(Editor's note: University of Montana news release)
MISSOULA — Aanen Moody dazzled Montana fans with his shot-making and showmanship in 2022-23, and he’s bringing his play-making back to Dahlberg Arena for one final season. He will do so as a preseason all-Big Sky Conference pick, the league announced Thursday.
He joins Ethan Price (Eastern Washington), Steven Verplancken Jr. (Weber State), Brayden Parker (Idaho State), and Jorell Saterfield (Portland State) on the All-Conference team. Weber State’s Dillon Jones was a unanimous selection for the Preseason MVP.
Moody earned second-team all-Big Sky honors in 2022-23 after a season in which he led Montana with 16.1 points per game. The newcomer found his groove late in the season, leading Montana to a second-half resurgence that included seven wins in the final eight games of the season. He averaged over 20 points per game during the stretch.
He started his career at North Dakota before moving to Southern Utah for two seasons. He moved to Missoula in the summer of 2022 looking for an expanded role, and found one on the 17-win Grizzly team. The move was also made to get him closer to his home in North Dakota, which made travel easier for the father of two.
“These guys put in a lot of hard work, and for a young man like himself to relocate his family and be fortunate to find a system and program that fit, and then explode the way he did last year, you want to see a young man like that go out with a bang,” head coach Travis DeCuire said. “For him to have expectations not only for himself, but from other coaches and the media is good.”
Moody has scored 1,116 career points across his three stops and has been an elite shooter no matter where he has been. Last year, Moody connected on 70 of 172 three-point attempts (40.7 percent). He was one of just 15 active players last season with more than 500 career three-point attempts and a career three-point percentage over 39.5 percent.
The 70 three-pointers were the most in a single season by a Grizzly player since Brandon Gfeller made 72 in 2015-16.
Moody also averaged 3.4 rebounds per game and dished out 50 assists. He was third on the team with 22 steals while playing a team-high 34.4 minutes per game.
The Grizzlies were picked to finish second in the Big Sky by the league’s coaches in the preseason polls released on Wednesday. Moody’s play this season will be a crucial if Montana has dreams of cutting down the nets in Boise this March.
“We will enjoy the roller-coaster ride that comes with the season, but hopefully at the end of the year he’s on the winning side and has some individual accolades to go with it,” DeCuire said.
2023-24 Men’s Basketball Preseason All-Conference Team
Dillon Jones, Weber State (MVP)
Aanen Moody, Montana
Ethan Price, Eastern Washington
Steven Verplancken Jr., Weber State
Brayden Parker, Idaho State
Jorell Saterfield, Portland State