Illini making moves in Charlie Moore race

The Illini have moved squarely into the mix for Illinois Mr. Basketball winner Charlie Moore.

The question that has buzzed around Illini nation for the last few weeks finally has an answer: Illinois will pursue Morgan Park point guard Charlie Moore.

The four-star point guard won Illinois Mr. Basketball after averaging 28 points, seven assists and five steals per game during his senior year. Moore decommitted from Memphis on April 8 after Josh Pastner moved on to Georgia Tech.

The Illini were all over Moore last summer and leading into his slate of official visits. But as the process became delayed, Illinois got a commitment from four-star Milwaukee point guard Te'Jon Lucas - eliminating themselves from the picture with Moore.

But they are back in it now. Moore told IlliniInquirer.com that Illini coaches John Groce and Paris Parham met with him at Morgan Park last week, and they have full intentions of landing him.

"It's just been normal conversations. They want to see me. They've been telling me how it's going to be with me and Te'Jon," Moore said. "If we both come, we'll both be running the point. It'd be like a three-guard combination, and that's something they're trying to do. That's pretty big in college basketball now, and it can help win championships. So they've been talking to me about that and me being close to home."

<< WERNER: Should Illini re-recruit Charlie Moore? >>

Moore is confident that he can coexist with Lucas in the same backcourt.

"Definitely. I think we can," Moore said. "Te'Jon is a great player. I'd love playing alongside him. It's a possibility."

Lucas echoed those feelings on Tuesday.

"I feel the same way. I feel we would be a dynamic duo like other past point guards, such as the best example: Dee Brown and Deron Williams," Lucas told IlliniInquirer.com. "I feel we would compliment each other well. It's the most common way successful college basketball is getting played."

The Illini had a strong relationship with Moore when they were recruiting him the first time through. That established bond is a major plus for Illinois.

"It's pretty big. I still got a great relationship with those guys," Moore said. "I was still talking to Parham, even though I didn't decide to go there. It's pretty big for me that he was still wanting to talk to me even though I wasn't going to go there. That shows their relationship with me."

Moore last came to Champaign in September for an unofficial visit, and he said that he has interest in coming back again.

"Definitely. Champaign is a great place and a great college town," he said. "I enjoyed myself every time I went down there. It's definitely possible that I'd go back down there."

In terms of other schools, Moore said he's recently heard from California, Central Florida, DePaul, Iowa, LSU, Miami, Missouri, SMU, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky. Georgia Tech, Memphis and Northwestern have been in the mix as well.

"It's been going pretty well. There's been a lot of schools calling me. I'm just trying to see which school is best for me and my family. It's important that I have a great relationship with the coaching staff, and also that they have a great relationship with my family," Moore said. "I'm looking forward to making the right decision."

Illinois has not landed a Mr. Basketball winner from their state since 2010 when Jereme Richmond claimed the award. Moore could change that, and he talked about what it meant to receive that accolade.

"It was a blessing," he said. "Just knowing how many great players from Illinois that came through the previous years, and me winning that award was just amazing."

It's no secret that the Illini have had a point guard problem over the last few seasons. That problem could transform into luxury for the future with Moore and Lucas in the same backcourt.


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