A year ago I wrote that Quadri Moore was going to have a bigger role for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Now is the time where I collect my reward for a bad call. Moore ended up playing a total of 190 minutes in 26 games last season, a full 23 minutes fewer than he did as a freshman. As he enters his junior campaign, Moore is at a bit of a make-or-break point. Last year, Moore watched as freshmen Jacob Evans and Justin Jenifer both played their way into the mix, Evans particularly. Now, with a new crop of recruits coming into the fold, including transfer Kyle Washington, Moore is at risk of becoming lost in the shuffle and remaining a body to adsorb minutes in only the rarest of times.
But let’s not jump to that conclusion just yet. After all, even if Moore played less as a sophomore, he did show some minor improvement in the limited amount of time he was on the floor.
Never counted on to be a volume scorer, Moore improved his efficiency, shooting 38.9 percent from the floor compared to 37.5 percent a year earlier. Obviously neither mark is great, but a move up, however slight, is better than nothing.
Bringing up his scoring average would be unfair, as using per game numbers for a little-used bench player is akin to demonizing a MLB prospect for batting .200 across 10 at-bats in a September call-up. More telling is Moore’s stats per 40 minutes, which would have him producing 12.4 points a contest. Is Moore ever going to reach that kind of production? Probably not. After all, his offensive rating (84.9) doesn’t point to Sean Kilpatrickian scoring in his future. That is especially true if he keeps shooting below 40 percent from the floor. However, let’s not cast the small progress he made aside.
Moore’s best chance at earning playing time comes from the fact that the Bearcats will be hurting for big guys this season. Octavius Ellis, Coreonte DeBerry and even Shaq Thomas were players that lined up at forward but graduated in the spring. Washington is going to step in right away to fill those shoes, and redshirt freshman Tre Scott and newcomer Nysier Brooks could carve themselves out roles as well, but Moore (6’8”, 230 pounds) has been gestating in the program for two years and has shown some flashes of an ability to play competently as a front court contributor.
He can really show his value if he becomes a more effective defender and rebounder. Moore accumulated 1.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore (7.2 per 40 minutes) and improved his total rebound percentage by nearly two points. Continued progression, teamed with additional playing time could push Moore into the realm of solid glass cleaner, which would suit his potential role as a reserve forward just fine. As far as defense goes, Moore earned 0.4 defensive win shares last season, so he did not have an overall negative impact on the team. That in of itself isn’t glowing praise, but its not a condemnation either.
When all is said and done, the makeup of UC’s recruiting class, Moore’s inability to push into a meaningful role to this point and the returning players on the roster will probably keep the former three-star recruit from becoming a key piece for Mick Cronin’s rotation. If he is going to turn the tide, he needs to start making more than just meager progress. He’s yet to show he can do that but he will get a chance soon.