Justin Moore Career Stats
Justin Moore (Sophomore)
Hometown: Fort Washington, Md.
High School: Dematha Catholic
When Villanova assembled its fifth ranked recruiting class in 2019, Justin Moore wasn’t the guy or even the other guy everyone was talking about. That’s no shot at Moore, who entered college as the 52nd best freshman, but rather a testament to the strength of a class that featured Bryan Antoine (16) and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (15). When Antoine was sidelined with a torn labrum, the Dematha Catholic product was thrust into a larger role by necessity. While the early word on Moore’s fit was positive, there was anxiety emanating from the fan base at the idea of Moore being tasked with huge responsibility from the get-go.
The first tangible evidence of Moore’s coming impact came during Villanova’s “secret scrimmage” against UNC, where the combo guard rained in nine threes en route to 39 points in 54 minutes of game(s) time.
When the real games began, Moore slotted into 25+ minutes per game and showed off a smooth stroke from three and a crafty dribble drive game. His best performance of the season came against La Salle, where he finished with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting, adding three rebounds, three assists, and five steals.
Justin Moore’s game continued to grow as the season went on, and he finished his freshman campaign strong, scoring in double figures and notching 33 or more minutes in five of his last six games. While the La Salle performance was his best statistically, his 19 point masterclass against Seton Hall in Newark was his most important, as the Wildcats narrowly eked out a 79-77 victory.
There is so much to like about Moore’s freshman season and his game, it’s hard to know where to start. Let’s begin by grounding his first campaign against other VU guards.
Since the 2000-01 season, there are only four guards to score more than 10.0 points per game in their true freshman season: Scottie Reynolds, Ryan Arcidiacono, Randy Foye, and Justin Moore. Only Reynolds outpaces Moore in point per game and true shooting percentage. That’s some company.
On the court, Moore showed off high-end skill despite his relative inexperience. His best weapon was his shooting, which was better than advertised in his scouting report. Villanova’s shooting guard took more than half his attempts from beyond the arc, cashing in 39.6% of the time — second on the team to only Saddiq Bey’s 45.1 percent clip in terms of efficiency.
Moore’s drive game, while not explosive, showed a veteran polish atypical of freshmen. The Wildcat guard got to the rim for 28.1 percent of his shots, relying on a stop-start hesitation game that froze on-ball defenders long enough to open a lane to the rim. For a deeper dive into the J-Mo Hesi, take a look at this piece from last year.
Still, there’s room for improvement almost everywhere in Moore’s game, and it will be interesting to see what aspects of his game improve from freshman to sophomore year. In the scoring department, Moore must improve his finishing at the rim, which at just 50.0% ranked last on the team.
Another area would be his free throw to field goal attempt ratio, which captures how often a player is generating free throws as a percentage of his points. In Moore’s case, his 18.7% FTA/FGA ranked ahead of only Cole Swider among players who logged more than 100 FGA. Moore can get to the rim, but finishing or drawing a foul is the next step.
Beyond these scoring elements, the Big East all-rookie shooting guard could stand to improve his playmaking and defense, but those will come as more responsibility is thrust onto his shoulders.
Best Case Scenario: The foundation is there for Justin Moore, but the height of his ceiling is still an unknown. It might be a step too far for some, but Moore has the makings of a lead scorer on a highly ranked Villanova team as early as this year. Saddiq Bey’s departure leaves a void of 16 points per game that needs to be filled. If just 5-7 of those points go Moore’s way, he would be in line for All-Big East First Team this year. From there, player of the year watch lists would be on the table for 2021 and 2022.
Worst Case Scenario: The floor is high for Justin Moore, who demonstrated last season he could play consistent and important minutes. However, with the backcourt getting more crowded, Moore’s statistical output could stall somewhat. It’s unlikely Moore dips below 10 points or 25 minutes per game, but that outcome would be seen as a disappointment for a very promising player.
Wisdom of the Crowds
How many points per game will Justin Moore score this season?
This poll is closed
8.9 or Fewer
9.0 to 11.9
12.0 to 13.9
14.0 or More