Jonathan Michels and I spoke prior to HoopDreamz Blue’s final game of the July recruiting calendar. The main draw on his team for Division 1 college coaches this season has been 6’10 Hatboro Horsham (PA) forward Clifton Moore. At the time of our interview, Clifton had 16 D1 offers. In the subsequent days, he’s collected additional offers from Richmond, Boston College, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and Drexel.
HoopDreamz spent most of the April and July live periods playing in a series of Elevate Hoops events in the tri-state area. It was a positive experience, Michels explained. “For us, it was good,” he began. "We have Clifton (Moore), then we have Division 3 guys, and then everything in between. One advantage our program has is that all our guys are academic guys. Clif, for example, has a 4.63 GPA and a 1200 SAT on the two-part test.”
Clifton Moore’s recruitment has taken off since April. In fact, he didn’t hold a single Division 1 offer until April. “His first offer was Lafayette, and that came in April. We put that out there, and within three days, nine other Patriot League schools had called.” In April, during the first live recruiting periods, Michels said that it was mainly “La Salle, St. Joe’s, Lafayette, George Mason, those level schools. Then in July he kinda went crazy. He had some plays that I don’t think guys thought he could make at 6’10.”
The fact that Moore, at 6’10, has that skill set and that versatility is what has attracted all sorts of college attention. “Honestly, we run guard stuff for him. We run screens for him. Pindowns for him. A little bit of pick and pop. The thing is that he can also go down and post you. It’s not really what he is, but he can do that. The one part that’s missing right now is that physically he just isn’t grown yet. And that’s due to the fact that he’s still only 16.”
While HoopDreamz ran a lot of guard sets for Moore, and he’s comfortable playing on the wing, that’s not where Michels projects Clifton at the college level. “In college he will be a stretch four. That’s where he’s best defensively and ultimately I think where he’ll be best.”
With nearly two-dozen offers under his belt, it’s tough to keep track of Moore’s recruitment, especially when a new offer seems to pop up daily. I did ask Michels if any schools were notably present throughout the summer, though. “Saint John’s has been at just about every one of our games. St. Joe’s, as a staff, has been at every one of our games. Then you have Lafayette. Pitt. It’s a really strange group of schools. Academics play a part of it. Also at his size, he’s such a unique guy, the big schools have to kind of look at him. There are a lot of guys at his size that can shoot it like him, but there aren’t a lot of guys that can bounce it like him or have footwork like him. If they aren’t around and get involved and three years from now he’s an NBA player, then the head coach is coming and saying ‘what were you doing?’”
Clifton Moore has such a wide array of schools looking at him, from locals like St. Joe’s, Temple, Drexel, and La Salle to high majors outside of the region such as Kansas State, Boston College, and Ole Miss. There is a mix of urban schools, suburban schools, and rural schools from conferences ranging from the Ivy to the Patriot to the Atlantic 10 to the Big 12 and ACC. As Moore begins to narrow his list down, is there anything in particular that he will be looking for? “The basketball is more important than people realize,” Michels began. “Academics are obviously important, but you can get that at all these places. Temple, he really likes, which surprised me a little because it’s so urban. But he also really likes St. Joe’s and Lafayette and George Mason, which are a more suburban setting. It’s a unique group of schools, none of them are really alike. He’s not a guy that is caught up with who the biggest school is.”
96 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
That last sentence could be a critical one if you’re a St. Joe’s or a Temple or a La Salle or a Lafayette or a Princeton. Clifton Moore is a high-academic, high-level basketball player who has his best days ahead of him. He also showed loyalty sticking with a basketball program in Hoop Dreamz and a coach in Jon Michels that he had been with since day one. That’s why, Michels says with confidence, “whatever school he picks, he will make the right choice, an informed choice.” As Moore’s recruitment continues to come into focus, I will have all the latest details here on Hawk Hill Hardwood.