifth former Hog in the last four years to be invited to the combine, joining Mason Jones (2020), Isaiah Joe (2020), Daniel Gafford (2019), and Jaylen Barford (2018).
It’s unclear at this time whether or not Moody will participate in all of the combine activities that will be available. It’s also unknown if Moody has scheduled any individual or pro day workouts with teams, although it’s likely he will.
After completing one of the most memorable seasons in Razorbacks history three months ago, Moody put a bow on his brief college career in early April when he announced to an ESPN national television audience that he was leaving school early to hire an agent and declare for the 2021 NBA Draft.
“After prayer, talking to my family, careful consideration, and being this close to a lifelong dream, I have decided to hire an agent and enter my name in the 2021 NBA draft,” Moody said during his announcement.
Moody would go on to hire the renowned Klutch Sports Group to represent him — Klutch represents NBA stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Draymond Green among others — and by late April Moody had moved to Los Angeles to begin draft preparations.
Moody is widely projected as a first-round lottery pick (among the first 14 selections), and if it plays out that way he’ll be the first former Razorback to be selected among the first 14 picks since Ronnie Brewer, Jr., was selected 14th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2006 draft. The only other former Arkansas player to be selected in the lottery-pick range this century was Joe Johnson, who went at No. 10 to the Boston Celtics in the 2001 draft. Bobby Portis was the last Razorback to be drafted in the first round, as he was selected No. 22 overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2015.
Moody will also become only the sixth Arkansas underclassman this century to be drafted immediately after leaving school early, joining Johnson, Brewer, Portis, Gafford, and Joe. Moody will give Arkansas an NBA draft pick for the third consecutive year (Gafford and Joe).
“He should go anywhere from 6 to 15, but I think he’ll be a lottery pick,” was the recent assessment of one NBA scout. “He’s a shooter, a smart player, and he scores within the flow (of the offense).”
Indeed, many NBA mock drafts concur with that draft projection: Lines.com has Moody off the board at No. 6 overall; NBADraft.net has him at No. 8; CBS Sports’ has him at No. 10; NBC Sports projects him to go at No. 11; Tankathon.com has him at No. 12; The Ringer projects him at No. 15; and ESPN/Draft Express has him at No. 18.
A huge factor in draft selection for Moody and others is the order of the lottery picks, which will be sorted out on Tuesday (June 22).
Moody is long (7-foot wingspan) with broad shoulders on his 6-6, 215-pound frame. He’s a consistent volume scorer who does not have to be a volume shot-taker to put points on the board. Moody is a good three-point shooter who is effective in the mid-range because of his ability to get to his spots while using his length to shoot over defenders, and his ability to draw contact and get to the free throw line was elite in ’20-21. A plus-rebounder from the backcourt and a better-than-advertised defender, Moody plays a team-first-not-me-first brand of unselfish basketball that made him a star in the SEC and one of the best players in the nation.
One of only three freshmen in Division 1 basketball to average 15-plus-points and 5-plus-rebounds in ’20-21, Moody started in all 32 games and led Arkansas in scoring at 16.8 points per contest (3rd in the SEC) and he was second on the team in rebounding at 5.8 boards per outing (3rd among SEC guards) while leading the 6th/10th-ranked Razorbacks (25-7) to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight for the program’s best run in the Big Dance in 26 years.
Moody also averaged 1.6 assists and 1.0 steal in a team-leading 33.8 minutes per game while shooting 42.7% from the field, including 58-of-162 from 3 for 35.8%, and 81.2% from the free throw line. His 151 made free throws were 5th most among all Division 1 players. Moody scored 20-plus points nine times, including four games of scoring a career-high 28 points. Moody also registered a double-double (18 points and 10 rebounds against Missouri).
His 539 points fell just one point shy of tying Hogs icon Scotty Thurman for the school record for most points scored by a freshman in a single season.
Moody was named SEC Freshman of the Year by the league and SEC Newcomer of the Year by the Associated Press, and he was named to the All SEC first team by both the AP and the league. He was also named AP Honorable Mention All American. Additionally, Moody was named SEC Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year in the Pig Trail Nation / Hogville.net postseason awards announced on March 7. He was also an All American second team pick by NCAA.com’s Andy Katz as part of his March Madness postseason awards list. He was named an NABC District 20 first team all district selection as well as making the USBWA all district team.
“That’s good to be recognized for a lot of that,” Moody said from the NCAA tournament bubble in Indianapolis just a few days prior to the Hogs’ NCAAT first-round game against Colgate on March 19. “But when it comes down to it — like individual awards — that’s all cool, but I’m here for the confetti. I’m trying to get those team victories.”
Moody and the Razorbacks defeated Colgate (85-68), Texas Tech (68-66), and Oral Roberts (72-70) to advance to the Elite Eight (a.k.a. the South Region finals) where they lost to eventual national champion Baylor, 81-72, on March 29. It was the deepest NCAAT run by a Hog team since the ’94-95 national runner-up squad that featured two-time SEC Player of the Year and All American Corliss Williamson, a junior forward who left school early following that NCAAT to enter the 1995 NBA Draft in which he was a lottery pick (selected No. 13 overall by the Sacramento Kings).
“We fully support Moses and his family in the decision to enter the NBA Draft,” Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman said via media release in early April. “We were excited last spring when they trusted us to continue his basketball journey. I’ve said it many times that Moses handles his day-to-day business like a pro and he will be ahead of the curve when he starts his professional career. Moses was able to showcase his many talents in our system – including being our leading scorer and second-best rebounder – and we believe he continued to make improvements throughout the year to put himself in this position. We will continue to work with Moses and his family as well as do all we can with our connections in professional basketball to promote Moses.”
Moody was a consensus national Top 50 prospect in high school as he finished the final two seasons of his career at prestigious Montverde Academy (Fla.), helping his team to a national No. 1 ranking and a perfect 25-0 record as a senior in ’19-20. As a sophomore in ’17-18, Moody was named Arkansas 7A state title game MVP after leading the North Little Rock Charging Wildcats over Fort Smith Northside for the state championship. As a freshman in ’16-17, Moody was a key contributor on a Little Rock Parkview squad loaded with Division 1 players that advanced to the Arkansas 6A state championship game.