There haven't been many recruitments like the one Bolingbrook's Ben Moore just went through.
The wild ride ended with a commitment to coach Larry Brown and SMU Tuesday afternoon. The Moore commitment marks the second Chicago area product Brown and the Mustangs secured in the last week. Moore will join Proviso East star Sterling Brown in Dallas next year. Brown committed to SMU earlier this week.
"I really wanted to stick with those who believed in me and my ability from the very beginning," says Moore of the recruiting process. "SMU and coach Brown believed in me. This coaching staff was great. I feel like I will definitely get better as a player there and quickly. I like the direction the team is going in, and I like the fact they are moving to the Big East. I want to play against that type of competition."
Brown, a coaching icon who has won both NCAA and NBA titles in his career, became fixated with Moore while watching the long, lanky forward during the July evaluation period. Brown, along with assistant Jerrance Howard, made Moore a priority over the past three-plus months. While taking in Moore's games in July, Brown was enamored with his motor, length and upside.
"The very first time coach Brown saw Ben play he called me immediately," says Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost. "He recognized all the things Ben could do as a player, how he could handle it, pass it, his basketball I.Q. There was no doubt coach Brown thought Ben could play at the highest level.
"From the start he said if he was coaching at Kansas or Kentucky or anywhere in the country that he would recruit Ben Moore. When a coach with his résumé and his stature thinks that and conveys that, that's big."
Moore's rapid rise has been well documented. He sported just one single offer midway through his junior year, courtesy of IPFW. By the time the summer rolled around he was on the mid-major map. July came and went and the likes of SMU and Colorado State were on board, which coincidentally were among his final three in the end.
But when the doors opened for fall open gyms, Moore's recruiting world turned upside down. The 6-8 senior received offers from Missouri, Illinois, DePaul, Minnesota and Northwestern. Moore, his family and Bolingbrook head coach Rob Brost had to basically shut the door on a half dozen other schools, including other high-majors, trying to get in the mix.
"First of all, Ben is a humble kid," Brost added. "And from the very beginning he was always looking for the right fit. To his credit, he stuck to it through it all. A lot of it has to do with his upbringing and his parents. They are grounded people."
When it came to the aura of high-profile programs and playing for an established high-major basketball program, Moore wasn't starstruck. Playing for the biggest name and at the highest level wasn't the top priority for Moore. The majority of the high-majors hardly received a sniff from Moore. He canceled a visit to Missouri and stayed true to the two schools that grabbed his attention this summer -- SMU and Colorado State -- even with the local Big Ten school, Illinois, lurking.
Moore was insistent on finding the right level, opportunity and fit for him as a player. He believes he found that at SMU, although the recruiting process proved to be difficult.
"At the end I was looking for every little thing to separate the schools as they were all good choices," Moore said of his decision. "But SMU has everything I'm looking for. Plus, I had a lot of help in this from those close to me and appreciate all that they have done for me, including my family, coach Brost, coach Rodney Davis from Illinois Attack and Marvin Manning."
Moore has climbed the Hoops Report player rankings as well. He's now among the top 10 prospects in the state of Illinois in the Class of 2013.
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