17 | SMU

November 09, 2015

MOORE, SETTLING FOR LESS

Nic Moore had every reason to be optimistic about his senior season. The 5'9" point guard and reigning American Athletic Conference player of the year joined Kansas at the World University Games in South Korea in July. Averaging 6.8 points, he helped the squad win gold, then rejoined the Mustangs, who retain four of the top five scorers from the team that broke the school's 22-year NCAA tournament drought.

But in September the NCAA banned SMU from postseason play for a variety of rules violations. That disappointment aside, Moore is poised for an All-America season. He led the Mustangs in points (14.5 per game), assists (5.1) and steals (1.3) last year, while shooting a conference-best 41.6% from beyond the arc and 88.9% from the line. "Nic isn't fast, but he's quick. He has a real high IQ and he's exceptionally strong," coach Larry Brown says. "We're really going to need his leadership."

SMU will be smaller overall, increasing the load on sturdy 6'9" forward Markus Kennedy, who was the AAC's sixth man of the year in '14--15. Moore will spearhead a deep perimeter corps that will be bolstered by Malik (Shake) Milton, a highly rated 6'5" freshman. But after guiding the Mustangs to March Madness for the first time since 1993, Moore won't have the chance to deliver their first tournament win since '88.

PROJECTED TEAM STATS

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 112.7 (27th)

DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 93.7 (16th)

AAC RECORD 14--4 (T-1st)

X-FACTOR

Sweet-shooting guard Keith Frazier (44.9 FG%) will be a primary option in the offense, but how will the 6'5" junior handle the emotional burden of being the focal point of the NCAA's academic fraud case against the school?

STAT SHEET

With 2015--16 projections for the top six scorers

Coach Larry Brown (4th season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG OFF. RATING USAGE
PG Nic Moore* 5'9" Sr. 14.3 1.8 5.0 116.1 22.5%
PF Markus Kennedy* 6'9" Sr. 12.1 7.1 1.3 111.5 25.6%
SG Keith Frazier* 6'5" Jr. 11.7 4.2 1.6 116.8 18.9%
PF Jordan Tolbert 6'7" Sr. 8.6 5.3 0.6 109.7 21.3%
PF Ben Moore* 6'8" Jr. 8.4 5.6 1.8 108.5 21.4%
SF Sterling Brown* 6'6" Jr. 6.6 5.2 2.1 122.5 13.9%

*Starter

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

NOT ELIGIBLE

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

PHOTOGREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MOORE) PHOTORONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (FRAZIER) CHART

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)