Our basketball coverage continues with the next player in our preview series, Julian Moore. Moore, a senior Forward/Center for the Nittany Lions, has had an up and down career on the court, marred by time off the court for health related reasons in, at times, his most crucial periods of time.
Moore came in with promise as a freshman. A high 3-star prospect with offers from Clemson, VCU, Temple, La Salle, and others, he was expected contribute immediately, but not necessarily make the kind of impact a guy like Mike Watkins was able to make right off the bat. Moore ended up having to redshirt his freshman season after a broken nose forced him off the filed. In his redshirt freshman season, Moore showed promise playing behind Jordan Dickerson, going so far as to even attempting (and making!!!) a three-point shot against Wisconsin.
Moore would come into his redshirt sophomore season with the expectation of growth and a bigger role with the team. That hope did not materialize, as Julian spent the season with more downs than ups, and yet again, just when he was starting to put it all together, he came down with the flu at the most crucial time of the season. He missed time altogether against Nebraska with a knee injury.
What he did last season
As mentioned in the intro, Moore has been marred with several health-related issues, as it turns out, last season was no different. Julian Moore sustained an injury that slowed him down, but there’s no clarity on how long he had been playing injured. The knee injury was severe enough to require surgery in the offseason, which prevented him from participating in the Bahamas games even though he made the trip.
I’d be remiss if I pinned all of Moore’s issues on his injury, and there was a lot about Moore’s game that left a lot to be desired. Several times in games Moore would come down with a rebound, only to have an opposing player take the ball right out of his hand. Other times he wouldn’t even come down with the rebound, even when going against smaller players. Most of his stats actually improved across the board, especially his field goal percentage and free throw percentage. His problem was mainly being unable to hold a certain level of performance for extended periods of time, which takes us back to his injury. Depending on how long Moore played injured, this may have made all the difference.
What to expect this season
With Watkins, Satchel Pierce, John Harrar on the roster, Moore doesn’t have to do any more than he can handle. He likely understands hew new role, which is to spell the main man inside, splitting his time with Pierce and Harrar (if he doesn’t redshirt). He will be asked to deliver solid minutes in small bursts, providing lockdown defense, even if it comes with mediocre offense.
The interesting phenomenon to note is that, as a senior, Julian has the opportunity to do what so many other seniors have done under Pat Chambers. Can he have that jump from unheralded, overlooked disappointment to game-changing contributor? Jordan Dickerson did it. Donovon Jack did it. Brandon Taylor did it. Even guys who were already great, like D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier did it. If Moore can make the transcendent leap in his senior season like those before him did, we have have a great inside rotation in our hands.
If not, Harrar will probably take his minutes.