NBA Draft consumers and/or college basketball fans may have taken notice of the Texas Tech Red Raiders this season, if only because Chris Beard’s team reached the national title game and eventual No. 6 pick Jarrett Culver acted as a widely projected possibility for the Atlanta Hawks in the 2019 class. While the Red Raiders did not boast off-the-charts talent surrounding Culver, Texas Tech did have an intriguing guard in Matt Mooney and, on Friday, a report emerged from Darren Wolfson that Mooney will be joining the Hawks.
Was hoping to hear news of Matt Mooney landing with #Twolves, especially with the Culver connection. But they didn't make an offer. He's heading to the Atlanta Hawks. Recency bias, but developed a man-crush watching him at @usbankstadium.— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) June 21, 2019
Following the initial reporting, a source confirms that an agreement is in place for Mooney to be added to Atlanta’s Summer League roster.
Later, Mooney announced the agreement on his Twitter account.
As some of you have heard, I've agreed to play with the Atlanta Hawks in the NBA summer league. #NextStep #Deuteronomy31:8— Matt Mooney (@MoonSwag13) June 21, 2019
Mooney was not on the radar as a draft prospect in a broad sense, mostly due to his limited athletic tools and advanced age. The 6’3, 200-pound guard is already 24 years old after a college tenure that included three programs — Air Force and South Dakota before arriving at Texas Tech — and six (!) full seasons. Mooney’s college start was delayed at Air Force when he missed his true freshman campaign after suffering a broken fibula in a bicycle crash and, in the middle of his collegiate run, he was forced to sit for an entire season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Upon arrival at Texas Tech, though, Mooney enjoyed a strong performance as a senior, acting as a key cog in the team’s NCAA Tournament run on the way to All-Tournament team honors. In addition, he was named second team All-Big 12 as a senior and Mooney connected on 38 percent of his three-point attempts (37 percent over his four-year career).
While the limited size is an issue for Mooney in some ways, his combination of shooting and defensive acumen is appealing. He was a high-end defender in college, both on the ball and within a team scheme, and Mooney is certainly worthy of an extended summer league evaluation.
As with any summer league invite, Mooney has an unlikely path to the full-time roster in Atlanta. Still, he fits the bill as a potentially useful piece and Mooney should be playing professional basketball somewhere when the 2019-20 season commences.