By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
BENTON, Ky. – Moses Kingsley was a rumor come true at New Albany. A near 7-foot exchange student from Nigeria, he arrived in Union County and despite a limited basketball background, his size had him on the radar of college coaches.
Kingsley’s talent was especially evident on the defensive side. His first season as a sophomore, he helped the Bulldogs to the Class 4A state semifinals with 3.2 blocks, 6.3 rebounds and 7.6 points per game.
As a junior, Kingsley had a team-high 12.4 points per game and averaged 10.5 rebounds and 7 blocks, second in the state and ninth in the country in blocks.
Then he moved. In August, the 6-foot-10, 220-pound center transferred to Huntington (W Va.) Prep, a Top 5 national team. Kingsley has since signed with Arkansas.
His team features the top-ranked prospect Andrew Wiggins, three Kentucky targets and a Tennessee commit.
“It was hard, but sometimes you’ve got to make decisions to go forward in life,” Kingsley said after a win over Memphis Briarcrest on Saturday in the Marshall County Hoop Fest. “I miss almost everything about New Albany, my friends, classmates, my family I lived with, my coaches, my teammates, all of them.”
Kingsley and the Express improved to 7-0 over the weekend. He had three points and three blocks in 12 minutes in a win over Briarcrest.
He made 9 of 10 shots for 19 points and had five blocks and five boards Friday against Memphis East.
“I want to improve on my back-to-the-basket game, on my offense in general,” Kingsley said. “Every day I’m getting better … against the top players in the country.”
Huntington was drawn to Kingsley’s shot-blocking and lane defense. Coach Rob Fulford said Kingsley sees more up-tempo success. He struggled guarding Briarcrest big man Austin Nichols in the halfcourt Saturday night.
“Moses is going to be a contributor for anybody’s team. He’s such a force on the defensive end and his offensive game has steadily improved,” New Albany coach Brad Gray said.
Fulford says his struggles are a product of a late bloomer, a guy still learning English. Adding to the setbacks, Kingsley went home to Africa just before the start of school and contracted malaria. He was in ICU for four days.
“He hasn’t been playing long. The feel of the game has got to come. When the game is up-tempo, he doesn’t have to think as much. He can just play,” Fulford said. “You’re never going to have to tell him to play hard.”