LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - UALR head men's basketball coach Steve Shields announced Friday that junior guard Matt Mouzy has been placed on scholarship. A native of Jonesboro, Ark., Mouzy spent his first two seasons at UALR as a walk-on, including a sophomore campaign in which he averaged 10.1 points per game and led the Trojans with 73 made three pointers.
"I think that he's paid his dues the first two years and shown that he belongs in the Sun Belt Conference," said Shields. "I think he's deserving of a scholarship at this point."
Mouzy played in all 31 games with 18 starts as a sophomore, leading the Trojans in made three pointers, three-point percentage (.382) and steals (36). He ended the year ranked fourth in the Sun Belt in made three pointers per game, eighth in steals per game and 11th in three-point shooting. He scored in double figures 16 times on the year and led the Trojans in scoring on seven occasions.
"Matt has a work ethic that is second to none. He epitomizes the term gym rat. He's just a self-made player," said Shields. "He can do one thing exceptionally well, and that's shoot the basketball. He has continued to work extremely hard on the other areas of his game, most notably on the defensive end. He's continuing to work on his ball-handling and his passing as well. I expect him to have a very solid junior year."
Mouzy was an All-State selection as a senior at Nettleton High School after averaging 23.5 points per game. He chose to walk-on at UALR in hopes of earning a scholarship and proving himself at the Division I level, and gradually worked his way onto the court through hard work in practice. He ended up playing in 18 games as a freshman and gave the Trojans a spark by shooting 42.9 percent from three-point range while averaging 5.5 points per game in conference play.
"Trying to earn a scholarship was my plan coming here. After two years of working hard, coach Shields was good enough to grant me one," said Mouzy. "I've got to continue to be a contributor to this team and continue to do what I do best on the court - work my butt off in practice and all of that. I can't just lie down and say, ‘Hey, I've got a scholarship and that's all I need to do.' I've got to keep working hard, probably even harder."
As a sophomore, Mouzy ranked second on the team in total minutes played (890), averaging 28.7 minutes per game. His two biggest games came in wins over Loyola Marymount and Florida International. Against LMU, Mouzy shot 8-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from three-point range on his way to a 21-point performance. He scored a career-high 23 points against FIU by going 6-of-10 from the field, 6-of-6 at the foul line, and 5-of-7 from three-point range.
"Effort is not something you have to coach with Matt. He is a very confident player, and that's one of the things you want in all your players," said Shields. "He's not a guy who's going to drop his head after he misses a shot or turns it over. That is not going to affect his next three shots. He plays extremely hard on every possession and with a lot of confidence."
Placing Mouzy on scholarship brings the Trojans to the limit of 13 players for the upcoming 2009-10 season. Last season, UALR went 23-8 on its way to the program's fourth Sun Belt Conference division title in six seasons under Shields.
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