Arkansas Basketball: Moses Kingsley making immediate impact

Arkansas Basketball

Moses Kingsley (Photo Credit: Eugene Tanner/AP)

Freshman Moses Kingsley is making more of an impact for the Arkansas basketball team this season than expected.

After playing only two minutes against Louisiana-Lafayette, three minutes against SMU and a DNP against California, no one expected to see much playing time from Kingsley this season. He wasn’t quite ready to compete at this level.

In the first game of the Maui Invitational against California, the Hogs were out rebounded 48-32. It was the game where Kingsley didn’t step foot onto the court.

After the loss, a light must have gone off in head coach Mike Anderson’s head. The 6-foot-10 center’s presence could do nothing but help Arkansas’ inside game.

The next day in Maui, Kingsley had his coming out party as the Razorbacks picked up a win over Minnesota. He came off the bench with fire and posted seven points, four rebounds, two steals and one block in just 10 minutes.

Kingsley wasn’t finished in Maui. The next day he played another successful 10 minutes in a loss to Gonzaga. He had nine points, seven rebounds and one block.

Since returning from Maui, Kingsley’s playing time has increased immensely. He picked up 16 minutes of playing time against Southeastern Louisiana and had eight points and four blocks. He also recorded a career-high five blocks and grabbed seven boards in 13 minutes against Savannah State.

Coming out of high school Kingsley was ranked as a top 50 recruit by 247Sports.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com and was rated as high as No. 30 by 247Sports.com. He attended Huntington Prep in West Virginia his senior year, where he played alongside the nation’s top-recruit and Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins. Kingsley averaged 8.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game his senior season.

Kingsley was regarded as one of the nation’s top shot blocking recruits. He recorded 130 blocks his senior season at Huntington Prep, averaging 4.1 per game. He had five or more blocked shots in 14 games.

He also helped lead the Arkansas Wings Elite to the AAU Championship in 2012, alongside fellow teammates Bobby Portis and Manuale Watkins.

The emergence of Kingsley during his freshman season may be shocking, but it’s nothing but beneficial for Arkansas’ depth. Depth allows the Hogs to win games against teams with a better starting five. Depth is what makes the “Fastest 40 Minutes” style work. Rotating 10 different players a game lets Arkansas play fast tempo basketball, which is exactly what they want to do.

If Kingsley continues to keep playing a solid 10-15 minutes, Arkansas will have the best font court they have had in years. Kingsley’s increasing playing time also allows Portis to get more rest without losing the presence of a big man inside.

There’s no question Kingsley is further along than anyone ever expected. The stats he is putting up are what people expected to see in his sophomore or maybe even junior season. He is just another piece to Anderson’s puzzle. He isn’t the star of the team, but rather a great role player, who is improving with each game played.