Texas Tech senior Matt Mooney is making the most of what will likely be his final year of collegiate basketball, getting his team to the Final Four. The question for many is will he continue his basketball career in the NBA via the draft?
Mooney is in Unexpected Position
The unlikelihood of Texas Tech being in the position to reach the national championship game is remarkable enough in its own right. The Red Raiders were picked to finish seventh in the Big 12 regular-season standings. The team didn’t return six of its top eight scorers from the 2017-18 season. That narrative applies to Mooney as well.
He wasn’t highly recruited out of high school and injured his left leg in his freshman season at Air Force. He transferred to South Dakota, then Utah State. As a graduate transfer, he has now found a home at Texas Tech. In 36 games this season, Mooney is averaging 11 points and three assists while shooting over 42 percent from the field. He is the undisputed starting point guard of a team on the verge of qualifying for a shot at a national title. Will his underdog story continue with his name being called in the 2019 NBA Draft?
Mooney Scouting Report
At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, his size isn’t a huge liability but it’s not elite either. He has the ability to create off the dribble and his intelligence along with feel for the game is what makes him a successful point guard at the collegiate level. On the glass and as a defender, he is adequate but again, not elite.
Some of the knocks against him are inconsistent shooting and turnovers. Mooney has struggled against opponents who are more athletic than him. There are concerns that he can at times get too much in his own head, as echoed by Texas Tech men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard.
“He overthinks things. He’s a perfectionist,” Beard said. “The great thing about him is he is detail-oriented and he’s got a little bit of stubbornness to him. He thinks he’s the best player in the country, but all the great ones do.
Will the contingent of NBA teams who are in need of depth at the point guard position consider that attention to detail an asset or a liability? The consensus points toward more of the latter than the former.
Mooney Absent in Current Mock Drafts
NBA teams like the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards look like they could be good fits for Mooney given their current needs and likely lottery positions, but current mock drafts don’t project Mooney on any teams’ shopping lists.
Neither CBS, NBADraft.net nor The Ringer has Mooney listed on their mock latest mock drafts. The ceiling for Mooney’s NBA draft potential seems to be the late second round, though it’s definitely a possiblity that he could land on a summer roster somewhere.
In a way, not being a sure-fire draft pick fits the narrative of Mooney and the Red Raiders. So far, being underestimated has worked very well for both parties.