Arkansas junior center Moses Kingsley put in a lot of effort on improving his game and reaped the rewards of that on Tuesday morning.
Kingsley (6-10, 230), averaging a team-leading 16.1 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game this season, was named second-team All-SEC and to the league’s All-Defensive team while Kentucky guard Tyler Ulis was named both the SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Kingsley was also named to the All-District VII Team by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association
District VII consists of school from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas.
Kingsley admits this season’s production surprised him somewhat as the Razorbacks (16-15, 9-9) prepare for Thursday’s SEC Tournament game with Florida (18-13, 9-9).
“Maybe a little bit,” Kingsley said. “But I kind of knew that with that much work, anything can happen. The work I put in last summer paid off, and I'm glad it did.”
Kingsley improved his scoring output by 12.5 points and his rebounding by 6.8 boards from his sophomore season when he served mostly as a back-up for SEC Player of the Year Bobby Portis, now with the Chicago Bulls.
“It had to do with getting the opportunity, the minutes and all that,” Kingsley said. “Everything fell into place after getting the opportunity and getting the minutes. That boosted my confidence.”
Kingsley’s 15 double-double efforts this season are second only to LSU’s Ben Simmons, named the league’s top freshman.
He is also the SEC’s only center among the finalists for the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, given to the top center in the country.
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson was obviously pleased with Kingsley’s improvement.
“I'll tell you what, a guy that’s averaging maybe 3 or 4 points a game last year and rebounding and more was on his plate this year and there was an opportunity for him to go out and produce and he did it,” Anderson said. “And hats off to him. He put in the work.
“…I always say he had a good example right in front of him that was Bobby Portis. The amount of time he put in his game I thought we saw the results with in that with Moses.
“And the timing couldn’t be any better because we needed someone to be that guy we can go to and he was that guy. But in terms of exceeding...I think he's just starting to scratch the surface to tell you the truth.
“… A lot of things were thrown at him this year that he's never had to face and so think he's still learning the little mental parts of the game. But he's done a phenomenal job for us this year and I don’t think he's done yet this year when you talk about the way he's playing.”
Kingsley is joined on the All-District VII squad list by fellow SEC players Simmons and Texas A&M’s Jalen Jones and Danuel House with Simmons being named the District Player of the Year.
Kingsley said Monday that his intention was to return to school for his senior season and not explore the NBA Draft.
"Yeah," Kingsley said. "That's the plan for now. That's the plan. But I'm not thinking about all that right now. I'm just thinking about the next game, which is Florida."
Anderson said, "Once the season is over we'll sit down and we'll look and see what's best for Moses and he'll make that decision at that time. But right now as he said he's focused in on getting this team in the (NCAA) tournament, which is the automatic bid that comes from the SEC tournament."
Moses Kingsley scores over Ben Simmons earlier this season.