Bloomington – Forget about the questions concerning Nic Moore's size.
Sure, the Warsaw (Ind.) H.S. junior stands only 5'9", which might be deemed by some to be huge strike against him as he looks ahead to potential Division I opportunities. But as Coach Doug Ogle's standout has developed from a 15-point/game starter as a freshman to a 22-point, 5.5 assist/game star on this past season's Class 4A state runners-up, his prep coach has learned a thing or two about him.
He's learned he can score in just about any way imaginable. Whether it's in transition, from behind the 3-point arc, off the dribble or even in the paint, Ogle has seen that few things keep Moore from doing what he wants to do on the basketball court. He's also learned Moore is such an outstanding passer that if opponents commit to much attention to him, then he'll find a teammate for a layup or a wide open look.
Ultimately, he's convinced Moore is the toughest-minded player he's ever coached, and he's learned whoever has Nic Moore on their side is in a pretty good situation.
"If Nic Moore is on your team, your chances of winning the game are pretty good," Ogle said.
Moore has proven that over the past two seasons, helping Warsaw to a combined 42-6 record and a spot in this year's Class 4A state title game opposite North Central H.S. As Warsaw's fortunes have soared with him as team catalyst, Moore has emerged as much more than an afterthought among a very good group of Class of 2011 point guards in the state.
‘When you're talking about the elite (Class of 2011) point guards you're talking about (Bloomington South's) Dee Davis, (Muncie Central's) Jeremiah Davis, (Pike's) Marquis Teague, and Nic was kind of the red-headed stepchild to those guys," Ogle said.
"I think now, in my mind, I'd take Nic over any of those guys. I've seen them all play, and I think he's the best junior point guard in the state."
While prep coaches are often quick to heap praise on their standouts, Ogle's review has been well earned. Warsaw's coach said there was a time when he wasn't sure if Moore would be a D-I player. He says he thought Moore might be a low-to-mid major D-I player after he averaged 18 points as a sophomore, but this past season's work has him convinced he can play at an elite level in college.
He said one of his assistant coaches, former Indiana Mr. Basketball and Northwestern player Jeff Grose, sees some similarities between Moore and former Indiana Mr. Basketball and Michigan State star Scott Skiles.
"I think that's a fair comparison," Ogle said. "Skiles was undervalued coming out of high school. A lot of people didn't think he was good enough. And then he had a great career at Michigan State. I think Nic might be the same kind of guy."
There was a time where Moore was clearly undervalued and a little overlooked, but that's been changing as of late. He has a scholarship offer from Northwestern, while Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota have all been keeping close tabs on him as well. Ogle said Indiana followed Moore throughout the state tournament run, while Minnesota's Tubby Smith was on hand to see Moore score 28 in the state title game loss to North Central.
Moore was also in Bloomington one week ago, getting a chance to tour IU's new Cook Hall and meet with the Indiana coaching staff. While there's clearly interest on Indiana's part, time will tell if there's room on the roster to offer a scholarship.
"I think they'd love to offer Nic a scholarship, but right now they haven't and right now they're not in a position to do so," Ogle said. "I think if they had two or three (scholarships) they'd offer him, but they don't."
A lot can change between now and the fall of 2011, though, so Indiana figures to remain involved. Moore, meanwhile, will look to continue to show he's worthy of all the recruiting attention he's been getting as of late.
"I think he's going to be a really good player in the Big Ten for someone," Ogle said. "But he's going to have to continue to improve to do that. It's no joke at that level. I think he'll get there but he can still improve."