Kings Q&A: Eric Moreland
Sacramento’s Summer League rebounding and blocked-shots leader dishes on his pre-Draft and Las Vegas experience.
Heading into Sacramento’s fifth Summer League contest, Eric Moreland leads the team in rebounding (7.7 RPG) and blocked shots (2.3 BPG), while averaging 4.3 PPG on 57.1 FG%.
Prior to the Kings-Bulls showdown Saturday at 5 p.m. on NBA TV, Kings.com took a two-minute timeout with the 6-foot-10 forward/center, who also ranks among Las Vegas’ Top 5 in blocked shots.
How would you characterize your time at Oregon State?
“I had a lot of ups and downs at Oregon State, but I learned a lot of things and grew up a lot there as a person. Through my hard times, the coaching staff stuck with me and worked with me.”
What was the pre-Draft process like for you?
“Right after the season, I had a lot of workouts – I was in Houston, I was in Florida – and I tried to put on a little bit of weight. I weighed 213 during the season and now I’m like 230. I still have a lot more weight to add, but I made some progress. When I came to Sacramento, I was playing against (Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton and Noah Vonleh). I was originally going to switch my workout because I was so booked and because I was on the other side of the world, but the coaching staff suggested that I come to the one (I attended) because of the high-level talent. In all, I think there were three lottery picks there. I excelled at the workout and [the coaching staff] liked me, so they called me back for a second workout. I really like the coaching staff – they seem like they want to get after it, but at the same time they are down to earth.”
What made you want to join Sacramento’s Summer League team?
“I was really looking forward to working with [Sacramento’s] five-returning roster players. For me, I couldn’t do that with a lot of other Summer League teams. I could have been more comfortable playing with other teams, because everybody would be trying to learn the plays at the same time. Here, they have a lot of players who know this team – it’s only (Brendan) Lane and I trying to learn new plays. It’s gone by a lot faster than I thought it would. I’ve had to learn how to make the right reads and get the right spacing. You have to understand that everything the coaching staff says is important.”
How would you rate your performance in the first couple of games?
“The first two games I was still learning to play two positions. But I’m learning the terminology every day and it’s coming along really nicely. I’m the tallest on this team – besides Sim [Bhullar] – so I can play either the four or five. Actually, I don’t think I’ve been scored on at the five. I’m not ready to guard Dwight Howard, but it shows that I can be a rim protector. The main thing I want to show the coaches is that I have a high motor, I can rebound the ball and I can block shots. Coach [Michael Malone] values players who can win those 50-50 balls, players with the intangibles and players who can get second-chance points – I feel like I can do all of that to help a team win.”
What would it mean to you to finish Summer League strong?
“I know this organization wants to win. I wasn’t on a winning team at Oregon State – actually, I’ve never been on a winning team – so I just want to help my team win the championship this time and contribute. That would mean a lot to me.”