Iowa ended the 2018-19 season with just one senior, Nicholas Baer. The six weeks since Iowa's season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tournament have featured a lot more departures than just one former walk-on turned beloved sixth man, though. Tyler Cook departed Iowa to enter the NBA Draft. Maishe Dailey left Iowa to transfer to Akron. Assistant coach Andrew Francis moved from Iowa to Cal. And now Isaiah Moss has become the latest Hawkeye to decide to move on from Iowa City.
Iowa wing Isaiah Moss will transfer and be eligible immediately for a new school, his father told @Stadium. Averaged 9.2 points per game this past season and shot 42 percent from 3.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) May 2, 2019
Moss' departure was confirmed by Iowa in a release on Thursday as well.
Moss is the second starter to leave the team after Cook, but while Cook's departure was widely expected, Moss' abrupt move comes as much more of a surprise. Moss became a starter early in his redshirt freshman season in 2016-17 and was a fixture in the starting lineup after that -- he started his final 96 games at Iowa. Statistically, his best season came as a sophomore; in 2017-18, Moss averaged 11.1 ppg on 41% field goal shooting, 87.9% free throw shooting, and 38.6% three-point shooting. He was second on the team in three-point percentage that year, behind only Jordan Bohannon at 43%. Moss improved his three-point shooting as a senior (42.1%, behind only Joe Wieskamp's 42.4% from behind the arc), though his other numbers stayed much the same as they had from his sophomore season.
Moss' role was very similar as a sophomore and as a junior. He averaged 24.2 minutes per game as a sophomore... and 24.1 minutes per game as a junior. In fact, the only starter who averaged fewer minutes (albeit slightly) was Luka Garza, who averaged 23.6 minutes per game last season. Of course, Garza's absences from the lineup were frequently tied to foul trouble; if he picked up a few quick fouls early in the game (as he was wont to do from time to time), his playing time would suffer as a result. Moss, in contrast, would sit for long stretches of the game for... reasons.
Of course, one reason Moss' playing time may have suffered was because of the very mercurial nature of his game. Which is sort of a nice way of saying that he had some consistency issues. When he was on, he could be the best player on the court for Iowa -- take his career high 32-point outing against Minnesota last year, when he 12/18 from the floor and 4/7 from 3-point range and seemed to have NBA JAM flames coming off him for most of the game. Or his scorching outing against Minnesota earlier this season, when he had 23 points on 8/14 shooting, 6/10 from deep. (He really liked playing against Minnesota for whatever reason.) He came up big in Iowa's final game of the season as well -- he had 16 points on 6/12 shooting (3/5 from deep), many of which kept Iowa afloat early in the game.
But there were also several games where Moss' presence was far less prominent. He had a four game stretch at the end of the year where he had 13 points over four games -- combined. (His shooting touch badly abandoned him in those games; he was 3/23 from the floor.) For the season, Moss had 15 games with 10 or more points -- and 20 games where he scored fewer than 10 points. Moss was never a major presence on the boards or as a distributor, so if his shots weren't falling, he often had a difficult time impacting a game.
None of that makes Moss a bad player -- but it does make him an inconsistent one, and a frustrating one at times. The glimpses we got of Moss at his best could be exhilarating; unfortunately those glimpses didn't occur as frequently as we would have liked to see. Now Moss is headed elsewhere for a final year -- he's a graduate transfer and will be able to play immediately at his new school -- and we wish him well, wherever he lands. If his bananas 3 to cut Tennessee's lead to one point late in the game was our final shot to remember Moss' Iowa career, well, it was a pretty great way to go out:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 24, 2019
Good luck, Isaiah.