Moore than gifted

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When your knack for dunking a basketball gets you profiled in USA TODAY at the tender age of 11, keeping your ego in check has got to be a monumental challenge.

Adrian Moore is managing quite nicely, however. Now 16 years old, he ranks as one of America's premier hoops prospects. rates him the No. 7 shooting guard and No. 20 overall recruit for the Class of 2016 based on a freshman year that saw him average 15 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Baylor, which sent him a recruiting letter when he was still 11, already offered a scholarship. So has Arkansas, his home-state university. Moore, who will be a sophomore at North Little Rock (Ark.) High School this fall, takes it all in stride. There wasn't a hint of arrogance about him when he was interviewed after participating in Tennessee's recent intense-skill camp.

"I can be an all-around player," he modestly replied when asked to describe his game. "I'm a slasher on offense. On defense my coach tells me I'm the best defender (on the team)."

Flashing a sheepish grin, he added: "My dad says my defense is impeccable sometimes."

Certainly, his dunking ability is impeccable. It was a series of throw-downs in the 2010 AAU Nationals that thrust 11-year-old Moore into the national spotlight and got him written up in USA TODAY.

Instead of letting success go to his head, Moore has worked diligently to make sure his game matures as rapidly as his body, which now packs 175 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame.

"The thing I do best is slashing," he said, "but I still have a lot of work to do. I'm always working on my game."

A lot of 16-year-olds work on their game – routinely practicing dunks, 3-pointers, pull-ups and turn-around jumpers. Moore devotes just as much focus to the other end of the floor.

"I love defense," he said. "I love it. I love it."

So does Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin, who has joined the long line of college coaches showing interest.

"Just recently," Moore said, "so I came to the camp."

He's glad he did. He found the camp to be everything he hoped for.

"It was a really great camp," Moore said. "There was great competition. It was really good going through the drills. Everybody was going at it, then we played games at the end."

Asked to pinpoint the highlight of the camp, he paused thoughtfully.

"I guess you could say everything, actually," he said. "I just enjoyed every second of it. I love this gymnasium (21,000-seat Thompson-Boling Arena). It's all wonderful."

Tennessee's coaches apparently made a very positive impression during Moore's visit.

"It's a great staff," he said. "They know what they're doing. They all played at high D-1 colleges, so they know what they're doing and they know how to get you better."

Moore has three more years to decide on a college but he already knows what he's looking for at the next level.

"Just a great coach that knows what he's doing and pushes you," he said. "A coach who gets on you when you're doing bad and corrects your mistakes but is always there for you, has your back."

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