In the end, Cox Mill High School (Concord, N.C.) wing Wendell Moore Jr. said his decision came down to where he felt like the family bond was the strongest; that led to him announcing his commitment to Duke Monday evening at his high school.
Moore, who is ranked No. 22 overall in USA Today Sports’ Chosen 25 for 2019, picked the Blue Devils over N.C. State, Wake Forest and North Carolina.
“The Duke basketball slogan is ‘The Brotherhood’ and that really means something to me,” Moore said in an exclusive interview with USA Today Sports. “It’s really a family there. All of the guys come back because they’re all close. When I was there Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen were back then Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving came back the day I was leaving. They always come home.”
Last season, Moore led Cox Mill to its second-straight state title, averaging 25 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
He helped Team USA’s U17 National Team claim the gold medal this past summer at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup and starred for Team CP3 (N.C.), averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game on the summer’s most grueling circuit, the Nike EYBL.
“My biggest thing is winning,” Moore said. “I’m not planning to be at Duke one year. Whatever my path is at Duke, if it’s four years, I want to be winning championships while I’m there. That’s a big reason I picked Duke too.”
To get a jump on achieving that goal, Moore said he’s immediately stepping in to the recruiter role, zeroing in on fellow Chosen 25 prospects La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.) forward Isaiah Stewart, University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr. and John Marshall High School (Rochester, Minn.) forward Matthew Hurt.
“Me, Vernon and Isaiah are all really close, so the conversation is easier with them,” said Moore, who is Duke’s first commit from the 2019 class. “I’m just starting to get to know Matthew and we’re developing a great relationship so I’m pretty confident.”
Moore said more than anything he’s “relieved” to have his decision out of the way.
“It’s gonna be good to get back to normal now,” Moore said. “I loved the recruiting process sometimes and other times I didn’t, but it just feels good not to have this hanging over my head anymore. It was a tough decision, but I know that I made the right decision.”
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