COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Wendell Moore Jr. might no longer be the top prospect in the Class of 2019 as far as the rankings go, but try telling him that.
Moore is getting his second taste of USA Basketball after attending minicamp last year and he was one of 16 players named to Team USA for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship scheduled for June 14-18 in Argentina.
His AAU coach Andy Poplin once said he thinks Moore will be an NBA lottery pick someday, but Moore knows there is a lot of work to do between now and then.
“Andy is a great coach,” he said. “He’s one of the top coaches in North Carolina — maybe even in the country — for him to say I could be an NBA lottery pick is a huge accomplishment. At the same time, I need to work on some things to get to there.”
Moore plays for CP3 in the NIKE EYBL U16 and is averaging 14.2 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game.
While his numbers are nice — he’s already amassed 1,339 points in 62 varsity games for Cox Mill High School (N.C.) – he says the work he puts in is more about the little things.
“The biggest thing I’ve been working on is my motor,” he said. “My mindset coming into games is I need to be that guy and do the little things, take over the scoring, just playing constant all the time and develop an outside jump shot to help me out with the screen game.”
The fall in the rankings for the Class of 2019 for the 6-5, 195-pound Moore might end up being a good thing for him. It’s driven him to another level in search of success.
“All the guys who are ahead of me I’ve been playing against since I was in seventh or eighth grade,” Moore said. “I think I’m as good as them or better than some of them and I think I deserve a higher ranking. That just builds a bigger chip on my shoulder to go out and prove something every time I’m on the court.”
USA head coach Don Showalter has seen plenty of talent in his days at the helm of youth teams for USA Basketball and said being around other great players will only help Moore.
“I think being here with the other good players, you come in and you’re highly ranked and you find out there are a lot of other good players other than me. I think this is a great experience for these kids,” Showalter said. “All these guys come in here and find out the stuff they’ve got to work on.”
Moore, an athletic wing with great touch around the basket, seemed right at home donning the red, white and blue.
“All these experiences (with USA Basketball) are positive,” he said.