Justin Moore’s Career Stats
Hometown: Fort Washington, Md.
High school: DeMatha
Justin Moore player preview:
I’m not sure how to feel in this player preview. I was lucky enough to write Justin Moore’s player recap after the ‘21-’22 season.
There was an overwhelming combination of feelings due to the excitement seeing the ‘Cats get to another Final Four while simultaneously in a stupor, hurt when learning Moore had torn his Achilles tendon. We were proud of that Villanova team for the effort and defense it showed in the postseason tournaments that season. It was one of the standout defensive runs, for me, in the Jay Wright era.
Moore was the catalyst on that side of the ball. Houston had just dropped 72 on #1 seed Arizona then went on to to score 44 against the ‘Cats on 1-for-20 from three point range. The biggest part of that defensive success was Moore’s defense on leading scorer Kyler Edwards. Edwards was 1-for-12 in shooting in that Elite Eight game with Moore as his primary defender.
Offensively, Moore knocked down big shot after big shot that season. He averaged 14.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 2.3 apg. He shot 44% from inside the arc and 35.6% on threes. His overall shooting percentage was just under 40% at 39.7%. That is a tad misleading due to the pressure of taking tough shots from he and Gillespie that season though. With the Big East regular season crown still up for grabs, Moore dropped 16 points in the first half in a top 10 win at Providence in mid-February. This propelled Villanova to a seven point half time lead and gave them cushion when Providence eventually made a run in the second half.
All that to say, as you all know, Justin Moore is really good for Villanova basketball. How lucky are we to have him for a super senior season? Very.
We know what Justin Moore brings on both ends of the floor, as we’ve seen him play over 100 games in a Villanova jersey. We’ve seen him grow and expand his game in those 100 plus games as well.
I want to explore what I believe will be the biggest question during Justin Moore’s season. It’s quirky in a way because it’s not as much about what he can or can’t do but rather what he may have to do.
How much point guard will he play this season? That is the biggest concern when I think not just about Justin Moore’s season but the team’s overall season.
Moore can be serviceable in this role, we’ve seen it before in spurts. It’s not that the offense falls to pieces or is awful but it does place various restrictions on that side of the ball for both Moore and the team.
No player is perfect and in a five on five game there’s nothing wrong or even bad about that. Players are meant to compliment each other and play in a harmonious way. Considering Moore’s game and his skills, it’s absolutely best for him and the team for him to spend 90% or all of his time off-ball on offense. Moore is a solid passer but not a playmaker or a player who can increase the ways his teammates can score when he has the ball in his hands. That’s not a knock. The kind of season you see Trae Young have at Oklahoma was special, his passing was special. Being able to create chances for teammates at different speeds and different angles is a very hard thing to do. A lot of teams don’t have a passer like that. Teams usually do have, at least, a point who they can trust to not harm the team or put the team in a detrimental position.
We don’t know if this Villanova team has the latter yet. Mark Armstrong had another great summer for USA Basketball. He averaged over 12 points a game and shot 97% (33/34) from the free throw line on the U19 National Team. He averaged 2.6 assists per game which is solid in this kind of a setting. There’s usually a ton of talent on these teams and players share the ball and duties much more than in a regular scenarios.
We will need Armstrong to build off this summer and the flashes we saw during the last eight games last season. If he can do this, it will allow Moore to play in his wheelhouse and excel within his game.
Moore will be able to gain early position on defenders and use his strength to take guards down to the block and go to work. This is such a unique advantage that we saw Jalen Brunson and Collin Gillespie utilize, and we have seen it from Moore as well. A lot of guards, most, don’t have the skill and muscle memory to play defense in the post. If Villanova is in a slump or the game has sped up too much, they can use Moore on the block to help dictate the game.
Moore can also get to his spots with a few dribbles in the mid range. The mid range may not have the same place in hoops as it once did, but some players are still effective in this space. Moore is one of them. He doesn’t let defenders speed him up and his plus level strength allow him to get to the spot he wants to. If he’s playing too much point it will severely limit him being able to catch where he wants to and work quickly. Moore is a good free throw shooter so we’d like to have him in position to get to the line.
Moore will also have many more catch and shoot opportunities by playing off ball. We know how much Villanova loves to take the first good look they see. Moore playing the point would take a lot of this style away for him. He’s also likely Villanova’s best in game shooter at this point and time. You want your best shooter having a lot of those chances. I know Brendan Hausen and TJ Bamba have a great shooting history but we would like to see it here first.
Best-case scenario: Moore’s serious injury is a thing of the past and he feels no ill effects of his Achilles tear. This gives Moore the chance to build off his good season in ‘21-’22. He sets the tone defensively, especially on the perimeter and leads Villanova to a great defensive season. On the other side of the ball, he doesn’t have to play much point guard. He is the go to tough shot maker when Villanova needs a bucket. He has enough space to take smaller guards to the low block and get shots at the rim and get to the free throw line. Moore’s experience and tough scoring lead Villanova to yet another Elite Eight and Moore has a chance to play for one more chance at a Final Four.
Worst-case scenario: Moore still feels some effects of his Achilles injury and never quite gets back to his previous form. This would be a double whammy because not only is he not the player he was but then his trajectory is disrupted and it becomes more difficult to reach his ceiling. This would hurt Villanova a good deal because unlike the Jay Wright era, Villanova’s weakest position group this season is guards. Moore not being back to his best or close to it limits the March run Villanova wants to make and they are eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Will Justin Moore play in the Final Four?
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Can we get to Big East play first?