After sitting out a season transferring from UTEP to Mississippi State, Arnett Moultrie
is trying to make up for lost time in his junior year. He's posting the best numbers of his career by far and appears to have made some significant progress in a few areas as a player. His play thus far is a big reason why the Bulldogs 13-3, ranked in the top-25, and have played well against top competition, as he leads the team in scoring and rebounds.
Not much has changed from a physical perspective for Moultrie since the last time we saw him play. He's still a very good athlete with all the running and leaping ability a big man prospect could need, while possessing excellent size and length at 6'11. He still needs to continue to get stronger, but has the frame needed to do so as he matures physically over the next few years.
On the offensive end, Moultrie is clearly at his best when he can utilize his excellent tools off the ball, attacking the basket on cuts and offensive rebounds. His length and leaping ability make him an alley-oop machine in the halfcourt, frequently getting open around the rim and throwing down any pass that comes his way. On more contested opportunities, Moultrie is a strong finisher around the rim, usually relying on finesse a little more than he probably should, but showing good touch and ability to use his length to get shots off.
Moultrie is equally dangerous finishing on put-back opportunities, where he shows good pursuit and much more of a mean streak than in other areas of his game. He pulls in an excellent 5.2 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes and is a great finisher in these situations when he goes right back up. He shows a strong second bounce and is more prone to finishing with power in these situations, having no qualms about throwing down a dunk when he has the chance.
Despite his best offensive strengths clearly being off the ball, both at this level and projecting forward, Moultrie also sees a good share of opportunities operating with his back to the basket, where his game is still developing and not as effective. His footwork and ability to protect the ball are both still raw, and he doesn't have a go-to move at this stage. He shows decent potential with his right-handed hook shot, but gets very inconsistent and inaccurate as he gets outside of five feet from the basket.
Moultrie actually looks at his best in the post when he's able to play more of a power game, taking advantage of his size and length to finish over the opposition or drawing contact and getting to the free throw line. Against higher caliber opponents, there is less opportunity for him to do this effectively, and it would be even harder in the NBA, so this area of his game still needs plenty of work.
One of the most interesting developments for Moultrie this season is his stellar shooting at the free throw line, where he's hitting a scorching 87% of his attempts, way up from 65% as a sophomore and 54% as a freshman. He's done it on a modest sample size of 68 attempts, so it'll be interesting to see if it holds up over time, but he's getting to the line at a strong rate and likely could do the same at the next level, so this could be a very useful skill for him to have.
Moultrie's excellent free throw shooting is also translating to the rest of the floor, where he's hit 8-of-20 jump shots this season according to Synergy Sports Technology, along with a surprising 3-for-5 from three-point range. This area of his game is still a work in progress, but projecting to the next level where his post game may have a tough time translating, this will be very helpful for him to find a consistent role in the league.
On the defensive end, Moultrie has progressed significantly from his time at UTEP, looking much better from a fundamentals standpoint both in the post and on the perimeter. Defending down low, Moultrie shows decent understanding of leverage and using his forearm to hold his position, while also doing a good job getting his hands up to contest shots with his length. Unfortunately, Moultrie is still lacking in strength and is prone to being backed down by bigger opponents, also lacking a bit of toughness at times, shying away from contact.
His motor is not always consistent, as he tends to go through stretches of inactivity where he'll jog the floor lackadaisically and not put in a great effort. To his credit, though, this has been less of an issue this season than it was in the past.
Moultrie does a better job on the perimeter, showing a very good, low stance and moving his feet well for his size. He's usually pretty active getting up into his man and does a good job staying with him on drives, using his length well to contest shots in the lane. He hasn't been tested much in pick-and-rolls, and the competition he's faced on the perimeter in general is a far cry from what he'd see in the NBA, but he definitely appears to have the ability to be a solid defender on the perimeter for a big man.
The most troubling aspect of Moultrie's defense, however, is him being a complete non-factor a shot blocker and not much on team defense in general. With his size, length, and athleticism, he's still averaging less than one block in 33 minutes per game, a troubling number on the Bulldogs' 111th ranked defense according to kenpom.com. His general approach to playing team defense is a bit concerning at times, as he doesn't put in much of an effort in terms of making rotations and protecting the paint, not always looking willing or interested to do the little things needed to get his team stops.
Despite his strides in many areas of his game, Moultrie's success on the glass probably remains his strongest selling point as a prospect, as he's pulling in an excellent 13.5 rebounds per pace adjusted 40 minutes, 11th best in our database. Moultrie shows excellent pursuit on the glass along with the length and mobility to often go out of his area to pull in caroms.
Looking forward, Moultrie brings a lot of positive things to the table from an NBA perspective, and has done a good job taking his game to the next level while waiting to transfer. He's getting solid national attention from his team's standing and would definitely be benefited by some postseason success for the Bulldogs. Moultrie's rebounding, ability to finish off the ball, and developing jump shot are all strong assets from an NBA perspective, and the more he consistently showcases that in the remainder of the season, the better it will do for his stock.
With his outstanding physical attributes and clear-cut NBA upside, Moultrie is the type of prospect who could move up draft boards quickly with a strong NCAA tournament or impressive workouts.