Question marks surrounded Kansas basketball regarding who this season’s LaGerald Vick-type player would be, the guy who can be the catch-and-shoot player and make threes in big moments. Because of those question marks, coach Bill Self brought in senior guard Isaiah Moss, a graduate transfer from Iowa.
In his first exhibition game and the Jayhawks’ second of the season, Moss played a small role but a telling one in the 102-42 victory over Pittsburg State.
Moss checked into the game at the 14:19 mark in the first half and quickly made himself present. After a foul only nine seconds in, Kansas brought the ball back up the court and found Moss in the corner.
The three-point make from Moss was his only make of the game, but it still pointed in the direction of the role Moss will play this season.
In three seasons at Iowa, Moss averaged 8.9 points per game, but it was the shooting percentage that garnered attention on the transfer market. Moss shot 42% from behind the three-point line his junior year at Iowa.
Moss will likely play a role similar to that of former Jayhawk Brannen Greene — enter the game in spurts, shoot a few three-pointers and then sit until a backcourt player needs a break.
Moss’ time on the court was short-lived, playing only five minutes. In that timeframe, however, he showed the type of player he will be.
“If he’s got a crack, he’s going to shoot it,” Self said.
Very rarely will Moss play a ball-handling role. He will, for the most part, stay in the corner area and wait to get an open shot. Toward the end of the first half, Moss took the ball in the corner, moved to his left to create some space and shot a three.
Moss ended up missing the three, but that play was an exact indicator of what he is expected of in the coming season — move around in the corner, create space and shoot threes.
The guard finished the game with three points on 1-of-4 shooting from the field. Every single one of his shots came from behind the three-point line.
Moss will likely play more than five minutes in the future. Self likely held him out in the second half to help the guard rehabilitate. Moss missed the first exhibition game due to injury.
“You can tell by watching him, he’s not running full speed,” Self said. “I hope he’s available to us on Tuesday. If he’s not able to practice Sunday and Monday and go full speed, then I’m not going to anticipate him on Tuesday.”
As a team, Kansas shot 44.7% from the three-point line, although Pittsburg State is not as big as the Jayhawks and will not be the best defensive team Kansas faces this season. However, if the Jayhawks can keep up that shooting, Moss’ role could potentially diminish.
“We’ve obviously been looking for shooting throughout this recruiting period, and we feel like we have addressed some of those needs with Isaiah’s addition,” Self said back in June when Moss made his official decision to transfer to Kansas.
If Kansas can shoot lights out like it did against the Gorillas, the addition of Moss might begin to look unnecessary.
However, the Jayhawks likely won’t keep up shooting the way they did against the Gorillas, especially as the defensive pressure of teams begins to pick up. Therefore, Moss will most likely play an important role, being the guy Kansas can count on for a three-point shot.
Moss was unable to show everything he is capable of against Pitt State, but his five minutes told the story of a player who will create space and continuously threaten teams from deep.