LITTLE ROCK — Little Rock native Moses Moody made a commitment back in early November that he would be coming home to play his college basketball, and on Friday he made good on that promise by signing his national letter of intent with the homestate Arkansas Razorbacks.
Moody (6-5 shooting guard, Little Rock native, Montverde Academy in Florida, ESPN national No. 38 / 4-star prospect in the Class of 2020) is the highest-ESPN-ranked recruit to sign with to the University of Arkansas men’s basketball program since 2013 (Bobby Portis, No. 16).
Arkansas head coach Eric Musselman had many positive things to say about Moody in the schools release on the signing.
“Moses is such a complete player and fits our stylistic play so well with his versatility,” Musselman said. “He has the ability to score inside, off the bounce and from deep 3-point range. He can create shots for himself as well as create open shots for his teammates. He is an excellent rebounder for his position. He is a very good defender with his length and can guard a point guard, an off guard or a small forward.
“Moses has great maturity for an incoming freshman,” Musselman added. “It’s not often you can look at a freshman and feel like he has leadership qualities. He is an incredible teammate who is incredibly unselfish.”
Going from committed to signed in just over five months, Moody chose Arkansas over offers from Michigan, Virginia, Kansas, Ohio State, Florida, Oregon, Southern Cal, Texas, Florida State, and Texas Tech among more than 30 high-major offers .. he took official visits to Arkansas, Michigan, and Ohio State.
Moody is the headliner and fifth player to officially join the Hogs’ 2020 recruiting class that is ranked No. 7 nationally as he follows the signings of 2020 Davonte Davis (6-4 point guard, Jacksonville, ESPN national No. 83 / 4-star prospect, signed in November 2019); grad-transfer Vance Jackson, Jr. (6-9 combo forward, native of Pasadena, Calif., signed Wednesday morning); grad-transfer Jalen Tate (6-6 combo guard, native of Pickerington, Ohio, signed Wednesday morning); and 2020 Jaylin Williams (6-10 forward / center, Fort Smith Northside, composite national No. 72 / 4-star prospect, signed Wednesday morning).
The Razorbacks are expected to add the signature of 2020 Khalen “KK” Robinson (6-1 point guard, Bryant, Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, composite national No. 71 / 4-star prospect, committed to Arkansas in November 2019), who confirmed on Tuesday that he’ll sign his letter of intent on Monday, April 20, which is his Dad’s birthday.
With the departure of Co-SEC Player of the Year Mason Jones (6-5 guard) who recently declared for the NBA Draft, and the growing likelihood that star junior-to-be guard Isaiah Joe (6-5 guard) will at least test the NBA Draft waters, Moody appears to be in great shape to earn a significant role and play heavy minutes in the backcourt as a freshman.
Moody spent that past year building relationships with Arkansas’s first-year coaching staff after having his scholarship offer from the previous staff renewed by head coach Eric Musselman in April 2019. Arkansas coaches made numerous trips to see Moody at various Nike EYBL events and national camps as well as making on-campus visits to Montverde, while Moody took an unofficial visit to Arkansas in late June 2019 before taking his official visit there in October 2019 at the same time that Robinson was visiting.
Moody comes to Arkansas familiar with many of the Hogs’ in-state players, including Khalil Garland (former player, current student-assistant) and junior-to-be Ethan Henderson going back to the 2016-17 season at Little Rock Parkview when as a high school freshman Moody teamed with Garland and Henderson to help the Patriots reach the 5A state title game. As a sophomore in ’17-18, Moody led North Little Rock to the 7A state championship — he was named title-game MVP — before moving on to prestigious basketball-power Montverde Academy in Florida to play both his junior and senior seasons.
Moody’s impressive high school career abruptly ended in March due to the covid-19 pandemic, at which time he moved back home to Little Rock. He was a starter and catalyst for a Montverde team that went undefeated in the 2019-20 regular season (25-0), was ranked No. 1 nationally wire-to-wire during the season, and would have been the No. 1 seed in the GEICO national championship tournament that was set for early April but was ultimately cancelled due to the pandemic.
“Not being able to finish with the fairy tale ending, that’s hard but at the same time you’ve got to put it in perspective,” Moody said during a recent interview. “There’s a lot of people losing out on a lot more than a national championship. Due to the virus, a lot of people are in a lot worse situations so you just have to put it in perspective.”
