Junior forward Moses Kingsley has played the role of sidekick throughout his Razorback career, but the 6-foot-10-inch big man is expected to play a much larger role for the Hogs this season.
Kingsley, who roomed with former Hog Bobby Portis before he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls last season, was known as a defensive force in his first two seasons. As a sophomore, Kingsley registered a block in 22 of 36 games. The 38 blocks he recorded that season were good for second on the team.
As he enters his third season with the team, there will be higher expectations for Kingsley’s offensive game.
“I’ve been working on jump hooks, jump shots, free throws and all that,” Kingsley said. “Like coach said, I’ll probably get fouled a lot, so I’ll try to make as many free throws as possible. I really see my offensive game coming along.”
Kingsley showed an improved offensive game in the team’s preseason Red-White scrimmage. In 38 minutes of action, Kingsley scored a whopping 27 points on 9-for-12 shooting. Kingsley, who wasn’t known as a great free-throw shooter in his first two seasons, went 9-for-12 from the free-throw stripe to add to his total. The scoring outburst allowed Kingsley to tie senior guard Anthlon Bell as the leading scorer in the game. He also grabbed seven rebounds, including three on the offensive end.
While Kingsley worked on his offensive game during the offseason, the big man hasn’t forgotten his defensive roots. If Kingsley improves even further on his defensive abilities, he could be in contention to win Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
“That would be something good if I get it, but I’m trying to make my team better and trying to make defensive stops and plays,” Kingsley said. “Whatever comes at the end of the season will come, but I’m just trying to take it one play at a time.”
After the Razorbacks lost Portis and Michael Qualls to the NBA, as well as sophomore guard Anton Beard because of a suspension, Kingsley and the team will have to face a tough schedule without several key playmakers from last season. Kingsley said he thinks the team can be successful if it takes the season one game at a time.
“We’re not worried about our ceiling,” Kingsley said. “We’re worried about getting better every practice. We’re watching film and going game to game.”
With Portis gone and no other post player with a lot of experience, Kingsley could have a breakout season. Razorback fans should expect some great defensive plays from the big man, but they may also be impressed by his improved offensive game.