unlv basketball:

Mike Moser will return to UNLV for his junior season

After weighing his options about the NBA draft, Moser decided to bring his double-double average back to Las Vegas

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Sam Morris

UNLV forward Mike Moser is mobbed by fans after the Rebels beat North Carolina in the Las Vegas Invitational championship game, Nov. 26, 2011, at the Orleans Arena. The Rebels upset the top-ranked Tar Heels 90-80.

Sun, Apr 1, 2012 (12:15 p.m.)

UNLV just picked up its biggest recruit of the offseason.

Sophomore forward Mike Moser announced Sunday that he’s coming back for his junior season. Moser had spent the past few weeks gathering information about the NBA draft.

“I went through the process, talked with my mom, my AAU coach and coach Rice and the staff at UNLV,” Moser said. “We looked at all of my options, and in the end I decided it would be best for me to stay in school. We have a great team coming back and a great fan base. I believe in our program and I love playing in Las Vegas and for UNLV.”

Moser was a second-round pick in several mock drafts and in the last week ESPN’s Chad Ford moved him up to No. 47 in his top 100 rankings after not including Moser on the list at all. An honorable mention Associated Press All-American, Moser led the Rebels (26-9) with 14 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.

With Moser in the lineup, UNLV should start next season ranked in the top 25 and have a chance to do well in the NCAA Tournament. And since he’s going to be a redshirt junior, Moser is on pace to graduate next year.

“Two big factors were also for my mom to see me graduate and to have a chance to win a national championship,” Moser said. “I know I can improve and am looking forward to putting in the necessary hard work.”

Talks about Moser to the NBA sprouted up after his stellar start to the season, especially in the victory against then-No. 1 North Carolina. But that idea cooled in down the stretch as Moser seemed to hit a wall and stopped posting ridiculous rebounding numbers every game.

Still, the talent is clearly there, and with another year Moser has a chance to improve his draft stock while leading the Rebels to another level.

“We are excited that Mike will be returning to UNLV for the coming season,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “His success put him in position to have to make a difficult decision. Like Mike, we are all committed to working extremely hard in the offseason to build upon a very good year.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or taylor.bern@lasvegassun.com. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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