What an honor to chop it up on the phone with Adrian Moss, the Senior captain of the legendary 2006 NCAA Champion University of Florida Gators. We love our 04′s, but I distinctly remember Joakim Noah saying how great it was to send their senior out with a ring. Adrian has some of the best stories I’ve ever heard and he’s got one of the most diverse tastes in music I ever encountered as well. Without further ado, here’s the official 1st Bricks & Palm Trees Q&A with our guy Adrian Moss:
BPT: What’s up big fella! It’s been 7 years since your career at University of Florida ended in stylish fashion with the 06 championship. Where are you currently and where has your professional career taken you though the years?
AM: I’m in Houston, Texas. Getting ready to go to South America today, I’m going to play in the Summer League in Uruguay. Then I’ll probably head back over to Europe for the season. I’ve played in Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, all over. I’ve got 2 more continents to hit, and then I’ll be around the world. I get to see the world, play a little ball, and make a little money.
Does your international career allow you to still keep up with the #GatorBoyz?
I always bump in to them! I bump into Matt Walsh, Anthony Roberson. Walsh, Brent Wright, and J-Ham (Justin Hamilton) were all on the same team in Belgium! I played against Lee Hump (Humphrey) in Germany to! I was in Argentina and they kept talking about an American who shoots all the time named “Robertson”. I’m in the lobby, I hear a voice and it’s Peep (Roberson)! I wake up at 3 in the morning if I have to, to watch the Florida games. I live and die by my Gators; I live and die by my team.
That’s awesome, great to hear! With three straight Elite 8 NCAA tournament appearances, it’s safe to say that the program is returning to the excellence of those 06 & 07 teams. Let’s rewind a bit to your Gator days. What was it like playing under Billy D and the other coaches?
It was an experience, a learning experience. You grow up a lot during that time. Coach Donovan and the other coaches constantly teach being a man. They teach basketball, but teach life more. They give you all the keys you need to deal with adversity.
The 06 & 07 championship teams get a lot of attention, but I want to start one year earlier with the 05 SEC Championship team that you were a part of. 8 players on that team played in at least 1 NBA season (Lee, Walsh, Roberson, Richard, Noah, Horford, Green, Brewer). That’s incredible- what were those practices like?
Practices were competitive, harder than the games. Out of all the Big’s I played against, only me and Bonnell Colas didn’t make the league.
And you, Bonnell & Lee Humphrey have all carved out success internationally! The very next year, you were the lone senior on that team. How was it being the Senior captain on the 06 championship team?
It was a little different because there was a big age gap. I graduated at age 24, they couldn’t even drink! I love those guys; I still talk to them all the time. When Corey was on the Mavericks, it was Game 6 in Dallas, I called Corey and said “Bro, I need tickets.” He said, “They’ll be there for you Moss.” I got to go the game and then we went out that night to, had a great time.
Did the team have any nicknames for you being the old guy?
“Uncle Moss”, I remember “Boss”.
Pretty appropriate. The 04’s (Noah, Horford, Brewer, Green) got a lot of press but I always felt that people forgot how imposing the overall frontcourt was with You, Chris Richard, Joakim and Al. Did you big guys have a special camaraderie that last season?
We wanted to be known as the best Big’s in the country. When you got your chance, you came in, you did your job and then you cheered for the next guy. There was no bickering, none of that. None of that from a team with so much talent.
You also played against big men like David Lee, Udonis Haslem, and Matt Bonner. Which big man during your UF days gave you most trouble during practice?
All of em!
Was it hard to come in as a freshman and have to play behind Udonis?
It was crazy. You’ve got to remember, I came in with 2 McDonald’s All-Americans. My freshman year I came in with David & James White. I was used to being in the shadow a little. Those guys earned their spots and I knew I had to earn mine.
This upcoming season we’ll see tremendous frontcourt depth with Pat Young, Will Yeguete, the addition of Chris Walker, and Damontre Harris and Dorian Finney-Smith becoming eligible. We’ll even throw Casey Prather in the mix because he can play the 4 in a smaller line-up and can def throw down on anybody.
Big fan of Casey Prather, big fan.
Do you think the inside presence will be the key for this upcoming squad?
Yeah, I do. If they learn how to mesh and play together, gel and come together, the frontcourt and the backcourt, I don’t see why they can’t win it all. They will have the tools they need and they need a bit of luck. You always do, the ball to bounce their way a couple times, but I don’t see why they can’t win it all.
Alright, let’s switch it up. Let’s do a lighthearted word association. We’ll say a word or phrase and you say the first word or phrase that comes to mind. Ready?
First one, Billy Donovan.
Greatest coach I’ve ever played for.
Motor that no on can match, great dude.
Great shooter, 2nd best shooter to come through the Florida program.
Who’s the first?
Great dude, I’ve never seen a crowd ride a player like that.
Long. Athletic runner, jumper.
Great dude, great point guard. Leader.
Athletic! Great rebounder. Led the league in double-double’s, Cmon.
University of Kentucky
Hate em. Bottomline.
Impartial, I lost to them maybe once.
Defines “Winning”. Happy to see him get out of NY.
That was awesome man, great job. Couple more easy questions and then we’ll let you go. How about a Headphones Check-in: What’s in your iPod that you listen to pregame to get hype?
Probably some old Rage Against The Machine. Maybe some old Fiona Apple, some J Cole, Coltrane, Kanye’s first mixtape. Whatever I feel like that day.
Who was your favorite player in the NBA growing up?
Hakeem, being a Houston kid.
Did you model your game after any specific player as you got older?
I tried Tim Duncan, but that didn’t work out too good (laughter). The greatest power forward to ever play the game.
Who was your favorite Gator to watch before you played for UF?
Man, probably Dupay. Old Ted!
Who has been one of your favorite Gators to watch after your UF career?
I enjoyed watching Murphy’s (Eric) maturation the most. He has a real good shot at staying in the league a while.
Adrian, we can’t thank you enough for taking the time for this Q&A. You’re a legend in our eyes, we wish you all the success in the world and we’re very thankful you are a one of the #GatorBoyz!