Auburn Hills — By now, the travel is getting a bit old for Moses Kingsley, the 6-foot-10 forward from Arkansas who is hoping his athleticism and defensive skills — with a bit of offensive potential as well — is enough to make him a late-round selection in next week’s NBA draft.
Kingsley, a second-team All-SEC player who averaged 12 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game as a senior, was one of four players the Pistons hosted for a pre-draft workout Friday, along with Steve Taylor Jr. (Toledo), Tyler Roberson (Syracuse) and Rashawn Thomas (Texas A&M Corpus-Christi). For Kingsley, a 22-year-old Nigerian, it marked his 11th and final NBA visit of the spring, capping another busy week that began with workouts for the Knicks and Nets in New York.
But as a prospect who tested the draft waters last spring before deciding to return to Arkansas for his senior season, the age-old question is nothing new.
“I mean, some people will say, ‘Well, you’re 22, you’re older,’” said Kingsley, a 230-pounder who also earned All-SEC defensive team honors this spring. “But I don’t think so. You’re still pretty young. You still have a ceiling to (reach.) It’s not like 22 is 27 or 28. You get stronger before you get hit in the NBA, and I feel like you get mentally ready for whatever, because you stayed all four years. I know NBA is tougher than college, but then again, four years of college, that’s a lot.”
Whether it’s enough, Kingsley will find out soon enough.
He didn’t play much his first two years in college, sitting behind Bobby Portis, who now plays for the Chicago Bulls and has been an occasional workout partner and sounding board this spring as he goes through the entire draft process. And after being voted SEC preseason player of the year, his senior year didn’t quite live up to expectations.
But after the Razorbacks’ strong finish, including a near-miss against eventual national champ North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Kingsley is out to prove he’s still got the kind of upside to match his 7-foot-2 wingspan. And he insists he doesn’t regret sticking around to finish what he started in college.
“First of all, you get your degree, which no one can take away from you,” he said.
Beyond that, one of the lessons Kingsley will fall back on now is one he learned early in college, biding his time behind another future NBA talent.
“It taught me how to be patient,” he said. “Sometimes stuff doesn’t come, and you’ve just got to wait.”