Mike Moser, the newest addition to the UNLV basketball lineup, has already changed the trajectory of games and captured the imaginations of fans—and he isn’t even comfortable yet. In UNLV’s 83-66 season-opening victory over Grand Canyon Nov. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center, the sophomore UCLA transfer finished with 16 points and 20 rebounds. He looked primed for another 20-rebound outing in a 71-67 victory Nov. 14 over rival University of Nevada, Reno, pulling down 10 in the first half, only to land in foul trouble and spend much of the second half on the bench.
At 6-foot-8, with tremendous energy and lightning-quick leaping ability, Moser should be a consistent force on the glass as the Rebels—for whom rebounding has been an issue in recent years—begin a challenging stretch in late November, featuring matchups with USC, Wisconsin, Illinois and possibly top-ranked North Carolina.
Moser scored a combined 24 points in the Rebels’ first two games—by no means a shabby number. But after sitting out his transfer year, he’s just finding his offensive stride and—like many of his teammates—discovering his place in first-year coach Dave Rice’s up-tempo offense. With senior small forward Chace Stanback on the perimeter after a two-game suspension, Moser should be able to work closer to the basket, where his athleticism will create plenty of scoring opportunities.
There’s no reason to panic about Moser finding his comfort zone on offense—it appears inevitable that he will. What’s unknown is just how good he can be once he does.