SMU Guard Nic Moore to Join USA National Team for World University Games
LAWRENCE, Kan. – SMU standout guard Nic Moore has accepted an invitation from Kansas head coach Bill Self to join the KU team, which is serving as the USA National Team, for the 2015 World University Games, July 3-14 in Gwangju, Korea, Self announced Thursday.
SMU is coached by former KU head coach Larry Brown, whom Self worked for as a graduate assistant coach while at KU in 1985-86, and associate head coach Tim Jankovich, who was an assistant under Self at Kansas from 2003-07.
“The reason we are taking a player from another school is Svi (Mykhailiuk) cannot go and Brannen (Greene) is not going to be able to compete because of his hip surgery, so we were down to only three perimeter players going into this last week,” Self said. “With the addition of a potential recruit, that would be four, so we are still a player short. With our relationship with Jank (Jankovich) and Coach Brown, they said if we needed anybody, they have a kid that would love to go, that kid being Nic. We’re taking the (2015) American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. They do a lot of the same things we do so it will be an easy blend for our guys. That will give us Frank (Mason III), Devonte’ (Graham), Wayne (Selden, Jr.) and Nic (at the guard positions). We want to take another perimeter player so we are going to wait and see if a recruit can take that fifth spot.”
The 2015 American Athletic Conference (AAC) Player of the Year, Moore led SMU in scoring (14.5), assists (5.1) and steals (1.3) as the Mustangs captured their first regular-season league championship in 22 years in 2014-15, with their last in 1987-88. The 5-9, 170-pound Winona Lake, Indiana, redshirt junior had 25 games of 10 or more points last season and tied the SMU and conference record by making eight three-pointers in scoring 28 points against Houston on Jan. 24, 2015.
“Nic is one of the best guards in the country, period,” Self said. “He can play on the ball and off the ball. He’s little, so we’ll have three little guys running around there sometimes.”
A native of Winona Lake, Indiana, who transferred to SMU from Illinois State following the 2011-12 season, Moore started all 34 games for SMU in 2014-15 and was the conference leader in free-throw percentage (87.5) and three-point percentage (41.6). He was named to The American All-Championship Team after the Mustangs also won the 2015 tournament title. Moore was a unanimous All-AAC First Team selection and was also named Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention.
“Coach Brown and Coach Jankovich told me I would have the opportunity go with Kansas to represent the USA and go overseas and play,” Moore said. “I’ve never been overseas to experience that, but the opportunity to be able to play with a great program and to represent the USA, that’s a big accomplishment and feels great.”
SMU finished the season 27-7 and made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1993 this March. SMU lost to UCLA, 60-59, in the 2015 NCAA Tournament second round in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I love the game of basketball,” Moore said. “I’m always going to play hard. I’m a team player. Regardless of what I do, I just wish the best outcome for the team – and that would be a victory. Me being there is great and I just want to help and be positive, that’s if I’m playing or if I’m on the bench. That’s just who I am. I’m a team person.”
In preparation for the World University Games KU will face Team Canada in two exhibition games, June 23 and 26, at 7 p.m. (Central) at Kansas City’s Sprint Center. Tickets for the event are available with a two-game ticket package for $50. Fans can purchase tickets online at Sprint Center – http://www.sprintcenter.com/events/detail/ku-vs-team-canada. For additional information, please call the Kansas Athletics ticket office at 800-34-HAWKS.