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Returning Player Refresher: Trevor Moore

In his second season, Moore will attempt to go from a reliable reserve to a standout starter.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Cincinnati vs Georgia State Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

There were a few games during his freshman season that Trevor Moore flashed the skills of a future star. Perhaps know performance was as telling as a 14-point outburst against UCF in February. The Cincinnati Bearcats destroyed the Knights in the game (77-40), so they didn’t really need a ton from Moore, but he came in and absolutely cooked for 13 minutes, drilling 4-of-7 shots from the floor, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc.

As a freshman entering the program along with a very similar player in Keith Williams, Moore was always going to have to compete for minutes, and his showing against UCF proved that he was the future wing that Mick Cronin could trust as the season ran into March. Moore was the team’s eighth man last year, playing 12 minutes per game and providing equal parts competent offense and stifling defense.

While Williams struggled to find his shot, Moore was comfortable right away. He posted an 107.2 offensive rating and a true shooting percentage of .491. There is still room to improve and diversify his offensive game, especially since he attempted 78.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, but Moore has already laid a great foundation. Aside from his shot, Moore made smart decisions with the ball, leading to few very turnovers. In fact, only Gary Clark and Justin Jenifer had lower marks in turnovers per 100 possessions. As Moore becomes a bigger part of the offense this season, maintaining his ball security talents will be key.

For all the strides Moore made on offense, he was nothing more than a competent stand-in on that side of the floor. Where he made the greatest impact was on defense. Of his 1.6 total win shares, 1.1 came on defense. He was a better defender by the defensive rating metric (89.5) than starter Jarron Cumberland and he could be a real defensive difference maker this season. Assuming he is in the starting lineup, Moore could easily take on opponent’s best scorers, freeing Cumberland up to expend more energy on offense.

Whether Moore has a starting role remains to be seen, of course. Even after saying goodbye to three starters from last year, the Bearcats return a rather deep squad and minutes should be divvied up between at least eight or nine guys. Moore wasn’t one of the Bearcats who really captured headlines during the offseason exhibitions, but the star quality is still there. Just how close it gets to the surface will determine how much of a leap Moore takes as a sophomore.