As expected, Mike Moser is not returning to UNLV for his senior season. But he’s not planning to enter the NBA Draft.
Moser is set to graduate in July and transfer to Washington, where he would be eligible to play next season.
Rebels coach Dave Rice, who is in Atlanta for the Final Four, called Moser on Friday afternoon after several media outlets reported the story.
The two had not talked since the season ended March 21. Moser did not attend a team meeting last week.
“Mike said, ‘I enjoyed my experience here, and I’m looking for a different opportunity,’” Rice said. “He said he wanted to be recruited by other schools. I appreciate having him for two years. I’m very excited for him, and I told him I would help him any way I could.”
Rice said he is granting Moser’s request to be released from his scholarship. Moser, free to transfer to any school outside of the Mountain West, told Rice that Washington is a “possibility” but not a certainty.
A source familiar with the situation said Moser’s move to the Huskies is a “done deal,” and that Washington coach Lorenzo Romar convinced Moser he is not ready for the NBA and would benefit from a year of exposure in the Pacific 12 Conference.
A 6-foot-8-inch forward, Moser was considered one of the top 10 players in the nation entering this season. He suffered a dislocated right elbow in a game at California on Dec. 9, and his playing time and production dropped off significantly.
His unhappiness with a reduced role likely led to his decision to transfer, though Moser declined to comment Friday.
Moser’s junior season turned sour after his elbow injury. He averaged 7.1 points and 6.1 rebounds while playing in 28 of 35 games for the Rebels.
In his final game at UNLV, he had five points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench in a 64-61 loss to Cal in the NCAA Tournament.
As a sophomore, he led the team in scoring (14.0) and rebounding (10.5) and was voted first-team All-Mountain West.
Moser, who is from Portland, Ore., played at UCLA as a freshman before transferring to UNLV, where he redshirted for the 2010-11 season.
He considered entering the NBA Draft last summer, when he was projected to be a second-round pick.
Freshman forward Anthony Bennett declared for the NBA Draft on Monday, and Moser becomes the fifth player to depart the program. The Rebels also lost seniors Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins and Quintrell Thomas.
Moser’s exit does not free a scholarship for UNLV. Anticipating the losses of Bennett and Moser, Rice has five players in his incoming recruiting class. The Rebels are deep on the front line, a fact that alleviates Rice’s concerns over losing Moser.
Khem Birch, Savon Goodman, Roscoe Smith and Demetris Morant return as forwards, and 6-10 Chris Wood from Findlay Prep is expected to be an impact player as a freshman.
The future for forward Carlos Lopez-Sosa could be determined next week. Lopez-Sosa is in position to graduate and return for his senior season, transfer or turn professional.
Contact reporter Matt Youmans at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.