Moody was arguably the best two-way (offense and defense) player on a Montverde squad loaded with 5-star-rated players …
* Moody was third on the team in scoring (11.6 points per game), but he led Montverde guards and was second on the team in effective field goal percentage (70.8%) and led the team in free throw percentage (82.6%)
* Known as a 3-point shooter, Moody delivered making 38-of-81 for 46.9% from distance (led all guards), which is elite-level shooting efficiency.
* With mid-range and around-the-cup scoring identified as a couple of areas that Moody needed to improve, he did just that shooting a blistering 71.1% from inside the arc, which was second-best on the team while leading all guards.
* Moody’s overall field-goal shooting of 60.1% was tops among guards and third on the team.
* Moody finished with a respectable 2.2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio while averaging less than a turnover per game backed up his improvement as a ball-handler.
* On a squad with a big, physical backcourt, Moody led the way with 30 offensive rebounds.
* Defensively — and this is a part of the game where Moody has been underrated and under-appreciated — he was a reliable stopper as he had 31 steals (second among the guards), 25 deflections (second among the guards), 16 blocks (second on the team and led all backcourt players), and 4 drawn charges (led the team).
Moody believes his preparation getting to this point has readied him for that next step.
“I feel like I can take a lot with me to college,” Moody said of his time at Montverde. “Just seeing the way we prepared before games, the small stuff that coach liked to do. I’m used to being around good players, elite players, picked up on a lot small things. So I just feel like in an environment like I came out of, I had no choice but to become a better player.”
Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle has sent many players to the first-round of the NBA, including several Top 3 draft-lottery picks. He believes in Moody’s long-term future as a college player and a pro.
“Moses is a great person, student, and shooter,” Boyle said. “He is starting to become an excellent all-around player and will be a future (NBA) first-round pick. He is automatic from beyond the NBA three. He has added the ability to use screens to get quick threes and the step-back jumper to get space in either direction.”
Since coming home, Moody has maintained constant contact with the three other in-state future Hogs from the 2020 class — Davis, Williams, and Robinson — as the current spring signing period (April 15-August 1) was fast-approaching.
“Just coming home with not as much to do really gives you time to prepare, time that we weren’t expecting to have,” Moody said. “But we’ve been able to talk amongst ourselves and really just feel each other out, like where your heads at going into the next year with something that’s going to be different for all of us. So we’re obviously working to get on the same page.”
Moody has also stayed in touch and in tune with Arkansas’s coaching staff.
“It’s all pretty much the same,” Moody said of the two-way communication with his future coaches. “Staying in touch, trying to maintain the relationships, just letting me know that I’m on their mind.”
Moody found plenty to like about Arkansas’s 20-12 finish in ’19-20.
“One of the things that I paid attention to that really attracted me about the Razorback team this year was the brotherhood I saw out there,” Moody said. “I just saw this sense of togetherness, almost being like us-against-the-world. Them playing together, them playing free, and working together to get the ultimate accomplishment of a win. I could tell whenever they made a mistake, they weren’t looking over at Coach (Musselman). He gave them the freedom to play basketball.”
Scouting Report: Moody is broad-shouldered and long (his wingspan is 7-feet-plus), and he’s a smooth operator with effective range out to the NBA 3-point line … Moody has improved his drive-and-create game and has developed into a valid threat to finish at all three levels … An underrated defender and facilitator from the wing, Moody is not shy about diving to the floor for 50/50 balls … he’s coachable and plays with a team-first mindset, and his mentors have praised him for always seeking knowledge and feedback while working to improve as an all-around player … needs to continue to improve ball-handling and mid-range shot-creation off the bounce.
Fit with Eric Musselman and Arkansas: Having digested a full season of what 6-5 guards Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe accomplished with Muss in year one coupled with Moody’s obvious talent and proven production / efficiency, his ceiling appears as high as any incoming Hog in recent memory … Moody’s maturity on and off the floor and his stubborn dedication to playing the game the right way are intangibles that translate to winning as well as attributes that will serve him well as he appears to be on a path to the league sooner rather than later.
To read more about Moses Moody’s basketball journey that has led him to the Arkansas Razorbacks, click the link for my feature story that was published here at Hogville.net on April 5, 2020 …https://forums.hogville.net/index.php?topic=713382.0