Moore and SMU Hoops Still a Show Worth Catching
SMU basketball being ineligible to play in the 2016 NCAA Tournament due to rules violations has been well documented. And current Mustang head coach Larry Brown, who is serving a nine-game ban to start the season as part of the punishment handed down by the NCAA, said before the season that any of his players could transfer if they wished.
Of course, no one, including redshirt senior Nic Moore, the reigning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, opted to leave. As a junior, Moore averaged 14.5 points and 5.1 assists for the 27-7 Mustangs, who won both the AAC regular-season and tournament titles last season and played in the NCAA Tournament, where they lost to UCLA on a controversial goaltending call.
Not surprisingly, SMU (2-0) is picked to repeat as the league champ and Moore is expected to again bring home conference player of the year honors.
Moore is currently limited by a broken pinky on his right hand, which also happens to be his shooting hand. He opened the season with an eight-point, five-rebound performance in SMU’s 85-50 season-opening win against Sam Houston State last Saturday at Moody Coliseum.
The redshirt senior followed that on Thursday at Stanford by leading SMU with 18 points and five assists in an 85-70 win in front of a national television audience on ESPN2. In the first half, Moore was just 1-of-3 from the field with three points. But the senior point guard erupted in the second half, going 4-for-10 from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the foul line, giving him 15 points in the final frame, including nine straight at one point.
Over the past four years, Moore has loved playing for Brown and even though the Hall of Fame coach isn’t leading the Mustangs in the early stages of this season, it’s not a huge adjustment. That’s because the man filling in for Brown, associate head coach Tim Jankovich, is someone Moore, knows well.
Moore played under Jankovich at Illinois State during the 2011-12 season as a true freshman and earned a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference’s All-Freshman Team. But when Jankovich announced his decision to leave Normal for a spot on Brown’s staff, Moore knew immediately he too would head to SMU. And after sitting out the 2012-13 season as a transfer, he hit the hardwood on the Hilltop in a big way, averaging 13.6 points and 4.9 assists in his first season as a Mustang.
But not only has Moore been a rock-solid addition to the Ponies on the offensive end, he’s also been something else equally important – durable. As a sophomore, he started all 37 games and followed that up by starting all 34 games as a junior. Along with fellow senior Markus Kennedy and Dallas Kimball product Keith Frazier, Moore is one of several great reasons why local hoop aficionados should catch the Mustangs in person this season, regardless of whether they’re eligible for the postseason or not.