Moses Moody, the Arkansas Razorbacks’ first one-and-done in men’s basketball, fulfilled a lifelong dream on Thursday while setting a new standard as the highest-drafted former Hog in 15 years when the Golden State Warriors selected him with the 14th overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The 2020-21 SEC Freshman of the Year was among 20 invitation-only, first-round-projected players who were seated at draft “green room” tables inside the Barclays Center, and after hearing his name called by NBA commissioner Adam Silver it was cemented that Moody had gone higher in the draft than any former Hog since the program’s current recruiting coordinator, Ronnie Brewer, Jr., was also picked No. 14 in the 2006 draft.
Moody (6-6, 210, shooting guard, Little Rock native) is widely viewed by analysts as having a “high floor” as a mature, NBA-ready backcourt piece who brings long-term value as a highly coveted “3-and-D” talent with potential to add more to his game beyond effective three-point shooting and defensive presence. He is long (7-foot-1 wingspan) with broad shoulders.
Moody joins a storied Warriors organization that has won 3 NBA titles in the past 7 years, but failed to reach the playoffs the past two seasons while finishing 39-33 in ’20-21. Moody will travel to Oakland by Friday to meet with team officials and media that cover the Warriors, and then he’ll join some members of the team to begin preparations for the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas that begins in just 10 days (Aug. 8-17). Official team training camps around the league begin on Sept. 28 with the regular season set to tip up on Oct. 19.
New Arkansas recruiting coordinator Ronnie Brewer, Jr. — the former Razorbacks star guard who played for nine seasons in the NBA after being selected No. 14 overall by the Utah Jazz in 2006 — on Wednesday shared his read on what the league is getting in Moody.
“First of all, he’s mature beyond his age,” Brewer said during a zoom interview with media. “He goes out there and plays at a pace that’s comfortable within himself. He’s very versatile. He can catch-and-shoot. He can put the ball on the floor in the mid-range, and he can get all the way to the basket. He’s athletic enough to finish at the rim with contact. He’s a very savvy, high basketball IQ player. He doesn’t force a lot, he lets the game come to him. Those are things that translate to the NBA.
“He does a lot of things really, really well. One of the things I learned as a pro is stick to your strengths, shy away from your weaknesses and find your niche on what the team needs. He checks the boxes on a lot of those things. A guy that can knock down shots, he can do that. A guy that can facilitate for others, he can do that. A guy that can get you a bucket at any given time, he can do that. And a guy that is disciplined and hungry enough to defend, that makes an elite basketball player. That’s, to me, why he’s going to get his name called very, very early in the draft.”
Moody came into draft day with 30 mock projections that averaged a “lottery” selection for him at No. 10. The draft lottery range is pick Nos. 1-14.
After completing arguably the best freshman season in Hoop Hogs’ history in late March, Moody quickly and decisively entered the draft pool in early April amid early-to-mid first-round projections before hiring an agent and moving to Los Angeles to begin his draft preparations.
He solidified his lofty draft status with elite measurables relative to his position at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago in late June followed by workouts with Indiana, Orlando, Memphis, Golden State (at least twice), Sacramento, Oklahoma City, and Charlotte in July that were sandwiched around meetings with San Antonio and New York as well as an ESPN nationally televised pro day workout set up by his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group.
None of Moody’s journey from the end of the season to draft night came as a surprise to one NBA scout from a Western Conference organization, who prior to the combine and pre-draft workouts correctly predicted the most likely range for a Moody selection.
“He should go anywhere from 6 to 15, but I think he’ll be a lottery pick,” the scout told Hogville.net “He’s a shooter, a smart player, and he scores within the flow (of the offense).”
Here’s a list of other important markers for Moody’s draft relative to other former Hogs…
* Moody gives the Hogs a player selected in each of the last three NBA drafts (Daniel Gafford of El Dorado in 2019 and Isaiah Joe of Fort Smith in 2020 were both second-round picks), marking the first time Arkansas has had players taken in three consecutive drafts this century.
* Moody is only the fourth Hog drafted in the first round this century, joining Johnson (aforementioned No. 10 pick in 2001, by the Boston Celtics), Brewer (aforementioned No. 14 pick in 2006, by the Utah Jazz), and new NBA champion as a Milwaukee Buck and former SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis (No. 22 pick in 2015 by the Chicago Bulls).
* Moody is the 10th Hog drafted among the top 14 picks, joining Naismith Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief (No. 5 overall in 1979); Joe Kleine (No. 6 overall in 1985); Ron Brewer, Sr. (No. 7 overall in 1978); Alvin Robertson (No. 7 in 1984); Todd Day (No. 8 in 1992); Joe Johnson (No. 10 overall in 2001); Darrell Walker (No. 12 overall in 1983); Corliss Williamson (No. 13 overall in 1995); and the aforementioned Brewer, Jr.
* Moody is the 13th Hog selected in the first round, joining the aforementioned list of top 14 picks along with Oliver Miller (No. 22 overall in 1992); Lee Mayberry (No. 23 overall in 1992); and the aforementioned Portis.
* Moody is the 40th Hog all-time selected in the NBA Draft (13 first round, 27 second round or later).
* Moody is only the sixth Hog underclassman this century to be drafted immediately after leaving school early, joining Johnson, Brewer, Portis, Gafford, and Joe.
* Moody was the fifth former Hog in the last four years to be invited to the NBA Draft Combine, joining Mason Jones (2020), Joe (2020), Gafford (2019), and Jaylen Barford (2018).
In addition to being named SEC Freshman of the Year, Moody was a consensus first-team All SEC pick and Associated Press honorable mention All American after leading the Hogs in scoring during a historic season at Arkansas that culminated with an NCAA tournament Elite Eight run and a final national Top 10 ranking. Moody finished the season as one of only three freshmen in Division 1 to average at least 15 points and 5 rebounds per game.
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).
In the NCAAT, 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.
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.
After making his decision to put a bow on his brief college career and turn pro in early April, Moody made his announcement to an ESPN national television audience.
“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 at the time.
Musselman agreed that it was time for Moody to move on to professional basketball.
“We fully support Moses and his family in the decision to enter the NBA Draft,” AMusselman 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.