John Wall Holiday Invitational: 5-star sophomore Wendell Moore isn’t taking a back seat any longer

John Wall Holiday Invitational: 5-star sophomore Wendell Moore isn’t taking a back seat any longer

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John Wall Holiday Invitational: 5-star sophomore Wendell Moore isn’t taking a back seat any longer

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Wendell Moore (Photo: 247Sports)

Wendell Moore (Photo: 247Sports)

RALEIGH, N.C. – By the time the halftime buzzer sounded, Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.) guard Wendell Moore was losing.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore had drained 9 of 12 shots from the field and scored 20 points yet, still, his team trailed Broughton (Raleigh, N.C.) by one Tuesday at the John Wall Holiday Invitational.

“Kid’s a beast,” Cox Mill coach Jody Barbee said.

Not much changed by the time the final horn sounded; lucky for Moore, he had four other teammates.

The Chargers knocked off the Caps, 68-51.

Moore, who is ranked No. 1 in the Phenom Hoop Report Top 80 for 2019, finished with 28 points and 16 rebounds in the win.

“I just wanted to come out and play aggressive early,” said Moore. “This season that’s been my mentality: To come out and set the tone. I don’t take a back seat to anyone anymore.”

Moore’s mentality came about after what he called a “just OK” summer, from a production standpoint, while running with Team CP3 (N.C.) on the Nike EYBL.

“I wasn’t happy with the way that I was playing this summer,” Moore said. “I noticed that I was taking a back seat to other players on the team and I didn’t like that.

“I felt like I had a lot more that I could do and I wanted to show that. After the summer, I said that would never happen again. I had to come out and play my game no matter what.”

Moore’s supporting role was more understandable last season as the freshman on the team.

“He came in with a lot of hype,” Barbee said. “Naturally, being the underclassmen, he’d defer at times, but he still averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds a game. This year I told him he’s gotta be the guy.”

Moore concedes that the message was received loud and clear.

“I feel like I’ve done a good job of stepping up and being that guy this year,” Moore said. “It just makes me want to do everything perfect.”

That much was evident when a reporter asked Moore about his stat-line after the game.

“Well, what I see if these five turnovers,” Moore said. “I have to cut that out. Everything else is good, but those turnovers; I’ve gotta cut that down.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY

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