Here we go again. The small guard fighting the perception and stereotype of who and what can play at college basketball’s highest level.
Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore is Exhibit A in this Class of 2016.
The numbers 5-10 seem to make a greater impression on high-major college coaches at this point of the recruiting process than three trips to the State Finals, including two state championships, and averaging over 20-plus points a game as a junior.
The undersized Moore, a smallish 5-10 junior point guard with a scoring acumen and a whole lot of game to go with it, is a bantamweight who wants to fight the heavyweights. Moore has never let his diminutive size become a handicap on the floor.
“Everyone talks about size, especially at that level [high-major basketball,” says Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin. “But it’s about how good of a player you are, how you compete, how you impact games, how big your heart is. Because of all that, when Charlie Moore is on the floor you have a chance to win.”
Iowa did offer Moore in April and figures to be a major player in his recruitment going forward. St. John’s and Georgia Tech previously offered under former head coaches. Moore says he also holds offers from Loyola, UIC and Fairfield.
But when asked why more high-major programs haven’t knocked on his door yet, Moore sheepishly answers with, “Maybe my size?”
Moore plays with confidence and some bravado. That’s why players at his size survive and flourish. And it’s why the skepticism from the big boys in college basketball doesn’t bother him.
“Yes, I I think I’m overlooked, and I know it’s probably because of my size,” says Moore. “But it really doesn’t bother me. It motivates me. It motivates me to continue to go out and work on my game, to get out on the floor and prove people wrong.”
The diminutive guard is always an acquired taste for high-major college coaches who tend to wait a little longer before pulling the trigger with a scholarship offer. Maybe it’s tough for high-major coaches to take a basketball prospect nicknamed “Li’l Charlie” seriously at this point.
This isn’t to say Moore’s trajectory will be similar to that of tiny Tyler Ulis a couple of years ago. Moore is not Tyler Ulis. Moore is two inches taller than Ulis and their games are completely different, though one similarity is Iowa was in on both before other high-major programs were.
But as Moore plays out the spring and summer on the club circuit with the Mac Irvin Fire, you can expect more high-major coaches to be sold and appreciate what he brings (scoring and competitiveness) rather than what he lacks (size).
Always known as a scorer and a high-volume shooter with terrific range, what Moore does best with the basketball in his hands is put pressure on opposing defenses. He is able to turn the corner, get in the lane and to the basket with his speed and quickness, while possessing a dangerous perimeter jumper out to 25 feet.
Even though there is clearly an entertainment value when watching Moore play, his overall game has evolved over time. Moore has continued to tone down his shot selection and has worked on improving his decision-making and passing, while still being an offensive threat.
“I want to show I can run the point guard position, make the right play while still being myself,” says Moore of showing he can be more of a pure lead guard while still maintaining his high-level scoring ability.
Irvin sees the dynamic play of Moore every day. He can also point out the desired intangibles he brings to his team. Moore is a solid student, brings leadership, charisma and didn’t flinch, shrug or say boo when he had to share the ball and spotlight with hotshot newcomer Marcus LoVett this past season.
“Charlie is a proven winner and has a true love for the game,” says Irvin. “He competes at the highest level. He brings so many things to the table when talking about the type of player you want to have on the floor.”
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