Adrian Moore Has Potential to Be Best Guard of 2016 Class
Various media outlets have reported that Arkansas guard Adrian Moore will sign with UTEP on Saturday afternoon. The 6'4 shooting guard had been a very hot commodity in recruiting circles two years ago, but he did not move up the charts like many expected. What happened?
When Moore first hit the scene as a sophomore, his high school team North Little Rock was in the midst of a dynasty. The school won three consecutive state titles (they forfeited their 2014 title for playing an ineligible player) and was loaded with future Division 1 prospects known as "The Big 3". Anton Beard stayed in state and is with Arkansas, KeVaughn Allen signed with Florida, and K.J. Hill signed with Ohio State to play football. Moore was considered by many to be a Top 50 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, and he had been linked to schools like Arkansas, Baylor, Arizona, Cal, and Connecticut. His athleticism was off the charts and scouts projected him to be a major Power 5 talent. However, as his supporting cast continued to graduate and land college scholarships, North Little Rock did not have quality replacements to fill the void. Moore found himself starring as a senior, but had little help to win games.
The three-time champs finished the 2015-16 season with a record of 12-13, and they failed to make the playoffs. Moore played well under coach Johnny Rice, but his team's lack of success hurt Moore's stock. Suddenly, he didn't get the scholarship offer at Arkansas that many felt would be offered. Other SEC schools passed on him as well. When UTEP jumped into the picture in the late signing period, Moore wanted the opportunity the prove to everyone that he was still capable of being a Division 1 star. He also liked the idea of playing in El Paso, which was far away from his home in Little Rock.
An interesting story line to the 2016-17 season will be the development of Moore as a college player. How will he handle the defense and discipline of UTEP head coach Tim Floyd? Will his offensive game come as easy to him in Division 1 like it always has in high school? Will he be able to blend in with a deep backcourt filled with guards? Like many of Coach Floyd's signees, Moore comes with some risk. However, if he can recapture the form that made him a future star just a couple of seasons ago, the Miners will have struck gold with their latest prospect.