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Notre Dame Basketball

John Mooney Focused on NBA Draft Prep and New Shot

May 25, 2020
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John Mooney's accomplishments at Notre Dame are quite the list. 

The 6-foot-9 forward led the nation in double-doubles in 2019-20 with 25 and led the Power Five conferences in rebounds per game with 12.7.

The 25 double-doubles also set an ACC single-season record and if you didn't know, the ACC has had some pretty good big men come through it. 

Mooney now has turned his attention to NBA Draft prep back home in Orlando. 

"It's definitely weird, but that's my motivation," Mooney said of the draft. "I'm using it to stay in shape. It could be in June, so I have to be ready in June. If not, I'll have the ability to get some team workouts, which would benefit me a lot if it's dragged out. 

"I'm taking it day-by-day. I'm going to look at the positives of either situation." 

The NBA season is trending towards being played, but the NBA Draft is very much in the air as to when it will be held. 

If the NBA can get going in July, then the draft will likely get pushed to late summer or the early fall. 

"I've spoken to a couple of teams and everyone is still very uncertain," explained Mooney. "No one really knows what's going on. The first priority is getting the NBA season back up and running. 

"If the draft gets delayed until September or October, then that increases the chances of having team workouts in August or September. If the draft is in June, then there likely won't be any team workouts." 

There are advantages to both situations for Mooney, but a later draft date could be beneficial as he's changed his shot. 

The famous hitch is gone and the extra months could be valuable to develop more consistency from deep.

"I'm smoothing it out a little more, especially from the NBA line," stated Mooney. "I needed to be more consistent from that range.

"I didn't shoot it from deep as well as I wanted to this past year. I know at the next level, I'll have to shoot it better. Smoothing some things out was something I knew I needed to do and I feel I've done that." 

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey has been adamant in his stance of not changing a shot, so Mooney's shot never changed during his time in South Bend. 

The transition required work, but it was something Mooney wanted to do. 

"It was kind of natural," said Mooney. "At the end of the day, it's about getting reps up and once you feel comfortable, you have to rep it over and over. That's what I've tried to do over the last couple of months." 

Tinkering with his shot isn't the only aspect of his game he's working on during draft prep. Mooney has focused on foot speed to help him on the defensive end. 

"I think I'm an underrated athlete, but taking it to the next step is something I'm going to have to do," Mooney explained. "There are some defensive things where if I switch out on a ball screen and guard a guard - just little things like that." 

Mooney saw his college career end sooner than he wanted as the ACC Tournament was canceled as the Irish were on the way to the arena. 

"I can speak for all the guys and we were all disappointed with how it ended," Mooney said. "We were playing our best ball up until that point. To put in all the work in the spring, summer, fall, and to go the through the entire ride of the season - and really get better. We really were getting better.

"We had some momentum. We beat Boston College pretty easily and all of us were pretty amped to play Virginia and get some payback and make a run. I think we were about to do that."

Mooney wouldn't change a thing about his time at Notre despite not having the chance to end it on his terms. Dame. 

"I wouldn't have wanted to go through it with another group of guys," stated Mooney. "It was a tremendous ride. My time at Notre Dame was unbelievable and second to none. I wouldn't do it any other way.

"The silver lining is we went out with a win. Not many people can say that, so it's pretty cool." 

Mooney is on to the next phase of his career, but he wanted Notre Dame fans to know there is a player to keep an eye on next year.

"If there is one guy to watch out for next year that hasn't been seen by Irish fans, it'd be Cormac Ryan," said Mooney. "He's going to be a tremendous player. 

"He was really good in practice for us this past year. He couldn't play in games, but he practiced. He's a tremendous guy to be around on and off the floor. He's extremely positive and he became a leader this past year even though he wasn't playing. That's the type of person he is and an extremely hard worker. 

"He took it to the starting five in practice. That kid can really play and score. He can defend and move. He can do it all." 

The Mooney UND File

2020 All-ACC First Team

2020 NABC All-District II First-Team Selection

2020 USBWA All-District V Selection

2020 Karl Malone Award (Top Collegiate Power Forward) Top 10 Finalist

ACC Player of the Week (2/6/20)

Lute Olson National Player of the Week (11/18/19)

ACC Player of the Week (11/18/19)

2019 Men Against Breast Cancer Invitational Most Valuable Player

2020 All-ACC Academic Team

2019-20 USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy Watch List

2019-20 Preseason All-ACC First Team

2019-20 Karl Malone Award Watch List

2019 All-ACC Third Team

2018 Gotham Classic Showcase Game Most Outstanding Player

2017 ACC Academic Honor Roll

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John Mooney Focused on NBA Draft Prep and New Shot

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