Clifton Moore (above) committed to Indiana on Sunday after a summer that saw him go from little-known to high-major recruit. (Photo: Tom Reifsnyder/CoBL)
Michael Bullock (@thebullp_n)
Maybe it was mere coincidence that Clifton Moore decided to spend this past weekend checking out Indiana University and all of its cream-and-crimson flavored attributes.
On the other hand, perhaps the timing of his official visit was perfectly planned — whether by the 6-10 Hatboro-Horsham senior or the IU coaching staff.
Just for fun, consider this:
* Since NCAA Division I programs could begin practicing late last week, Moore had the chance to watch the IU players drill and scrimmage while checking out how head coach Tom Crean and his assistants run one of their workouts.
* Moore and his family had an opportunity to see what a typical IU student-athlete goes through on a daily basis — including a practice — while on campus. Even had a chance to tour IU’s highly regarded Kelley School of Business.
* And then, on Saturday night, Moore was on hand to see the entire campus lit up during the Hoosiers’ football game against Michigan State, a game IU won in OT.
Good sense of timing or just a thorough itinerary planned adroitly?
Maybe a little of both … and then some.
Regardless of how every piece of Moore’s visit was cobbled together into a neat package, it was more than enough to sell the talented 17-year-old big man on the Big Ten Conference school. So much so, Moore verbally committed to IU before leaving for the airport for the flight back to his suburban Philadelphia home.
“I had an idea coming in of how serious it was and how they get their guys better because they showed me videos,” said Moore, who spent the previous weekend at Ole Miss. “When I saw how beautiful it actually was and just [what] the daily life [was like], it was, ‘OK, this is all right. Just the daily life to know what I was gonna go through.’
“They didn’t hide anything, they just went through a normal day practicing.”
He’ll be able to cement his commitment next month by signing his letter of intent.
Moore chose the Hoosiers over Ole Miss, Northwestern, Temple, Saint Joseph’s and Lafayette, the first school to extend him a scholarship offer.
“It’s a good fit. It just seemed like it was a good fit,” Moore continued. “I really like the coaching staff and how determined they were.”
Determined is one way to characterize the animated Crean, the high-energy skipper who must log several miles pacing in front of the IU bench every time the Hoosiers play. In eight seasons at IU, Crean has guided the Hoosiers to four NCAA Tournaments, two outright Big Ten Conference titles and a 148-119 record.
In nine seasons at Marquette, Crean was 190-96.
“Exactly. Very determined,” added Moore of Crean, the last school to jump into the Moore sweepstakes in mid-September. “He knows what he wants to do.
“He wants to be successful.”
So does the still-growing Moore, who added three or four inches in the past year and may be in for yet another spurt before he’s done.
Yet, despite his length and a wingspan that stretches seven-plus feet, the agile Moore can handle the ball, sports a dependable shot from the perimeter and run the floor.
A skill-set an Indiana program that under Crean has produced quality bigs such as Cody Zeller and D.J. White and before that Steve Downing, Kent Benson, Alan Henderson, Landon Turner, Ray Tolbert and Don Schlundt. IU also briefly had Larry Bird.
“Clifton is even more of a perimeter guy than those guys were,” said Jon Michels, Moore’s AAU coach with Hoopdreamz. “So, for him to play the 4-spot there at 6-10 or 6-11, he’s a ridiculous matchup in the way they play.
“He’s gonna get the freedom to bounce it some and shoot it; he’s a really hard matchup — especially even in that league, where the bigs are big there.”
While Moore obviously felt comfortable with the basketball-side of his weekend visit and so did his father — even the whirlwind courtship that preceded his trip — his mother liked what she saw and heard during their peek at the Kelley School.
Add everything up and it was a quick yay during the household vote — right down to the striped warmup trousers IU sports during lay-up drills at Assembly Hall. Even if his folks can’t get to one or more of his games, IU’s on television all the time.
“My mom was on board because she’s an academic person and they showed us the Kelley School of Business,” said Moore, who isn’t sure about majoring in business even though he wants to study something involving mathematics.
“She was sold by then, because the academic advisor is very good. And basketball-wise, me and my dad were sold because they knew what they were doing.”
“It’s a big challenge,” Hatboro-Horsham head coach Ed Enoch admitted. “Clifton wanted to go to a good basketball program in a good league with a good academic program. He could check off every box with Indiana. I think he’ll do very well.”
As Moore’s game continued to mature last season, Enoch’s Hatters began to enjoy more and more success. Qualifying for the District 1 Class AAAA playoffs, Hatboro-Horsham ousted higher seed Strath Haven in the opening round as Moore poured in 28 points.
While a loss to Chester followed, two more wins in the playbacks before Hatboro-Horsham tumbled to Academy Park in the ninth-place game. Enoch’s Hatters (14-14) still earned a spot in the PIAA Class AAAA tournament, falling to Reading in their opener.
“Every day, you could just see Clifton improve and as he improved his confidence grew,” Enoch recalled. “As he got better, our team got better. He really blossomed in the District 1 tournament against Strath Haven. I think he had 28 in that game, like seven treys. After that, we just rode his coattails. … He got much better.”
Michels said Moore’s belief that he could play at the mid-major level, or even higher, really began to materialize during April’s live period following some duels against some highly regarded players already ticketed for power conference programs.
Eventually, Moore’s recruiting interest picked up, with 22 offers eventually pouring in.
These days, after a stirring visit to John Mellencamp country, there’s only one — IU.
Yet while Moore hasn’t been back to Hatboro-Horsham’s hallways since his visit and subsequent commitment, he’s been hearing from many of his friends.
Even his AAU coach made a request or two.
“People are already texting me going crazy,” Moore admitted. “They’re like, ‘Get me some shoes. Get me some gear, man.’ I’m like, ‘Come on. Already, what the heck?’”
Moore, too, has seen his emotions swirl since his visit.
“Excited. Very pleased. Satisfied with my decision. Relieved that it’s over. Got a little weight off my chest, because recruiting is a whirlwind,” said Moore, who hopes to lead the Hatters back to states, take them a few rounds deeper.
“All of those mixed in at once, but very excited.”
Ari Rosenfeld (@realA_rosenfeld)
One of the biggest stock-risers nationally this spring and summer on the AAU circuit, Clifton Moore announced his commitment to the Indiana Hoosiers today.
A 6-foot-9 forward who attends Hatboro-Horsham, Moore had interest from several schools at the low and mid-major levels coming out of the high school season before picking up his first offer from Lafayette in April.
Local offers from Temple and La Salle came in during the month of June, but it wasn't until the July live periods with his Hoopdreamz AAU squad that Moore's recruitment, as he put it, went from "zero to 100".
High-major offers flew in over the course of the month as Moore shined playing in a variety of Hoop Group and Elevate Hoops events in the Northeast. When all was said and done, he'd raked in 22 offers before cutting his list to just six last month: Temple, Lafayette, Northwestern, St. Joseph's, Ole Miss, and Indiana.
Indiana became the last school to offer him a scholarship, doing so on September 15th, and Moore's commitment to the Hoosiers comes on the heels of a visit to Bloomington this weekend.
At 6-9, Moore is a prospect with a ton of upside. He's a very fluid athlete who has the ability to stretch the defense out to the 3-point line with his smooth stroke and is also developing his ball skills. Moore certainly looks the part of a high-major prospect--though he has plenty of work to do in the weight room--and has the potential to be a very successful player in the Big Ten with continued skill development.
This coming season with Hatboro-Horsham, Moore will look to lead the Hatters back to the PIAA state playoffs, where they lost in the first round of the AAAA bracket last year.
CoBL will have more on this story shortly.