During the next month, lliniInquirer.com lead basketball reporter Derek Piper will break down more than a dozen Illinois basketball targets, what he learned from watching them on the summer AAU circuit and where Illinois stands with them in their respective recruitments. He starts with the Illini's top priority.
The point guard position is the key to the future for the Illini basketball program, and Morgan Park point guard Charlie Moore could be crucial to changing their fortunes.
John Groce has struggled mightily to land a prized lead guard on the recruiting trail. He has taken a number of big swings and come up empty for one reason or another. Groce has gone after typical top-100 talents, but there is nothing typical about Moore.
While it won’t be that way for long, Moore isn’t found on most top-100 rankings for the 2016 class. The 5-foot-11 guard is no stranger to getting overlooked. But the Illini have him slotted right at the top of the priority list, and many others have taken notice as well.
Here is a look at Moore in the premiere of our "Summer Scout" series.
What we saw during July
Moore played the best basketball of his career in July -- closing out an AAU season that saw him go from highly-questioned to highly-desired in a matter of months. Moore showcased his typical offensive flash with a good outside stroke and high-octane transition game. Meanwhile, he displayed his maturity at the position in becoming a true floor general and unquestioned leader. Moore was one of the most impressive lead guards at the Peach Jam, where he averaged 17.2 points and five assists per game.
He continued his brilliance in the weeks after at the Nike Global Challenge and Las Vegas Classic. Moore stood out at Nike Global in a loaded USA Midwest backcourt with Big Ten targets Xavier Simpson and Cassius Winston. He then led the Mac Irvin Fire to the championship game in Vegas. Moore dropped 31 points against former Illinois point guard target Alterique Gilbert -- outplaying him in a head-to-head matchup for the second time that month.
How He’d Fit In Illini Class
It’s no secret that Moore would be a big-time addition in Champaign for a variety of reasons. For starters, it would end the drought for an impact point guard. Moore could bring an offensive spark right off the bat and help the Illini push the pace. He’d be a cornerstone piece in the class, and he could be an attractive sell for other prospects. Moore would certainly help with Zach Norvell, and he could even assist Illinois’ push for a quality big guy. Frontcourt player wants guards who can make plays off the dribble and distribute, and Moore can do that at a high level.
Where Do The Illini Stand
The Illini hesitated on offering Moore in April, but they have made him a top priority since pulling the trigger at the end of May. Moore has a great relationship with Illini head coach John Groce and assistant Paris Parham, and he feels extremely comfortable with them and the program as a whole. He took a visit to Champaign in June, and he will be back for an official visit soon enough. Moore is thrilled about the opportunity that potentially awaits him at Illinois. He always has a smile on his face when talking about the Illini and how they are coming at him. Moore certainly feels the love from Illinois and it is mutual. While he continues to remain open in the process, the Illini are undoubtedly a favorite -- if not the favorite.
Sizing Up The Competition
The number of interested parties continues to climb for Moore, who entered the spring without a high-major offer. Iowa and Georgia Tech jumped on board with offers at the end of April, and the list has grown from there. California and VCU are the latest to extend offers after seeing Moore show out at the Peach Jam. Per the Irvins’ wish, the guest list is still open in an attempt to provide the best slate of options possible. Arizona State, Georgetown and North Carolina put in calls last week, and there might be more to come.
Nevertheless, the Hawkeyes still look to be Illinois’ biggest competition at this point. Moore enjoyed his visit to Iowa City in June and they’ve made him a major priority. Both programs are all but guaranteed to receive official visits before Moore’s decision this fall. The rest of his plans are still up in the air, as he and his camp analyze the landscape. Expect Moore to begin solidifying official visits in the next week or so.