We are about a quarter of the way into the 2016-17 season and it is already looking like a big year for senior Marquise Moore. The incredible part about his hot start is that he is filling a rebounding need from the point guard position; an area that this off-season seemed like a weakness for George Mason. Through eight games they have made it their strength, beating opponents to the glass without size but effort and tenacity. Moore has been a leader in that area, driving the lane with or without the ball in his hands making things happen for the Patriots. Typically you would expect your point guard to fill up the stat sheet in other areas, three-pointers, assists, and so on. Moore has adapted into a new kind of floor general and it’s the one Mason needs right now.
Moore has never been a great shooter and you may remember my post from a few years back explaining the origin of his funky looking jump shot. Early on in his career here I had my doubts that he would ever become one of the team’s best players because of his lack of outside shooting. Moore is typically one of the quickest guys on the floor and he uses his speed and elusiveness like a running back knifing through the defense on his way to the basket. He draws contact at such a rate high, he is in the top 40 according to Kenpom on free-throw rate, meaning he gets to the line very often. It’s been an important part of the team’s offense considering they continue to miss short jumpers and lay-ups. If he could connect on a bit more of these free-throws he’d almost be averaging around 20 point per game instead of 17.
But the most impressive part of Moore’s game so far this season has been his rebounding. He’s led the Patriots on a nightly battle of the boards averaging almost 10 a game (9.8) and his efficiency numbers are amazing for a 6’2″ guard. His defensive rebounding percentage ranks #81 in the country (out of 2202 eligible players) and essentially this stat tells you the percentage of possible defensive rebounds a player gets. This is a much more telling stat then just plain rebounding game average; for reference Shevon Thompson finished last season #2 in this category.
Moore’s emergence in these areas a big driver for the team continuing to be successful this season playing small ball. Right now he’s exactly the kind of player they need in the back court due to their lack of depth at forward and overall size. It will be interesting to watch if he can keep this up all season because as we saw in the UNI game teams are starting to key in on him. But as of now he’s starting to look like a first or second team all-conference type of player.
[Photo by Bill Bride]