A funny thing happens on the way to investigating these mid-major draft prospects.
Sometimes you have players like Rakim Sanders or Will Witherspoon, where the data more or less matches what you see with your eyes, and you think "teams probably shouldn't use a draft pick on this guy."
Then you come across a kid like Cameron Moore out of UAB and you go "why is nobody talking about this kid more?!"
Moore began his career with the Blazers as a walk-on playing a total of 650 minutes in his freshman and sophomore seasons combined.
He finished his career as the conference's defensive player of the year (for reasons we'll get to in a minute) and the primary scoring threat for a pretty lackluster team.
Where does he go from here? That is exactly what we hope to answer today as we continue our 2012 NBA Draft profiles.
School: University of Alabama - Birmingham (Birmingham, AL | C-USA)
Hometown: San Antonio, TX
Accolades: C-USA 1st team All-Conference, All-Defensive, Defensive Player of the Year
Team Record: 84-46 overall, 2-3 in NIT
First let's correct a misnomer - multiple sources including UAB's website list Moore at 6'10" and 230 pounds. At the recent Portsmouth Invitational, he actually measured in at 6'8 3/4" in socks, plus 227 pounds. That (roughly) one inch is significant for a guy like him, who plays defense like he's a genetic clone of Anthony Davis.
He projects as either a power forward or an undersized center, and where he winds up could depend a lot on how teams feel about how much better his offensive game can get and/or how much muscle he can reasonably add on an NBA strength, conditioning and nutrition program.
Everything we discuss about Moore and his project-ability should be viewed in the context of a guy who played at a mid-major program (with a mid-major strength and conditioning regimen) and still managed to grow. How much? How about from a back-of-the-bench walk-on (who almost left after his sophomore season and declared but wasn't drafted last summer) to a guy who posted double-doubles in 50% of his games across his junior and senior seasons as well as 18 games with 3+ blocks in the same span.
Final Season Averages:
16.1 pts... 10.4 rebs... 2.4 blocks... 2.1 turnovers.. 35.8 mins... 48.3% FG... 33.3% 3 PT... 66.3% FT
This is an interesting situation. That doesn't look like a great shooting percentage for a forward living around the basket, but if you remove his random, occasional three-point attempt (23 all season), that actually bumps up to 50%, which is a good start. Moore actually wound up 14 points shy of becoming the first player since Kenyon Martin to finish the season in the top two for points, rebounds and blocks in the conference.
Moore's production is actually even more impressive when you factor in the HOOPWAR data. Moore saved his team an average of 25 points on the defensive end (thanks to all those blocks and rebounds) and compiled a total HOOPWAR of 10.81 and a HW/30 of 10.46, making him the third most valuable of the players we have evaluated.
Still further, of the remaining players in UAB's eight man rotation the next highest HW/30 was Jordan Swing with a 0.61 (and starting point guard Quincy Taylor somehow played 33 minutes a night despite posting a HW/30 of -5.02).
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
With the assistance of BasketballElite.com, we know he is a monster on the glass, a good rebounder and shot blocker who also appears to excel on screens. He is also described as very strong and a good athlete. He also clearly has some degree of scoring prowess, though that can be better assessed on a team where he isn't the primary/only option.
Some would say that he is a good rebounder, but not as good as he should be given his size, strength and athleticism. He also clearly needs work on his offensive game, but that development is going to depend on how he projects going forward. I'd argue that as currently built, he doesn't have the mid-range game to play the four or the strength and body control to play the five at the NBA level, though either or both could be fixable.
Moore compares himself to Lamar Odom and LaMarcus Aldridge, which might be half right. He could develop a similar game to Odom, and if he takes that career path (minus marrying a Kardashian and becoming a whiny punk) a lot of teams would approve. Perhaps he really is a young Kenyon Martin, who can be an athlete with a solid outside game, rebounding prowess and defensive toughness.
Or take it a step further, since there are dozens of guys his size in the league - does he continue to hone what he has and follow the footsteps of Ben Wallace and Kenneth Faried? Does he work to build his offensive game away from the basket and turn himself into a Luis Scola or Serge Ibaka type? Is he really just a new level of effort and training away from huge numbers, like Kevin Love or Blake Griffin? Cameron Moore is full of possibilities.
Current Prospect Rankings
Chad Ford (ESPN): No. 91
DraftExpress: No. 89
This is an interesting one. I would like to think a team would consider him for a late draft pick - both Ford and DraftExpress have him criminally underrated in my opinion. There is no way that he is 30 spots worse than a similarly sized guy like Robbie Hummel out of Purdue - or almost 20 spots lower than an overrated guy like South Dakota's Charlie Westbrook (more on that tomorrow).