Kansas basketball player spotlight: Iowa transfer Isaiah Moss

COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 24: Isaiah Moss #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes goes up for a shot against Grant Williams #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers during their game in the Second Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OHIO - MARCH 24: Isaiah Moss #4 of the Iowa Hawkeyes goes up for a shot against Grant Williams #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers during their game in the Second Round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

The Kansas basketball team is heading into the 2019-20 season with high expectations… again. But with such a loaded roster, available minutes will be hard to come by. In this article series, we will explain what fans should expect from each player this season. Today, we spotlight senior graduate transfer, Isaiah Moss.

Career at Iowa: Consistent starter

Isaiah Moss had a very respectable career with head coach Fran McCaffery and the Iowa Hawkeyes basketball team.

Upon arriving in Iowa City, Moss wasn’t a heralded recruit with one and done aspirations. He was a middle of the road 3-star recruit that was expected to progress into one of Iowa’s best players by his Junior season. Moss exceeded those expectations.

Moss had a solid freshman campaign, starting in 28 of 34 games at the shooting guard position. He averaged 6.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, and .9 assists in 16 minutes per game. His role that year was to mostly be a “3 and D guy,” meaning he was expected to always play tough defense and would hover around the perimeter looking for outside shot opportunities. However, his role would go on to change drastically a year later.

With Iowa’s top-scoring guard graduating, Moss filled the void by taking a major step on the offensive end during his sophomore season. Game in and game out, much of the team’s success was predicated on Moss’ performance. And he didn’t disappoint as went on to average 11.1 points, 1.9 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in 24 minutes per game. He also improved his 3-point percentage from 35.8% to 38.6%.

During that season, Moss had multiple breakout performances including 32 points against Minnesota, 25 points against Maryland, and 24 points against Louisiana. In those games, he shot a combined 18 for 33 from the field and 10 for 18 from the three-point line.

He performed well enough to earn some attention from NBA scouts, as he would go on to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft with the intent to gather feedback on his game. After receiving the feedback he desired, Moss decided to return to Iowa for his Junior season.

His points per game average dropped slightly, going from 11.1 points the year before to 9.2 points his Junior year. In large part, that drop is the result of the dynamic scorer and top 60 recruit Joe Wieskamp joining the Hawkeyes. Nevertheless, Moss managed to yet again improve in one key area of his game: 3-point shooting. Moss finished the year ranked third in the Big Ten Conference with a 3-point percentage of 42.1%.

Overall, Moss averaged 8.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists during his three-year career at Iowa.

Role/Expectations in 2019: 3-point specialist 

In 2018-19, Kansas lost their best shooter, their best big man, and their most athletic big man. Losses of that magnitude would ruin weaker programs’ seasons, but because Kansas is Kansas, they still had an elite forward in Dedric Lawson, and a few talented freshman guards in Devon Dotson, Marcus Garrett, and Ochai Agbaji. However, the area those guards struggled the most in was the area that the team desperately needed: 3-point shooting.

Kansas basketball was 143rd in the nation in 3-point percentage and 165th in 3-point attempts. With a lack of outside shooters, opposing defenses were able to successfully pack it in down low on Lawson. Lawson was still able to put up incredible numbers, but overall, Kansas didn’t have the firepower to live up to their preseason Final Four expectations.

Kansas is expecting another Final Four season once again this year. But this time, head coach Bill Self learned his lesson and recruited a talented 3-pointer shooter in Moss. With that in mind, Moss’s role on the 2019-20 Kansas basketball team is simple: Shoot from beyond the arc at a consistent rate.

Moss is arguably Kansas’ most important player other than Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. The Jayhawks can’t be great if those two aren’t great. However, Kansas basketball needs to make outside shots to take the pressure off of Azubuike.

It’s important to note that Moss isn’t the only shooter on the team. Players such as Jalen Wilson, Christian Braun, Dotson, and Agbaji will also help carry the load. But Wilson and Braun are just freshmen, and Dotson and Agbaji both shot well below 40% last season.

Ultimately, so much is expected of Moss because he is the only shooter with proven consistency on a major level. He shot over 40% last year, and he went 3 for 5 from beyond the arc in the second round of the NCAA tournament as well.

Unlike his time at Iowa, Moss now has one of the most dominant frontcourts in all of college basketball. Defenses will have no choice but to double team the Kansas big men down low, and when that happens, 3-point opportunities will be readily available for the guards.

Related Story. Player Spotlight: Sophomore Ochai Agbaji. light

The golden number for Moss this year is 40%. If he can shoot from the 3-point line at 40% or better, expect a big year from the 6-5 graduate transfer.

2019-20 Isaiah Moss prediction: 9.5 points per game, 2 rebounds, 41% from 3.