2017 forward Clifton Moore commits to Indiana

Clifton Moore’s official visit to Bloomington provided an instructive Indiana basketball experience.

Even on the walk to Saturday night’s football game.

“We were walking with the basketball guys,” Moore said. “Everybody was saying, ‘Go Hoosiers!’ Pretty much everybody we walked next to, they wanted to get pictures and were shouting the name of Thomas Bryant like, ‘We love you! My kids love you!’ There was so much of that.”

Enough to leave a strong impact on Moore, who announced his verbal commitment to Indiana on Sunday afternoon.

The 6-foot-10 forward is a rising prospect in the 2017 class, a native of the Philadelphia suburbs who chose Indiana over offers from Northwestern, Ole Miss, Temple, St. Joseph’s and Lafayette. Villanova also expressed interest.

Moore enjoyed a streamlined recruitment with Indiana, which offered him a scholarship last month. It came after Moore produced a strong spring and summer on the travel ball circuit for AAU outfit Hoopdreamz and saw his options grow with solid performances against some of the high-end talent in his class.

“He became more assertive,” Hoopdreamz coach Jonathan Michels said. “As you play those teams (with top prospects), there’s a certain amount of coaches who are coming just to see the guys on the other team. Then the buzz starts and you hear about this 6-10 kid with some skills that not a lot of 6-10 guys have. He just kind of exploded from there.”

Moore could fit as a stretch-four at Indiana, with the kind of ball-handling and quickness that makes him feel comfortable on the perimeter. Once he adds some size and strength to his lanky, 200-pound frame, he’ll be able to do a bit more.

“He’s a really tall kid that hasn’t had an opportunity yet to really get in the weight room,” Hatboro-Horsham High School coach Ed Enoch said. “His body is growing so fast. When you look at him, you see this kid that’s very athletic and long. He has about a 7-2 wingspan. He could end up with another inch or two on his frame. He runs like a deer.”

That kind of projected versatility is part of what attracted Indiana to Moore this summer. On his visit this weekend, Moore said IU coach Tom Crean broke down his game and explained how he’d fit in the IU system as a big man with perimeter skills and a projectable body.

“Some people just say we’re going to get you better,” Moore said. “He told me how.”

Moore watched Indiana practice and said he was intrigued by the chemistry and cohesion of the group. Beyond basketball, he looked into the academic offerings and came away impressed with the campus and the basketball the support staff, like academic advisor Marni Mooney.

Then there was the noticeable aura of Indiana basketball on campus. That’s where Moore was blown away.

Moore had to study up on basketball in Indiana before he understood what it means to be a Hoosier in Bloomington. With the help of his father and his AAU coach, he received a quick primer once IU made initial contact.

“I said, ‘Cliff, there are certain things,'” Michels said. “You play shortstop for the Yankees. You play center for the Lakers. This is one of those programs that is so historic. He got a lot of that from us saying, ‘It’s Indiana. You have to entertain this. You don’t have to go there if you don’t want to, but you have to at least entertain it.”

Moore is glad he did.

He now has a potential four-year basketball home ready to welcome him after his upcoming senior season. Moore recently turned 17 in August and wants to add more polish and strength to his game during his final year of high school ball.

“He’s starting to grow into his body a little bit,” Enoch said. “The past two years, he just wasn’t real sure of himself. His confidence wasn’t completely there. I think now he’s really confident in his skin. He’s shooting the ball great. He’s competitive. His teammates are rallying around him and it’s just a very exciting time for him.”

Moore, a three-star prospect according to 247 Sports, is the third member of of Indiana’s 2017 class, and the second to commit in the last week. He joins wing Justin Smith, who committed last Monday night, and guard Al Durham in a class ranked No. 15 nationally by 247 Sports.

With only one senior, Collin Hartman, on this year’s roster, Indiana is now oversigned by two for next season. Bryant and fellow sophomore OG Anunoby, along with junior James Blackmon Jr., are all candidates to turn pro after the season.

Watching Indiana practice this weekend, Moore saw that upside in close quarters.

“The guys just have a natural chemistry,” he said. “They want to work hard. It doesn’t matter what happens off the court, when they get on the court, they’re serious and they want to be successful. Everybody wants to be successful.”

11 comments

  1. IU men’s basketball get 3 star recruit and IU ladies get a commitment from 5 star. Go T . Moren and IU ladies bb.

    1. Each basketball development sounds perfect in it’s own context! The women need the star power! The men are really specializing in the “very high (for the NBA) ceiling development” niche! Why go all out head-to-head against KY, KS and Duke for each 5 Star, when you can get great potential and super hard working 3-4 star players that really want the “It’s Indiana” experience!

  2. I still believe the 5-star, one-and-done players coming out of High School would rather avoid playing for schools (like IU) where they actually have to go to class, study and pursue an education, even if it’s just for one year. Why bother when they can get coddled and spend a year preparing for their NBA career?

  3. Moore could be 6’11’ or 7′ by the time he’s done growing. Regardless, any 6’10” kid who can run the floor like a “deer,” will be a valuable asset for IU. I believe Zeller was 6’11” and weighed 230 lbs. his sophomore year at IU.

  4. If T. C. AND IU CAN GET A 5 STAR ONE AND DONE RECRUIT THEY WOULD BE THE FIRST IN LINE TO CODDLE AND IF THEY WERE ABLE TO GET MORE THAN ONE THEY WOULD CODDLE ALL OF THEM. SINCE THEY CAN’T DON’T BE JEALOUS OF KY, DUKE, KANSAS AND WHOEVER BECAUSE THEY CAN.

    1. Besides Vonleh, Zeller, and Bryant you mean? Vonleh was exactly that, and the other 2 would’ve gone in the 1st round had they left after their frosh year…

  5. Thanks for refreshing my memory. That has gotten IU a sweet sixteen. Maybe more of those kinds of high quality players are needed to get past sweet sixteen or different coaching strategy or both….while talking about NCAA March Madness tournament.

  6. The fact is, IU requires their student-athletes, no matter how talented they are, to go to class, study, and pass legitimate academic classes while attending IU. I’m not saying IU is on par with Harvard or Stanford, but IU does have higher standards of academic conduct than some of the other “elite” basketball schools in the country. With the exception of a few years prior to Crean’s arrival, Bob Knight’s legacy regarding education has been maintained. It’s not for everyone, especially those who see a year of college as the equivalent to a year in the NBA’s developmental league.

  7. All elite programs require there student athletes to go to class, study, and pass legitimate academic classes. Just ask them. Ha ha ha. It depends on the definition assigned to it.

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