Luc Richard Mbah a Moute's ankles are healthy and his knees pain free. His body is more sculpted. But the biggest change since UCLA's exodus from the Final Four is something unseen.
Mbah a Moute, who is in Orlando, Fla., participating in the NBA's pre-draft camp, is confident in his jump shot, and that could be the key to whether he gets a chance to make an NBA roster or remains at UCLA for his senior season.
In declaring for the NBA draft but not signing with an agent, Mbah a Moute left open the opportunity to return to college. Yet he is shelling out a few thousand dollars to train for NBA workouts, and he enlisted Joe Abunassar to help him turn his inconsistent jump shot into an asset and work his way into the June 26 draft.
"Consistency is very important to me on a jump shot," said Abunassar, who runs Impact Basketball training company. "The real thing with Luc is getting him repetition. Luc needs to be a dangerous mid-range guy, which he's very much become.
"His 3-point shooting has gotten much, much better, and it's going to continue to improve. Mostly with him, it's the consistency of his release and his footwork."
Mbah a Moute, who is training at the Home Depot Center, has the ability to defend and rebound and strong instincts for the game.
But even as he declared his intention to enter the NBA draft, he acknowledged the need to shoot the basketball much better.
At 6-foot-8, Mbah a Moute played power forward the last three years at UCLA, but would be asked to play a lot of NBA games on the perimeter.
That means he must improve his perimeter game. His 3-point shooting (20 percent last season) is a red flag.
His inability to make a jump shot was highlighted in UCLA's national semifinal loss to Memphis. The Tigers' defensive plan was to double-team Kevin Love in the low post and allow Mbah a Moute to shoot open jump shots. Mbah a Moute finished 5-for-13 from the field, including several lay-ins.
"I've been taking so many shots while working out, I had to get better," Mbah a Moute said. "That's how you get your confidence, by taking all those shots. It becomes natural and you develop good habits."