By JOSH VERLINSpecial to ZAGSBLOGPITTSBURGH — For the second year in a row, Atlanta Xpress has a true 7-footer manning the paint.
Last season, it was Maryland-bound Trayvon Reed who measured out at 7-foot-1. This year, it’s current high-major target Doral Moore, who certainly wasn’t used to having to look up at another player.
“It got me used to playing people that are taller than me,” he said. “I had to adjust jumping higher and playing stronger than him; since he was taller and skinnier than me, I had to play physical.”
At 7 feet tall and about 220 pounds, Moore is a much more polished player than Reed, who’s got some serious work to do in the weight room when he arrives on campus at College Park in just a few months. While Reed made most of his impact on the defensive end thanks to an impressive wingspan, Moore has a much more advanced offensive game, with the ability to step out to about 15 feet.
Lately, he’s also been showing off some improved post moves, including a fairly solid jump hook that was on display at the Pitt Jam Fest on Saturday.
“I’ve been practicing it a lot, during the school week I practice at least every other day and get up about 300 shots, so hopefully it’ll pay off,” he said. “ I can shoot, but I have to get down and dirty sometimes, try to finish strong.”
When asked who he would compare himself to, Moore paused for a moment.
“It’s hard to say, because there’s not a lot of seven-footers, but right now I look at [Kentucky’s] Willie Cauley-Stein because of his defense,” he said. “He can’t just guard big men, he can guard guards, too.”
As would be expected for a player of his size and ability, Moore’s got a laundry list of offers too long to rattle off to reporters.
“The ones that stick out the most: Illinois, Ohio State, Texas, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Louisville,” he said.
Currently, Moore doesn’t have any visits planned — he said he wants to make his decision by the fall — though he does know what he’s looking for in a college.
“[How] they use a big, not just for defense, blocking shots and rebounds–even though that’s important, I like to score, too,” he said. “So offensively, I hope they would like to use me a lot.”
On Ohio State: “I know that they produce bigs, Jared Sullinger and a couple other bigs came out of there. Like I said, they would like to use me not just for defense but for offense too.”
On Kentucky: “Head coach is supposed to call my dad, but I’ve only been in contact with an assistant coach, and he’s supposed to call me next weekend.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.