Prior to Georgia Tech’s matchup with the Ball State Cardinals tomorrow night at McCamish Pavilion, Jackets Maven sat down at talked with recent Ball State graduate center Trey Moses.
A 4 year player in Muncie, IN, Moses finished his career with the Cardinals as the school record-holder for games played (132) second in blocks (139), fourth in rebounds (905), eighth in field goal percentage (53.1), 12th in games started (94) and 13th in assists (284). He currently is played professional basketball overseas in Bulgaria for BC Beroe.
SI’s Jackets Maven: How would you describe head coach James Whitford’s coaching style?
Trey Moses: I would say that he is a player’s coach. He’s gonna do whatever it takes to make his players happy but at the same time he wants to keep his philosophy intact. He’s not going to really bend much, but he will bend a little to change his ways. He’s a coach where if things aren’t working, he doesn’t carry a lot of pride. He allows his players or his assistant coaches to say different things like “I think we should change” or “I think we should try this”. There’s been plenty of times in my career where I was like “let’s run this play” or other players have said “yeah, let’s run this play or let’s get so-and-so the ball”, and he’s like “okay, let’s do it.” So he’s one of those guys that I think players love to play for. I loved playing for him. You can see it because he’s got two former guys on his staff that played for him.
SI’s Jackets Maven: What was the mentality going into the game against Notre Dame? (Ball State defeated Notre Dame 80-77 in South Bend on December 5th, 2017)
Trey Moses: So for us that was a year where we had a long road trip. First we went to Oklahoma, then we flew to Oregon then we flew to Bucknell, and then we flew into Notre Dame. That was a long road trip, and we went 0-3 before Notre Dame. Our team spirit was a little down. Oklahoma had Trae Young at the time, so they handled us pretty well. We were down 6 at the half against Oregon, and the second half just went wild. Then we lost by 4 in the next game. So we were a little down, but we looked at Notre Dame as a team that played fairly similar to us as far as playing style. They’re gonna play a little bit of pack-line defense. We weren’t a slow paced team but we weren’t going to score 100 points. We ran, we liked to get out a little bit, so they were the same way and we knew that going in. No matter if we won or lost, coach always says “never get too high, never get too low.” That’s something that sticks with me today. We went into that game saying we can do this, we can win. We were confident, especially early on midway through the half. I think we were up half 2 at the half (Ball State led 34-29 at the half), and we were like “we can actually do this”. So let’s just go ahead and do it.
SI’s Jackets Maven: How were Ishmael El-Amin, Kyle Mallers and Luke Bumbalough able to become the shooters they are today? (All 3 are shooting over 38% from beyond the arc)
Trey Moses: So Ish was my roommate on the road for two straight years, his freshman and sophomore year. So I spent a lot of time with Ish, him and I still talk today. He’s always had the confidence. He’s always been the guy that’s challenging guys to shoot before or after practice. He never really got the chances he does now, he played but he was behind Tayler Persons who was an All-MAC guy who’s now playing overseas. It’s tough to really get big minutes when you’re behind a guy like that. Now he’s finally getting it. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be All-MAC or Most Improved. He’s that good, and a guy that people need to watch out for. Kyle is the same way. He’s so quiet that you could sit in a room with him and not know he’s there. But when you get on the court, he’s gonna be a leader. He’s gonna talk to you, he’s gonna encourage you, and he’s gonna shoot lights out. You have to guard him. But at the same time, he’s got the ability to drive past you. He’s not like a super quick guy, but he knows how to use his body. He knows how to get past you. I don’t know Luke very well, I know him a little bit because he visited and I was on campus. But he’s one of those guys that just lit it up in high school. He was the talk of most of Indiana. He’s a great kid. I got to see practice a little bit this summer, and he was doing well. He’s a smaller guard but he was still defending. He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder, he’s a tough kid. All 3 I think are going to end up being really great players. I know our record isn’t great right now (5-4) but I have confidence. We’re a young team and things will turn.
SI’s Jackets Maven: What was it like going up against Tahjai Teague in practice and working out with him?
Trey Moses: So me and Tahjai were always on separate [practice] teams, so we always went against each other. He made me better and I made him better, 100%. For me in college, I looked at it like “I wanted to guard the best big”. Whether it was a 4 or a 5, I wanted to guard him. When we went up to Notre Dame, they had Tahjai on Bonzie Colson at first. Colson ended up with 25 points but he shot 2-9 on me. I want that challenge no matter who we’re playing. Tahjai kinda has that too. He has a little edge to him, especially on offense. You can’t guard him one-on-one. There’s few guys who can guard him one-on-one, you have to really either dig or double. It makes it tough because we have those 3 shooters. If all of them are on the court on the same time, it’s almost impossible.
SI’s Jackets Maven: How do they improve on their consistency on the offensive side of the floor?
Trey Moses: It makes it tough because they’re a young team. KJ Walton’s been out a little bit and he’s been a leader on the floor and the locker room. They’re such a young team, they’re playing anywhere from 2-3 freshman a game, and Kyle & Tahjai are the only seniors that are playing right now. So you’re working on trying to help those guys become consistent. When I was there this summer, guys were in the gym every single day. One of the managers talks about how all the guys are always in the gym. So it’s not like they’re not working hard, it’s just that getting those game reps is gonna come over time. Whatever happens over the rest of the non-conference schedule, it’s all about getting super consistent before MAC play. I think that’ll happen, the coaching staff is great as far as getting guys where they need to be. I think that our leaders in Tahjai, Ish, Kyle and KJ are really helping the young guys as well.
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