Monday, April 22, 2019 | 2 a.m.
Moses Wood was not recruited by UNR out of high school, which is a little hard to believe.
His father David Wood played at the school (1985-87) and averaged 10.4 points per game for the Wolf Pack. After a seven-year NBA career, David settled in Reno and raised a family of ballers. Moses’s older brother Josiah even joined UNR for a short stint as a walk-on last year.
But despite all that history — and the fact that he scored more than 20 points per game as a senior at nearby Galena High School — Moses Wood couldn’t draw the interest of his hometown college.
“No, they didn’t recruit me,” Wood said. “It would have been nice to at least have the option to go there, but I think in the grand scheme of things it was for the better.”
Wood signed with Tulane as a 3-star recruit in the class of 2018, and after one fairly productive year in New Orleans with the Green Wave (4.5 points, 3.1 rebounds per game), he put his name in the transfer portal earlier this month. Once again, he did not hear from UNR.
Instead, one of the first teams to contact him was UNR’s in-state rival — UNLV. After a quick courtship, Wood made it official on Sunday when he committed to the Runnin’ Rebels.
Wood wasn’t exactly a stranger to the UNLV program. He played AAU ball for the Las Vegas Prospects, and current UNLV assistant DeMarlo Slocum attempted to recruit him to Utah out of high school. When Wood’s name popped up in the portal, Slocum reached out again, this time on behalf of UNLV and head coach T.J. Otzelberger.
“He was mentioning my name to coach Otzelberger,” Wood said. “And so they watched film on me and said they really liked me and they wanted to get me out there. So I ended up going out there on a visit and I loved it.”
Now Wood is part of the rivalry, a lifelong Reno resident and UNR legacy joining the underdog Rebels as they try to reclaim the upper hand in a series that has tilted decisively in UNR’s favor in recent years.
Wood may have ties to the north, but it didn’t take him long to sound like a lifelong Runnin’ Rebel after committing.
“I used to go to UNR games all the time,” Wood said, choosing his nomenclature carefully. “It’s definitely a crazy rivalry. I’m obviously committed to UNLV and I’m ready to try and get a Mountain West Conference championship. I’m all red now, baby.”
Of course, Wood won’t get to take part in the on-court battles next year, as he’ll have to sit out the 2019-20 season as a redshirt. But once he becomes eligible he’ll have three full seasons to duke it out with UNR, and he could make a big impact.
At 6-foot-8 and 200 pounds, Wood has the size to stretch the floor as an outside-shooting power forward in Otzelberger’s offense. He made 37.3 percent of his 3-point attempts at Tulane last year, which would have ranked him second on UNLV.
Wood said he has the versatility to play either forward spot, but that he spoke with Otzelberger about adding 15 pounds or so during his redshirt year in order to handle the physicality of playing power forward full-time.
“We talked about that a lot, actually,” Wood said. “He definitely said I can play the 3 or the 4. I’d say I’m a spot-up shooter, rebounder, and I can grind it out in the paint. I can post up for a play or two. Like a stretch-4, to be honest.”
Wood said he will wrap up the semester at Tulane before returning to Las Vegas in June to commence summer workouts with the Rebels. But he understands that as far as UNLV fans are concerned, he’s one of them now.
“I know the fan support for the UNLV basketball program is crazy and the history behind it is awesome,” Wood said. “I’m really happy I came.”