Moody declares for NBA Draft, becomes Hogs' 1st one-and-done
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FAYETTEVILLE — Moses Moody has declared for this summer’s NBA Draft, becoming the UA’s first one-and-done player in school history.
The Little Rock native announced his decision to forgo his final three years of eligibility on national television Friday afternoon on an ESPN NBA show, The Jump, following a phenomenal freshman season in which he earned first-team All-SEC honors.
"After a great year, after a great run at the University of Arkansas, I'm glad I could be a part of restoring the winning tradition in my hometown," Moody said on ESPN. "I would like to hire an agent and enter my name into the 2021 NBA Draft."
He also shared the news on Twitter with the following announcement:
"We fully support Moses and his family in the decision to enter the NBA Draft," head coach Eric Musselman said in a statement. "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."
This year’s draft is scheduled for July 29. It will begin at 7 p.m. CT with the first round airing on ESPN and ABC. The combine is set for June 21-27 and Moody would have until July 19 to withdraw his name from the draft, but that can't happen if he hires an agent, as he said he plans to do.
"I trust that (NBA teams) do a deep, thorough evaluation on my game on the court because they're able to see that day in and day out, but I have a lot to show off the court personality wise," Moody said. "I think I could be a great guy in any huddle, any locker room and just around various teams and groups of people."
Despite being just No. 56 in the Rivals150 for the Class of 2020, he has vaulted up draft boards and is now a projected lottery pick, with some mock drafts having him slotted as high as No. 7 overall.
The Razorbacks haven’t had a first-round pick since Bobby Portis in 2015 and a lottery pick since Ronnie Brewer in 2006. Their last top-10 pick was Joe Johnson, who went 10th in 2001. If he goes seventh like he’s projected by some, Moody would be Arkansas’ highest pick since Joe Kleine went sixth in 1985.
A four-star recruit coming out of Montverde Academy, Moody was recruited by several high-profile programs, but chose to return to the Natural State and play for the Razorbacks. He was part of their four-man signing class that included fellow in-state products Davonte Davis, KK Robinson and Jaylin Williams.
One of only two players who started every game this season, he led the Razorbacks in scoring at 16.8 points per game and helped them reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996. They ultimately made it to the Elite 8 before losing to eventual national champion Baylor.
"I once read a saying, that people come into your life for a season, reason, or a lifetime," Moody wrote in his statement on Twitter. "I came home to right the ship, to help spark the movement that put Arkansas back on the map. And I wanted to be a part of a team that would be remembered as winners."
Moody also played a team-high 33.8 minutes per game and finished second on the team in rebounding average (5.8) and total blocked shots (21), despite being a 6-foot-6 guard.
Although he struggled shooting in his final two games, Moody was one of the Razorbacks’ most consistent players this season. He shot 42.7 percent from the field, including 35.8 percent from beyond the arc, and reached double figures in scoring in all but four games.
That helped Moody earn first-team All-SEC and SEC Freshman of the Year honors, as well as an honorable mention AP All-America nod.
“We believe in Moses, no matter what,” Williams said. “He could miss his first 10 shots and we still think he’s going to make that 11th shot. Moses, we know his work stayed consistent all year.
“He was in there every day and we knew he was going to be one of our leading scorers just because of the summer camp. We believed in Moses no matter what and he’s just a great player.”
Moody’s 16.8-point average ranks third all-time among Arkansas freshmen, behind only Scotty Thurman (17.4 ppg in 1992-93) and George Kok (18.7 ppg in 1944-45), while his 5.8-rebound average ranks sixth among freshmen - with Sidney Moncrief (7.6 rpg in 1975-76) being the only guard ahead of him.
According to Sports-Reference’s Play Index, only three other freshman guards in the SEC have averaged at least 16 points and 5 rebounds in the past 29 seasons - Georgia’s Anthony Edwards in 2019-20, Kentucky’s Jamal Murray in 2015-16 and Auburn’s Toney Douglas in 2004-05.
"Thanks for being such a big part of a memorable ride," Musselman wrote on Twitter. "Congratulations and good luck (Moses)! Once a Razorback always a Razorback!"