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St. John’s checking out JUCO guard Brian Moore Jr.

Will Moore come home for 2022?

Wendell Cruz | Finish First Photos

When junior college standout Brian Moore Jr. makes his college decision, St. John’s will hope it’s a decision to come home.

Moore, a 6’3’’ guard from Harlem, New York has been receiving attention from Division I programs after a standout year at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. In his first season of junior college, Moore averaged 18 points per game and shot a robust 59% from the field. As a result of his excellent play, Moore earned NJCAA Region II Freshman of the Year honors and was also named an NJCAA Division I honorable mention All-American.

Moore, a class of 2022 prospect, has been in search of the right opportunity. He graduated high school from Kingston High in the Hudson Valley, and went to South Carolina’s Believe Prep to improve his stock. He had an offer from Howard while in high school but did not meet the academic standards, then an opportunity with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville that fell through while in prep school.

After a year of junior college, the New York native has positioned himself well to transition to a top Division I program. The talented guard has received interest from St. John’s, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, and Stephen F. Austin among others.

Moore told the Rumble that he is looking for “a place that he can call home.” The opportunity of coming back to New York or playing close is something that Moore has thought about. But it is not the only factor that will guide his decision. “Yes and no it will be a factor,” Moore told the Rumble. “I really don’t care about travel but it would also be a dream to play in my hometown.”

Moore has already met with the St. John’s coaching staff. “I met with Coach TJ Cleveland and Coach Pressey,” Moore said. “Actually on my visit there Coach Anderson was supposed to be there but something came up so he wasn’t there.”

Moore believes he would fit well in Coach Anderson’s uptempo system because it is similar to the style he currently plays. “It is kind of how we play now,” Moore said. “We try to get up and down. We have a diamond press and a 1-3-1 press. Every team I have played for in my life is a pressing team, so it is just built into me.”

Moore profiles as a talented scorer who can put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the court.

“I am a dribble-drive guy,” said Moore. “I like to get a lot of paint touches and I can shoot. I am a three-level scorer but I also play make for others.” This summer, the neophyte has been working to become a more complete player. “I have been working on pick and roll reads,” Moore said. “I know that is huge at the next level. I’ve been working on my shooting. A little more stop and pops and more 3s off the dribble.”

In this new college basketball landscape with no sit-out transfers, and players turning pro early, it is difficult to project the 2022-2023 St. John’s roster. However, it is a certainty that the program will graduate Tareq Coburn, Montez Mathis, and Stef Smith after this upcoming season. There is also a strong possibility that Julian Champagnie tests draft waters again. Minutes will be available, and scorers will be needed, so one can certainly project Moore having an important role on the 2022-2023 St. John’s team.

It is an exciting and potentially profitable time for college players. As of July 1, the NCAA now permits college athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness often referred to as NIL. For many prospects, picking a school might come down to what marketing opportunities are available in that school’s vicinity. Moore has already discussed NIL opportunities with a school that has recruited him.

“Since it is so new right now I am not really sure how it is going to work,” said Moore. “One school said that they might be able to get me a sponsorship if I committed to their school.”

But Moore said his focus remains on finding the right situation to play basketball.

“I just want to play basketball,” said Moore. “It’s not really about the money. That’s for the next level. It would be nice to have, but I am not going to go to a school to lose just because I am getting paid a lot of money.”

With the new rule change, St. John’s will ostensibly have an advantage in attracting players because of its location in a major media market. However, St. John’s success in recruiting players such as Moore will be based on the program’s success on the basketball court.