Basketball season has just ended and of course hasn't left the news cycle yet, but we're happy to welcome a new writer in Mihir, who will be adding to our Men's Basketball work. During the offseason he'll be looking one-by-one at UB's players once a week and making his stab at predictions for next year.
We're planning/hoping to add more writers for next year, and we know a few of you have expressed interest. The #1 thing to do is keep commenting so people get to know you and write some FanPosts to get used to the system here.
Justin Moss, the 2014-15 MAC scoring leader, MAC rebounds leader and MAC Player of the Year had his best season yet. He also led the team to its first ever NCAA tournament game. We're all waiting to see how he'll improve next season.
Rebounding - As the rebounding leader in the MAC last season, it seems likely that Moss's numbers will only improve. Despite not having the biggest physique, rebounding is arguably his biggest strength. He is still able force his way into the paint and box out larger players.
As seniors Will Regan and Xavier Ford exit (sad emoji), 6-foot-10 Raheem Johnson will likely take on a larger role, although that probably won't be big enough to really negatively effect Moss's rebounding numbers. There aren't many factors indicating a major improvement in rebounding numbers, but then again, there aren't really any saying his numbers will drop. Overall, Justin should be able to improve his rebounding by a good amount.
Scoring- Moss led the MAC in this category as well. It's pretty hard to tell how he will perform offensively next season. We have the new guys coming in in Maurice O'Field and Torian Graham and don't know their specified roles for the team just yet. Both players have ridiculous athleticism and both can attack the basket effectively. Along with those two, don't be surprised if Lamonte Bearden is given a bigger role with the way he progressed during last season.
We don't know too much about what new coach Nate Oats will do with the team and we don't know how much new plays or a new coaching style will effect Moss, if it does effect him at all. There's certainly room for improvement with his offensive game that could bode well for next season. That being said, with Graham and O'Field coming in and the growth of other players on he team, he may get the ball slightly less. This topic is more of a toss-up. It could really go either way but I see him dropping slightly in points per game.
MAC Player of the Year - Regardless of whether his stats go up or down, Moss is an efficient scorer and top-notch rebounder. He's still got his toughness and athleticism. Although his scoring may go down, I still see Justin developing as an overall player under his high school coach. An with issue with him last season was his defense. He could do a better job of holding position in the low post and allowing fewer points in the paint. If he is able to improve his defense and stay consistent then a repeat is surely a possibility.
As we know, he won it last year, so he knows what it takes. If he actually does pull off the repeat, he'd be the first MAC player since Gary Trent of Ohio to win Player of the Year two years in a row (1994, 1995). It was almost a given last year given his dominance in scoring and rebounding, and while it might be closer this year he's got a good chance.
NCAA Tournament - While this more of a team prediction, his tournament play is an important topic. Against West Virginia, Moss didn't great have a great game, but he didn't have a bad one, the same could be said about the team's overall performance. Assuming the Bulls make it back to the tournament and assuming he's full healthy this time, I see him having a huge game. He has experience now and that too against a tough West Virginia team.
Justin Moss is headed for a big year. He gained a lot of recognition throughout last season, hopefully he'll gain even more after this one. He's got to improve his defense however, as it's key to his overall development and the team's success. All in all, Moss should have a strong season.
What are your thoughts? Share in the comment section or the poll below.
Oh by the way, in case you forgot.