Former Ole Miss players Moody and Gielo look to continue basketball careers
A little over a month ago, former Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody was receiving interest from a handful of teams in the National Football League, but Moody turned down their offers because he wants to continue playing basketball.
Though Moody, a 5-10, 179-pound combo guard, is not found on Ford’s mock draft or the DraftExpress.com latest mock draft, he would be a great asset to any team who signs him.
Moody works out for the Bucks
On Thursday, Moody had a chance to show the Milwaukee Bucks he’s worthy of being drafted. Joining him was Syracuse freshman guard Malachi Richardson. Richardson, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound prospect, is projected as the No. 16 selection by DraftExpress.com and is the No. 21 pick (to Atlanta) in Chad Ford’s mock draft on ESPN.com.
Senior forward Georges Niang (6-9) of Iowa State, senior guard Maodo Lo (6-3) of Columbia, a native of Berlin, Germany and two French prospects, 6-5 guard Isaia Cordinier and 6-8 power forward Guerschon Yabusele also worked out for the Bucks.
Talented Moody prefers NBA over football
So even though several NFL teams showed interested in Moody, his heart is with basketball and he refuses to go another route–despite an athletic ability that would allow him to play another sport such as football.
After the Rebels were eliminated by Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament back in March, NFL teams contacted Moody about being a defensive back–and why wouldn’t they? He has a 44-inch vertical and runs a 4.4, which isn’t too far behind the 4.33 40-yard dash times of the defensive backs at the NFL Combine back in late February.
In his final season as a Rebel, Moody made 208 of 509 shots from the field, which included a 103 of 272 effort from deep. Though he was the driving force behind the Ole Miss offense, Moody did not receive an invite to the NBA Draft Combine in May, which didn’t sit well with him as he called it “disappointing.”
Despite some of the criticism he has heard, Moody feels he has proven he has what it takes to have his name called in next Thursday night’s NBA Draft, or to receive a call up to the D-League or go overseas.
“If I don’t get drafted, some teams they’ll bring in guys for workouts and sign them,” Moody said. “That’ll be my only interest in playing in the D-League because I feel like with everything I have done, if a team isn’t trying to pick me what else can I do?”
Moody was one of the most explosive guards last season in the SEC and even went from shooting guard to point guard because his Ole Miss team needed him to do so. As a result, Moody averaged 23.6 points per game, which led the SEC, and was ranked sixth nationally. He scored 43 and 39 points in two of his final three games against Mississippi State and the Crimson Tide to help the Rebels reach 20-plus wins in eight of the past 10 seasons under their current head coach Andy Kennedy.
“I’ve done everything, every which way, against the top players in the country,” Moody said, “but still wasn’t getting recognition as one of the top players in the country for the some reason.”
Regardless of what happens next, the Kissimmee, Florida native is proud of what he has accomplished thus far. “Everything that (Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy) told me could happen if I came here and applied myself did happen, so I’m definitely grateful for that,” Moody said. One thing that did happen was Moody’s graduation with his criminal justice degree.
“It’s a big accomplishment, you know,” Moody said.
Tomasz Gielo’s pre-draft workouts
Forward Tomasz Gielo is in the same situation as Moody, trying to impress scouts and make sure NBA executives know that he’s worthy of an opportunity to play professionally.
Gielo, a 6-9, 220-pound Poland native, had a workout session for the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, along with Michael Bryson (6-4/201, UC Santa Barbara), A.J. English (6-4/180, Iona), Dyshawn Pierre (6-8/223, Dayton), Jarrod Uthoff (6-10/214, Iowa), and Georges Niang (6-9/231, Iowa State).
At his size and weight, Gielo will most likely play a stretch four in the NBA but will need to have a reliable outside jump shot to be an asset to an NBA team. After Tuesday’s workout with Philadelphia, Gielo felt good about where he stands.
“I just want to show them that I’m capable of doing whatever they want me to do,” Gielo said. “If it is guarding somebody that’s shorter than me. I have pretty good length. I can guard the three spot, two spot. I can do a lot of things on the court. I hope I showed it today.”
Gielo averaged 9.9 points per game last season for Ole Miss, while shooting 81.1 percent from the foul line and 35.1 percent from long range.
NBA Draft: The NBA Draft will be held in Brooklyn on Thursday, June 23, 2016 and will be televised live on ESPN.
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.