In the eyes of his coach, Clifton Moore is an ideal type of recruit for Indiana.
Moore isn’t a player who can be pigeonholed in a tradition positional spot, has length and skill, is a tall player who can function facing the basket, will need player development and has tremendous upside.
Those are among the major factors that coaches see about Moore, the Philadelphia-area high school class of 2017 prospect who committed to Indiana today.
“He shoots the ball fantastic. He’s as good a shot as anyone at 6-foot-11 as there is,” said his AAU coach, Jonathan Michels, who has coached Moore since Moore was 9.
“What I believe he does best at his size is bounce the ball. I had this conversation with (IU assistant) Chuck Martin. There are guys at 6-11 that can really, really shoot. The Ryan Anderson and Channing Fryes. I’m not talking about Durant and all that. But none of those guys can really bounce the ball. And he’s always the smartest guy in the room.”
Moore has 4.63 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, Michels said.
“He’s a highly intelligent kid, but he’s also a highly motivated kid. He’s been with us since he’s 9 years old. Our five guards have been together since they were 10.”
Indiana began watching Moore this summer in AAU. In July, Moore had some impressive moments that flashed his potential, especially playing for a non-shoe circuit team when it faced some of the bigger-name shoe teams.
“They saw us play in New York in that tournament and he had a couple really good games. We played the Playaz and the Rens. He didn’t play much because he had a cut over his eye,” Michels said.
“Then we played the PSA Cardinals. He started slow, but he finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds. People were like, ‘OK, there he is.’
“He realized he’s as good as everybody we’re playing. With the way Indiana plays, how positionless they are, that fits him.”
In the game against the PSA Cardinals, Moore was matched up with four-star 6-foot-11 class of 2017 prospect Deng Gak.
Moore, even though he’s pushing 6-foot-11, isn’t a traditional post player at all.
“He’s not a post player, but he’s not a three,” Michels said. “What he is, is a ridiculous matchup problem. When never put him in certain spots. We played him what he is, regardless of how tall he is.
“I think we play similar to Indiana. Even our big kids come away (from the basket). I think they looked at him and could see what he is rather than someone saying ‘You’re going to be a five man, now get in the post.’”
Michels sees tremendous upside with Moore, even if it may be a year or two down the road.
“Tell the people who love Indiana basketball they’re going to love him. He’s super skilled. As a freshman, he won’t be Cliff yet. But when he’s a junior, he’ll be First Team All-Big Ten. He’s as good a student as a good a kid as I’ve ever coaches in high school, college or AAU. Indiana fans are going to love him.”
Michels said Moore is more skilled than another player he coached with Hoop Dreamz, 6-foot-5 Dylan Talley, who led Nebraska in scoring in 2012-13.
Ed Enoch coaches Moore at Hatboro-Horsham High School near Philadelphia.
“The thing that makes him pretty special right now is that he’s 6-foot-10 with about a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he’s very athletic, runs well and handles the ball very well for a big guy,” Enoch said.
“He’s a very good shooter. He’s got a pretty unique game for a human being of his size.”
Enoch sees considerable upside moving forward as well.
“He’ll be a much better college player than he is a high school player. His body is changing so much now from year to year, and it will change even more drastically in college when he gets into a weight room at that level,” Enoch said.
“He hasn’t lifted weights yet because he’s still growing. He’s only 17 years old. When he does start a program for putting on weight and strength — that’s really the only thing holding him back. He’s a young kid with a body that will change in time.”
Moore committed to Indiana after making an official visit to IU this weekend.
“He was really impressed with the league, the Big Ten. From day one, he always wanted to play at a very high level. He was very impressed with the coaching staff,” Enoch said.
“Spending time with them, he likes how Indiana plays, the fact that they get up and down the floor and score points.
“Clifton can shoot. I saw some film of how Indiana plays. They get their people shots and he can knock down shots.”
Moore was about 6-foot-3 as a freshman and has grown about three inches each of the past few years.
Enoch said Moore is about 6-foot-10, 195 pounds right now.
“And,” Enoch added, “I think he’s still growing.”