Mizzou basketball season unofficially tips off Friday night when the Tigers host Harris-Stowe in an exhibition game at Mizzou Arena. Leading up to tip off, KBIA Sports Extra reporters Ross Taylor and JJ Stankevitz will be discussing what they expect from each of the members on Missouri’s roster this season.
JJ: While Steve Moore didn’t show much improvement in his offensive game last season, his defense certainly improved over the course of the season. The most telling stat for Moore was that he blocked a shot on about one in every 10 defensive possessions when he was on the floor. He proved to be a pretty good defensive big man, but he only averaged 1.5 rebounds per game. Is that an area in which you see Moore making improvement, whether it’s because of maturity or more playing time?
Ross: I think the maturity thing can be used as a copout in 85 percent of instances, but I don’t think this is one of them. Beside the obvious physical element of rebounding, so much of grabbing boards comes from developing feel. When did Moore ever have the chance to get into the flow of a game and work himself in position possession-after-possession? As for your first assertion, I wouldn’t say he didn’t show improvement in his offensive game. He sure didn’t show any consistency, but it seems like I can recall three or four times in 2009-10 where he embarrassed some defenders with a post move even if he didn’t finish the play. Moore will never be a primary offensive threat for Mizzou, but can you see him developing into a player that can make opponents pay for ignoring the post?
JJ: It’s going to be tough for opponents to ignore the post if he’s in there with Ricardo Ratliffe. Maybe the better way to say it is “a player that can make opponents pay for ignoring him.” And yes, I think he can do that. When he’s out on the floor with Ratliffe, Laurence Bowers, or Justin Safford, most of the defensive focus from opponents 4’s and 5’s will go to those players, not Moore. If he can work his way close to the rim, he has soft touch and should be able to finish in-close layups. He does have a few good low-post moves in his arsenal, but it’s unlikely he’ll be more than the fifth scoring option when he’s out on the floor. No matter what Moore does, though, he’s endeared himself to the crowd at Mizzou Arena in a pretty neat way. Everybody loves Kim English, Michael Dixon, Phil Pressey, Bowers, Safford, Ratliffe, etc., but it seems that the fans—especially the students—root a little bit harder for Moore to succeed. That’s pretty neat, isn’t it?
Ross: There’s not many players left on the Missouri roster that haven’t endeared themselves to the Mizzou Arena crowd at this point, but Moore’s found himself quite a following in Columbia. If he has a breakthrough at home, the roof might blow off that building.